5. September 1967, Dresden
1985-1990 Dynamo Dresden
1990-1992 VfB Stuttgart
1992-1993 Inter Mailand
1993-1998 Borussia Dortmund
102 appearances, 39 goals (DDR-Oberliga)
178 appearances, 41 goals (Bundesliga)
DDR-Meister: 1989, 1990
Deutscher Meister: 1992, 1995, 1996
UEFA-Champions League-Sieger: 1997
DDR: 23 caps (6 goals)
BRD: 51 caps (8 goals)
Championship-winning manager Ottmar Hitzfeld once said of his protégé Matthias Sammer that he thought like a coach. In other words, he always had an eye for the big picture even as a player. He was never satisfied with simply doing his job. He pondered tactical details, pushed his teammates to give their all, faced the media even when things weren't going so well, and was never shy to criticise. Sammer suffered no nonsense. This earned him the nickname "Motzki" [Moaner], a reference not just to his argumentative nature but also to his East German roots.
Having grown up and developed into an exceptional talent in Dresden, he made his debut in the GDR top flight aged 17 in 1985 and followed up with his international bow a year later. His two goals in the last game played by the East German national team, a 2-0 win in Belgium, earned him a place in the history books .
On reunification, his international career continued without interruption. After an initial spell in the Bundesliga with VfB Stuttgart and a brief intermezzo at Inter Milan, he matured into one of the most influential figures in the German game at Borussia Dortmund during the 1990s. Between 1992 and 1997, he won three Bundesliga titles, the UEFA Champions League and the Club World Cup, plus the European Championship with Germany. In 1996, he scooped the European Footballer of the Year award, the most recent German player to do so.
Irreparable knee damage caused by a bacterial infection brought his career to a premature end. His habit of thinking like a coach came in handy very quickly on retirement. In 2002, while in charge of Borussia Dortmund, he became the youngest coach in history to win the Bundesliga.