Fritz Walter

        31. Oktober 1920, Kaiserslautern († 17. Juni 2002, Enkenbach-Alsenborn)

        1938-1959 1. FC Kaiserslautern

        384 appearances, 327 goals (Oberliga Südwest)

        Meister Südwest: 1947, 1948, 1949, 1950, 1951, 1953, 1954, 1955, 1956, 1957
        Deutscher Meister: 1951, 1953

        National Team:
        61 caps (33 goals)
        Weltmeister: 1954

        He is the only footballer in the world to have a meteorological phenomenon named for him. Since the 1950s, light persistent drizzle has been known as Fritz Walter weather in the common parlance. Already an extremely accomplished player, the name giver seemed to get better the worse it got. Fritz Walter was the football idol of his time. A genuine role model, humble off the pitch, trailblazer on it. A genius playmaker, brilliant technician, true captain, and extended arm of the coach.

        World War II robbed him of his best years as a footballer, however. Eight years passed between his 24th and 25th international caps. He had already turned 30 by the time the big silverware arrived in the shape of two German championships with FC Kaiserslautern and the 1954 World Cup with Germany. He remained loyal to his club despite eye-watering offers from Italian and Spanish clubs. The prolific midfielder scored almost as many goals for the Red Devils as he made appearances: 327 in 384 games. Such was his charisma and presence that Kaiserslautern also became known as the Walter XI.

        For all his outstanding ability, he was a sensitive character. He did not like it to be too hot when a game kicked off, and worried if a black cat crossed the road in front of the team bus on the way to the ground. Superstition sometimes made Fritz Walter dither or hesitate. This was when the "boss" would step in. Sepp Herberger showed a deft touch in dealing with his most important player. And when it started to rain shortly before the World Cup final against Hungary in Bern on 4 July 1954, any misgivings he may have had will surely have disappeared.

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