Helmut Rahn

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Helmut Rahn
Helmut Rahn.jpg
Rahn in 1962
Personal information
Full nameHelmut Rahn
Date of birth(1929-08-16)16 August 1929
Place of birth Essen, Germany
Date of death 14 August 2003(2003-08-14) (aged 73)
Place of death Essen, Germany
Height 1.78 m (5 ft 10 in)
Playing position(s) Wing Forward
Youth career
1938–1946 SV Altenessen 1912
Senior career*
1946–1950 SC Oelde 1919
1950–1951 Sportfreunde Katernberg 30 (7)
1951–1959 Rot-Weiss Essen 201 (88)
1959–1960 1. FC Köln 29 (11)
1960–1963 SC Enschede 69 (39)
1963–1965 Meidericher SV 19 (7)
National team
1951–1960 West Germany 40 (21)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

Helmut Rahn (16 August 1929 – 14 August 2003), known as Der Boss (The Boss), was a German footballer who played as a forward. He became a legend for having scored the winning goal in the final game of the 1954 FIFA World Cup (West Germany vs. Hungary 3–2).



Rahn started his career with Altenessen 1912 where he played from 1938 until 1946. Then he went to SC Oelde 1919 with a total score of 52 goals for that team. In the 1950–51 season, he played for Sportfreunde Katernberg.

He was most successful when he played for Rot-Weiss Essen from 1951–1959. The team won the DFB-Pokal final in 1953 and won the German Championship in 1955. For one year, from 1959 till 1960 he had played at 1. FC Köln, 1960 he went to Sportclub Enschede in the Netherlands.

In the Bundesliga 1963 he started playing for MSV Duisburg. [1] He finished his career in 1965 because of a knee problem and, along with Hans Schäfer was one of the last members of the 1954 World Cup winning side to retire. His position was that of an outside right.

His legendary status in German football was sparked by the heroic achievement of the German team in the final of the 1954 World Cup. Germany, whose team members themselves were surprised to be in the final, was playing Hungary, who hadn't lost a single match for four years running up to the World Cup final. Germany lagged behind 0–2 after only eight minutes, but then pulled it back to 2–2 with Rahn assisting the first German goal and scoring the second. With six minutes remaining, Rahn received the ball just outside the penalty box before going past a Hungarian player and managing to shoot at the lower left corner with his weaker left foot just before being tackled. The ball whistled into the back of the net and Germany went on to win the game 3–2 over the apparently unbeatable Hungarian team. This match is known in Germany as The Miracle of Bern (Das Wunder von Bern) because of its "David versus Goliath"-like setting, and it is generally seen as an instrumental part of the rebuilding of the German people's morale after the World War II.

Helmut Rahn (right) in duel with Ockhuisen (1960) SC Enschede tegen DOS 3-2 Helmuth Rahn (rechts) in duel met Okhuisen (DOS), Bestanddeelnr 911-5201.jpg
Helmut Rahn (right) in duel with Ockhuisen (1960)

Rahn was also part of the German team that reached semifinals at the 1958 World Cup. With his goal against Yugoslavia, he became at the time the third maximum scorer in World Cups, with 10 total goals (behind Just Fontaine and Sándor Kocsis), and also the first player ever to score at least four goals in two different World Cups.

Rahn played 40 international matches and scored a total of 21 goals. [2]

He was known as "Der Boss" (English: "The Boss") because of his on-field leadership and occasionally also as "The Cannon from Essen".

Later life

After retiring from football, Rahn started his own car dealership in Essen-Altenessen, along Altenessener Street. He was known for his good sense of humour and his joy and ability at talking with others. Many stories about him still circulate throughout Essen. One such story involves a discussion he once had with a friend regarding his car dealership:

Rahn was once asked by a friend, how his car dealership worked. His very direct answer: "I buy a car for 1,000 DM and sell it for 4,000 DM. And I live off the three percent profit."

He died two days shy of his 74th birthday, in Essen. The movie "Das Wunder von Bern" was dedicated to him by director Sönke Wortmann.

The tomb of Helmut Rahn HelmutRahnGrab.jpg
The tomb of Helmut Rahn


Rahn in 1953 married Gerti Seller, and the couple had two sons, Uwe (born 1954) and Klaus Rahn. [3] Rahn is allegedly the cousin of the grandfather of Kevin-Prince Boateng of the Ghana national football team. [4]

Helmut Rahn Memorial

The Helmut Rahn Memorial Rahndenkmal.JPG
The Helmut Rahn Memorial

On 11 July 2004, 50 years after the Bern match, a lifesize statue of him was put up near Georg-Melches-Stadium in Essen, on the square named after him.

Career statistics


Ref. [1]

ClubSeasonLeague German
Sportfreunde Katernberg 1950–51 Oberliga West 307307
Rot-Weiss Essen 1951–52 Oberliga West2920653525
1952–53 Oberliga West289289
1953–54 Oberliga West30183018
1954–55 Oberliga West19541236
1955–56 Oberliga West249249
1956–57 Oberliga West21102110
1957–58 Oberliga West278278
1958–59 Oberliga West239239
1. FC Köln 1959–60 Oberliga West2911743615
SC Enschede 1960–61 Eredivisie 27142714
1961–62 Eredivisie21122112
1962–63 Eredivisie21132113
Meidericher SV 1963–64 Bundesliga 188188
1964–65 Bundesliga1010
Career total3481531710365163


    Ref. [2]




    Rot-Weiss Essen


    West Germany



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    1. 1 2 Arnhold, Matthias (12 November 2015). "Helmut Rahn - Matches and Goals in Bundesliga". Rec.Sport.Soccer Statistics Foundation. Retrieved 19 November 2015.
    2. 1 2 Mühlen, Michael (12 November 2015). "Helmut Rahn - Goals in International Matches". Rec.Sport.Soccer Statistics Foundation. Retrieved 19 November 2015.
    3. "Die Helden von Bern" (in German). dieheldenvonbern.de. Retrieved 8 November 2013.
    4. Breidert, Luiz (25 August 2013). "Die Boatengs - Riesentalente mit Rüpel-Image" (in German). t-online.de. Retrieved 8 November 2013.
    Sporting positions
    Preceded by
    Hans Schäfer
    West Germany captain
    Succeeded by
    Herbert Erhardt