Club: Rot-Weiss Essen
Growth type: Standard/Lasting
Helmut Rahn was the architect of the first and greatest German World Cup triumph. His goals in the 1954 final broke the hearts of the brilliant Hungarians, and completed an unlikely 3-2 West German victory.
Unsurprisingly, neutrals gave Rahn's team a slim chance of beating the magnificent Magyars in Berne's Wankdorf Stadium, and a German win looked even more remote when Hungary went 2-0 up within 10 minutes. But Rahn set up the first West Germany goal then scored two of his own to capture the Jules Rimet trophy. That World Cup triumph was seen as an important moment in Germany's post-war regeneration. It triggered a wave of optimism and rare joy.
Rahn was born in the industrial city of Essen in 1929 - just late enough to avoid wartime conscription. He spent most of the years of conflict as an evacuee in a Czech children's home, far away from the RAF bombs. After the war he returned to Essen and took a series of manual jobs while playing football for amateur sides in the area. In 1951 he joined the city's top club, Rot-Weiss Essen, the start of an association that lasted throughout the 1950s.
Rahn was an outside-right with the build and shooting power of a centre-forward, and his rumbustious style won him an international call up in 1951.
After West Germany qualified for the 1954 World Cup in Switzerland, it looked like Rahn would miss the tournament. The coach, Sepp Herberger, was ready to leave the winger out of his squad, but belatedly thought better of it. Rahn was recalled from Uruguay, where he had been on tour with his club, just in time for the start of the World Cup. Herberger had made a shrewd decision. Rahn's up-and-at-'em attitude gave the West Germany team a new spirit, and a resilience which helped them compete with more gifted sides.
Rahn scored the winner in the quarter-finals against Yugoslavia, was masterful in the semi-finals against Austria, and turned on the performance of his life in the final as Hungary were vanquished.
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/obitu ... 48616.html
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/obituar ... -Rahn.html
http://www.footballdatabase.eu/football ... 46.en.html