Fussball EM Qualifikation, Deutschland - Irland (c) picture alliance/Foto Huebner

Sport in Germany

When considering sport in Germany, the first to occur to many is football — football, Formula 1 and then, straightaway, nothing. At least, in winter, the television viewer numbers for biathlon are comparable. So, football, Formula 1, and biathlon — and then, for long, nothing. However, this is dependent chiefly on media presence.More ...

Germany's sports stars

Schwimm Weltmeisterschaften 1994 in Rom (c) picture alliance/PerenyiDirk Nowitzki, Dallas Mavericks (c) picture alliance/augenklickDirk Nowitzki — The basketballer
The 37 year old Dirk Nowitzki is one of the most successful German sportsmen. For ten years he has played for the Dallas Mavericks in the North American basketball league (NBA). More than once he has been called the "German wonder" and in 2007 he became the first European to be voted the most valuable player in the NBA. In Germany in 2011 he was the first team-player to be voted Sportsman of the Year. He has played in the All-star team for the NBA twelve times. As a member of the German national basketball team he won the 2002 bronze medal at the world championships, and in 2005 the silver at the European Basketball Championships (Eurobasket). Novitzki is also popular because he is so unbelievably nice and has remained "grounded". He is socially dedicated, and through his foundation, the Dirk Novitzki Stiftung, supports projects to enable children and young people to engage in sport.

Michael Schumacher 1997 (c) picture allianceMichael Schumacher — The Formula 1 driver
Even if one is not interested in Formula 1 in Germany, the name, Michael Schumacher, or "Schumi" (as he is affectionately known to his fans) is known by everyone. For many, the seven times World Champion, is the best Formula 1 driver ever. He has achieved the most Grand Prix victories, driven in the most races, and is, on average, the fastest driver on the track. In Formula 1 Michael Schumacher drove for Benetton until 1995, then switched to Ferrari until he officially ended his career as a racing-driver in 2006. In 2009 he announced he would race again, this time for Mercedes. However, his earlier successes have eluded him.

Fussball,Team up for Kids 2013, Neuer and Friends (c) picture alliance/Foto HuebnerManuel Neuer — The football goalkeeper
Manuel Neuer is Germany's favourite football goalkeeper. From 2011 he has played for FC Bayern Munich. With this team he won the 2013 German Championships, the DFB Pokal and the UEFA Champions League. Neuer stood in goal for the first time in a Bundesliga game in 2006. His performance was so convincing that at only 20 years of age he became the youngest regular goalkeeper in the Bundesliga. He played firstly for FC Schalke 04, until in 2011 he switched to the record champions, Bayern Munich. As one of the German national team Neuer won the World Championship title in Brazil in 2014 and, as a result, was voted Footballer of the Year in the same year.

Schwimm Weltmeisterschaften 1994 in Rom (c) picture alliance/PerenyiFranziska van Almsick — The swimmer

Her fans know Franziska van Almsick affectionately as "Franzi". Formerly she swam victoriously for Germany in the European and World championships. Now she works for the ARD broadcaster as a co-commentator at important swimming events. Franziska van Almsick originally came from East Berlin and started swimming at the age of five, in one of the sports strongly encouraged in the former German Democratic Republic (DDR). Despite taking part in the Olympics four times, she never made it to the victors' rostrum. Nevertheless, in the 90s she was considered the most successful woman swimmer of her time.

Steffi Graf 1998 (c) picture allianceSteffi Graf — The tennis player

Even though Steffi Graf, fully Stefanie Maria Graf, no longer plays tennis competitively, she still counts as one of the most successful women tennis players of all time. At the tender age of three years her father, later also her trainer, put a tennis racket in her hands. Her father recognized and encouraged her talent, and by the age of seven Steffi Graf was winning one competition after another. The best year of her career was 1987: of a total of 75 games she lost only two; was victorious in eleven competitions, and, for the first time, in a Grand Slam tournament. With that she took the lead in the world rankings. Today, she is married to Andre Agassi, and is dedicated to women's sport, and to her foundation for children traumatised by organized violence, "Children for Tomorrow".

Olympische Winterspiele 1988 in Calgary (c) picture alliance / Lacy PerenyiKatarina Witt — The figure skater

Katarina Witt is one of the best-known woman figure skaters in Germany. Like Franzi van Almsick, she originated from East Germany and grew up in the German Democratic Republic (DDR). She received her sporting education in Chemnitz. In 1979, aged 14, at the DDR Championships she stood on the rostrum for the first time. It was not for the last. In her career as a figure skater she has won Olympic Gold many time, as well as World Championship and European Championship titles. Today Katarina Witt is known chiefly for her American show "Holiday on Ice" with which she tours the USA. In 2009 she took over as presenter of the television show "The Biggest Loser" (Germany).
Translation note: EM = Europameisterschaft. In English formally known as European Basketball Championships but now generally called Eurobasket. Sports

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