2002-2003: Back to Basics. And Grey.
Home: White “traditional” shirt with black trim, black shorts, white socks
Away: Charcoal-grey shirt with dark grey band and white trim, white shorts, grey socks
Coach: Rudi Völler.
The white home shirt worn between 2002 and late 2003 was a clean, classical, simple design – and without doubt one of my personal favourites alongside the iconic “flag” shirt worn between 1987 and 1992.
The white shirt worn by the Mannschaft during the 2002 FIFA World Cup finals in Korea and Japan was the ultimate proof that a football shirt doesn’t have to be designed solely as a fashion accessory, but could become so on account of its simplicity and clean lines. Clearly inspired by the design sported by the side of the late 1960s and early 1970s, it was plain white with a simple black v-neck.
Made of Adidas’ new “Climalite” material, the match shirt actually consisted of two layers – clearly designed to help the players manage the heat and humidity of Korea and Japan. The replica shirt consisted of one layer, but with a more breathable fabric being used for the side panels.
In keeping with the design of the late 1960s the sleeve ends/cuffs were plain black, and both the Adidas logo and the national eagle were woven in black thread. The only splash of colour on the shirt was provided by the three championship stars above the national crest and a very subtle horizontal Schwarz-Rot-Gold band on the back under the neck area, which provided a nice contrast to the classic Schwarz und Weiß; a small “Climalite” tab was stitched to the side.
Accompanying this classic white shirt were classic black shorts, with no design features save for the three trademark Adidas stripes in white; stitched in white on the left leg was the national eagle and the Adidas logo. The Trikot was completed by the white socks, which went truly vintage in being plain white with no adornment save for a small Adidas logo.
Germany played a number of good games in this shirt, but the one I remember the most would be the otherwise unmemorable 1-0 second round victory over an eleven-men-behind-the-ball Paraguay in the second round of Korea/Japan 2008 where the winner was scored in the dying moments Oliver Neuville – closely followed by the dramatic moment when Michael Ballack received the second yellow card in the semi-final against South Korea which would keep him out of the final. Alongside Ballack, the one player with whom I most associate with the shirt would be top scorer Miroslav Klose.
The second shirt between 2002 and 2003 saw a breakaway from the traditional DFB green, with this new design being a charcoal grey colour with white trim. The only other grey shirt I can remember in international football was England’s dire effort from Euro ’96, but this was a lot better looking.
Like the white home shirt, the new charcoal grey version was a clean and simple design; the front was actually composed of two layers, a thin light grey fabric and a dark grey breathable “Climalite” layer, which when combined gave the garment a light grey sheen. The back, shoulders and band across the chest were in a darker charcoal grey, with a charcoal grey v-neck and the three Adidas shoulder stripes in white.
The Adidas logo and national eagle crest were both woven into the charcoal grey band, and were woven in silver/white thread with the three stars above the eagle being stitched in the standard Schwarz-Rot-Gold. As with the white home shirt, the colours of the German national flag also appeared in a small horizontal band on the back below the neck area.
The Auswartstrikot teamed up the charcoal grey shirt with white shorts, which were adorned by the three Adidas stripes in black. Completing this simple design were the national eagle crest and Adidas logo, which were woven into the fabric in black thread. Like the home socks, the grey away ones were plain and stripeless – adorned only with the maker’s logo woven in white thread.
I can only remember one game in which the charcoal grey second shirt was ever worn – a rather flattering 2-0 win in an Euro 2004 qualifier over the might of the Faroe Islands on a bumpy pitch in a rather blustery Torshavn – earned through a couple of last-minute goals from Miro Klose and Fredi Bobić.
2002 FIFA World Cup, Korea/Japan: runners-up
White: v Argentina, 14.04.2002, Stuttgart.
Team: Lehmann – Linke (46. F. Baumann), Nowotny, Metzelder – Frings (83. Max), Jeremies (77. Kehl), Ramelow, Böhme (46. Ricken) – Ballack – Bierhoff (70. Jancker), Klose
Grey: v Faroe Islands, 16.10.2002, Hannover.
Team: Kahn (c) – A. Friedrich, Ramelow (46. Freier), Wörns – B. Schneider (87. Kehl), Jeremies, D. Hamann, Frings – Ballack – Jancker (69. Neuville), Klose
Score 2-1 (Ballack pen 2., Klose 59.)