Welcome back to another edition of the Robin Friday Hipster Hall of Fame induction. This week see’s us take a stroll to Germany as we pay homage to perhaps one of the most controversial yet gifted footballers in recent memory – Stefan Effenberg.
Born in the port city of Hamburg in 1968, Effenberg lived and breathed football from a very young age, beginning his youth career with Victoria Hamburg at the tender age of six. He would spend twelve years with the hometown side before moving to Borussia Monchengladbach in 1986 – a year later he would make his first full appearance for the club and such was his success there that it prompted a move to Bavarian giants Bayern Munich in 1990. After just two years, he moved to Florence where he would team up with Argentina legend Gabriel Batistuta and Danish legend Brian Laudrup at Fiorentina. A return to his homeland was on the cards however, as he then moved back to Gladbach two years later and enjoyed a wonderful four year second-spell that saw him amass 118 appearances and 23 goals (domestic).
This brilliant homecoming would yet again see Bayern come calling, and it was in his return to Bavaria that would see him truly go down as one of the great German midfielders. Three Bundesliga titles in four seasons as well as two Champions League final appearances (the famous Manchester United comeback in 1999, and Bayern’s win in 2001 against Valencia) highlighted a wonderful term in the Oktoberfest capital of the world. Upon his departure from the club and a move to VfL Wolfsburg, supporters of the club named him one of the eleven greatest players in Bayern’s history. His career was retroactively over after this however, ending two years later after a one year spell at Al-Arabi after his single season at the Volkswagen Arena was less than reputable.
After his playing career finished, Effenberg turned to TV commentary as well as publishing his autobiography, which did not mince words about his distaste for fellow German legend Lothar Matthaus.
Never the less, Der Tiger surely must go down as one of the most talented midfielders in recent memory, one whom I certainly enjoyed watching. While there is no telling where his management career will take him (he’s currently at the helm of SC Paderborn), his place in German footballing lore is most certainly guaranteed.
Career by the numbers
– Total club appearances: 441
– Total club goals: 87
– Total national team appearances – 35
– Total national team goals – 5
– Personal accolades: German Super Cup (1), German League Cup (3), German Cup (2), Bundesliga titles (3), Champions League trophies (1), Serie B title, EURO Team of the Tournament ’92, FIFA XI ’97, UEFA Club Footballer of the Year ’01, ESM Team of the Year ‘99
Remember to check back in each Friday as we induct another great into the Robin Friday Hipster Hall of Fame. Thank you to Hipster Drew @AFCBvB1410 for this contribution.