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Fritz Walter
Statue of Fritz Walter in Kaiserslautern
Personal information
Full name Friedrich Walter
Date of birth 31 October 1920(1920-10-31)
Place of birth Kaiserslautern, Germany
Date of death 17 June 2002 (aged 81)
Place of death Enkenbach-Alsenborn, Germany
Playing position Forward
Youth career
1928–1929 FV Kaiserslautern
1929–1937 1. FC Kaiserslautern
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1937–1959 1. FC Kaiserslautern 411 (380)
National team
1940–1958 Germany 061 0(33)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
† Appearances (Goals).

Friedrich "Fritz" Walter (31 October 1920 – 17 June 2002) was a German footballer. In his time with the German national team, he won 61 caps and scored 33 goals.

As the son of a Vereinswirt (clubs innkeeper) of 1. FC Kaiserslautern, Walter began his football career early. At age 8, he joined the Kaiserslautern youth academy, and he made his first team debut at just 17, where he would faithfully remain throughout his career.

Walter debuted with the national team in 1940 under Sepp Herberger, and scored a hat-trick against Romania. Walter was drafted into the armed forces in 1942, however, the end of the war found 24 year old Fritz in a P.O.W. camp in Marmaros-Sziget in which he played with Hungarian and Slowakian guards. When the Soviets arrived they in general took all German P.O.W.'s back to a Gulag in Soviet Union where life expectancy was about five years. Fortunately, one of the Hungarian prison guards had seen Fritz playing for Germany told them that Fritz was not German but Austrian, and his life was spared. Upon his return, Walter, who by now suffered from Malaria, again played for Kaiserslautern, leading them to German championships in 1951 and 1953. Sepp Herberger recalled him to the national team in 1951, and he was named captain.

He was captain of the West German team that won their first World Cup in 1954. Ironically, that win came over Hungary. But in 1956, after the crack down by the Soviets of the Hungarian Uprising, the soccer team got caught away from home, and for two years, Fritz managed their games and provided the financial backing and in small measure, paid them back for having saved his life. Walter received his last cap during the semi-final against Sweden in the 1958 World Cup, suffering an injury which ended his international career, and retired from football in 1959.

Memorial for the 1. FC Kaiserslautern players in the 1954 FIFA World Cup Final. From left to right: Werner Liebrich, Fritz Walter, Werner Kohlmeyer, Horst Eckel and Ottmar Walter.

International pro teams had repeatedly offered him hefty sums, but which support from his wife always declined in order to stay at home, to play for his home town, the national team and "Chef" (German for "boss") Herberger.

Fritz's younger brother Ottmar Walter, born 1924, played with him on the 1954 German team that won the World Cup. Ottmar is still alive, he still lives together with his wife in their house at Kaiserslautern itself. Fritz Walter died in 2002 aged 81. It was his dream to see the World Cup 2006 in "his" town Kaiserslautern as the town had not been selected in the smaller tournament of 1974, but it was denied with his death. But on the fourth year anniversary of his death on June 17, 2006, the United States played Italy in Kaiserslautern and a minute of silence was observed in his memory. Today people may visit the "Fritz Walter Haus" in the town of Enkenbach-Alsenborn approx. 20km east of Kaiserslautern (first exit from Kaiserslautern on Bundesautobahn 6 direction Mannheim).

Accolades

Trivia

  • In the eighties and nineties, there was another successful Bundesliga striker called "Fritz Walter", who mainly played for VfB Stuttgart. Although he had no relationship to the great Kaiserslautern captain, sports fans jokingly called him "Fritz Walter junior".
  • Fritz Walter's wife of five decades was Italia Walter, a woman from Italy. This is remarkable, as it was then highly unusual in then-conservative Germany to pick foreign wives.
  • It was popular knowledge in Germany that Walter appeared to play better the worse the weather was, and so now the term "Fritz Walter's weather" is used to describe rainy weather conditions, often rendered with odd local dialect grammar "of Fritz, his weather". This is because he, as many other soldiers, had contracted malaria during the war, thus rendering him unable to stand the heat of the sun. The 1954 World Cup final was played in "Fritz Walter's weather" conditions.
  • On 6 October 1956 Walter scored a spectacular goal in Leipzig in front of 100,000 East Germans during a friendly against Wismut Aue, when he hit the ball back-heel while diving forward. [2]

External links

Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Obdulio Varela
(Uruguay)
FIFA World Cup
winning captain

1954
Succeeded by
Hilderaldo Bellini
(Brazil)
Sporting positions
Preceded by
Paul Janes
Germany captain
1951-1956
Succeeded by
Hans Schäfer
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Simple English

Fritz Walter
Personal information
Full name Friedrich Walter
Date of birth 31 October 1920(1920-10-31)
Place of birth    Kaiserslautern, Germany
Date of death    17 June 2002 (aged 81)
Height 1.74 m (5 ft 8+12 in)
Playing position Midfielder (retired)
Senior clubs
Years Club
1939-1959 Kaiserslautern
National team
1940-1958 West Germany

Fritz Walter (born 31 October 1920) is a former German football player. He has played for West Germany national team.

Club career statistics

[1]

Club Performance League
SeasonClubLeague AppsGoals
GermanyLeague
1939-40Kaiserslautern1530
1940-411216
1941-421439
1942-4331
1945-46Oberliga1416
1946-471422
1947-482431
1948-492230
1949-502634
1950-51195
1951-522719
1952-533038
1953-542920
1954-552110
1955-562516
1956-572115
1957-58265
1958-592210
CountryGermany 364357
Total 364357

International career statistics

[2]

Germany national team
YearAppsGoals
194065
194187
1942107
194300
194400
194500
194600
194700
194800
194900
195000
195162
195242
195332
195485
195552
195641
195700
195870
Total6133

References


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