Germany remain one of the superpowers of world football and the nation continues to produce a wealth of talent generation upon generation, though only a select few of the country’s biggest stars have decided to try their luck in the Premier League.
The strength of the Bundesliga means only a few of Germany’s leading names choose to venture abroad, and we’ve decided to look back at some of the notable names to have made an impression in English football.
Here are five of the best German players in Premier League history:
One of the great redemption stories of the Premier League era, Klinsmann went from public enemy number one to one of the most celebrated foreign imports in the league’s history in stunning style.
The German arrived in the Premier League ahead of the 1994/95 season at Tottenham, boasting a reputation as one of Europe’s finest finishers but also known on these shores as a renowned cheat.
His notorious diving incidents – particularly a theatrical incident which saw Argentina’s Pedro Monzón sent off in the 1990 World Cup final – saw the forward arrive with a tarnished reputation amongst English football’s media and following.
Klinsmann completed an incredible turnaround in popularity with an electric debut season in the Premier League, however, beginning with a brilliant self-deprecating dive celebration after netting on his Spurs debut against Sheffield Wednesday.
The forward continued to fire throughout the season and became a hugely popular figure with the Tottenham supporters, scoring 21 goals in the Premier League and 30 in all competitions to be named as the FWA Footballer of the Year.
He departed at the end of the season for Bayern Munich, though his legend in north London was further enhanced with a second spell on loan at Spurs three years later.
Klinsmann signed for Christian Gross’ side with the club in danger of an embarrassing relegation, scoring nine goals in just 15 appearances to fire Spurs to safety before announcing his retirement at the end of the season.
Hamann spent over a decade in English football and represented Newcastle, Liverpool and Manchester City during his time in the Premier League, though it was a seven-year spell on Merseyside where the midfielder enjoyed his greatest successes.
An understated and perhaps underrated presence at the base of the Liverpool midfield, Hamann helped the Reds to a FA Cup, League Cup and UEFA Cup treble under Gerard Houllier during the 2000/01 season, before adding a second League Cup to his collection two seasons later.
The Germany international later helped the club to Champions League and FA Cup success under the guidance of Rafael Benitez, playing a hugely influential role as a half-time substitute during the former of those finals against AC Milan in Istanbul.
Hamann later enjoyed a three-year spell at Manchester City after reversing a decision to sign for Bolton, his 298 appearances in the Premier League the second highest of any German player behind only former Chelsea and Stoke defender Robert Huth.
One of the few greats of German football to have plied their trade in the Premier League, Ballack’s better years perhaps came earlier during spells at Bayer Leverkusen and Bayern Munich, though he was still a crucial player in a squad filled with stars at Chelsea.
The midfielder arrived at Stamford Bridge shortly after the club’s back-to-back league titles under Jose Mourinho, overcoming a difficult start to life in the Premier League before winning each of English football’s major prizes during four seasons at the west London side.
Ballack’s renowned leadership and presence played a pivotal role in Chelsea’s successes of the late 2000’s, helping the club to a first ever Champions League final in 2008 before winning a domestic double under the guidance of Carlo Ancelotti two years later.
The German was surprisingly allowed to leave the club following that aforementioned double success and returned to his homeland before retiring in 2012, Ballack finishing his career in English football as one of Chelsea’s best free transfers after making 166 appearances and winning four major honours.
One of the most divisive players the Premier League has seen over the course of the past decade, the style of Mesut Ozil splits opinion between football fans like few players witnessed in England’s top tier.
Ozil signed for Arsenal in a club record deal from Real Madrid in 2013 and quickly established himself as a key figure for the Gunners, winning back-to-back FA Cups in his first two seasons in north London before adding a third success two years later.
Ozil’s creativity and vision saw him eclipse Eric Cantona as the fastest player in Premier League history to reach 50 assists – a landmark since surpassed by Kevin De Bruyne – whilst his 19 assists during the 2015/16 campaign saw him fall just one short of Thierry Henry’s all-time single season record as he was named as Arsenal’s Player of the Season.
His industry may be questioned by many but his talent has never been in doubt, the playmaker having registered more goals and more assists than any German player in Premier League history.
Manchester City’s capture of Leroy Sane from Schalke raised eyebrows given the significant finances involved but the winger quickly erased any doubts to become one of the most exciting talents in the Premier League.
Sane enjoyed a promising debut season at the Etihad before a breakthrough campaign in 2017/18, being named as the PFA Young Player of the Year as Pep Guardiola’s side won the Premier League title with an all-time record of 100 points.
The fleet-footed star continued to impress last season as Man City became the first side in English football history to win a domestic treble, scoring 16 goals in all competitions and dove-tailing brilliantly on either flank with Raheem Sterling.
Sane’s electric acceleration and pace have made him a nightmare prospect for top-flight full-backs, the 24-year-old having scored 25 league goals and provided a further 28 assists since moving to the Premier League, the latter total bettered only by the aforementioned Ozil amongst German players.