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Germany mourns two football legends

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Germany mourns two football legends
Walter, left, and Flohe. Photo: DPA
11:25 CEST+02:00
Two legendary German footballers died this weekend - Ottmar Walter, one of the 1954 World Cup winners, and Heinz Flohe, described as "the best German player of his time."

Walter was born in the town of Kaiserslautern in south-western Germany in 1924. As a child he dreamed of becoming a boxer and following in the footsteps of Max Schmeling, the world heavyweight champion of 1930 and 1932. However the pull of his local football club, which launched the stellar career of his brother Fritz Walter, proved decisive.

His early career at Kaiserslautern was interrupted by the World War II, during which, as a navy soldier, he narrowly escaped death when his ship was attacked by a British torpedo.

In 1947 he rejoined Kaiserslautern, returned to the field and made his debut on the national team against Switzerland in 1950. The highlight of his career was undoubtedly his performance as a striker in the World Cup final against Hungary in 1954, where West Germany emerged victorious, despite entering as the underdogs.

During his time at Kaiserslautern, the goals Walter scored outnumbered the games he played. Having clocked 336 goals in 321 games, he remains the club's record-holder.

Later Walter suffered from Alzheimer's and moved into a care home in Kaiserslautern, where he passed away at the age of 89 on Sunday.

Two decades after Walter retired from the sport, Heinz Flohe was at the height of his career, playing on the Cologne side which clinched the Bundesliga title in 1978.

Former star player and media personality Franz Beckenbauer described him as "the best German football player of his time."

Flohe made brief appearances on the pitch during the World Cup in 1974 and goes down in history as the player to score Germany's 1,000th goal - against the Soviet Union in 1976.

Flohe's health deteriorated in 2010, which left him in a vegetative state until he died in his sleep at the age of 65 on Saturday evening. Announcing the news, his son said ""Of course we're sad but it's a consolation for us that he died peacefully."

The Local/kkf

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