During a period where Dortmund were quite arguably at their most successful, they were blessed with a rock of a defender. Jürgen Kohler, one of the Worlds best defenders, doing his part to keep out opposing attackers. The agile, strong, beast in the air, was an incredible defender in a period where Germany were dominating on the World stage and part of the dominant Juventus & Dortmund sides of the 90’s. This is a trip down memory lane, looking at the BVB legendary defender.
After starting his career at Waldhof Mannheim, Kohler then moved to 1. FC Köln where he start to build his reputation. His strength and man marking skills shone massively and that was enough for Bayern Munich to invest in his services. It was during this period that he went from being a young decent defender to an unstoppable force. His anticipation and game reading skills shot up, working and training with the Bavarian giants helped improve him so much that Kohler lifted the Bundesliga in his first season. At the 1990 World Cup, Kohler took to the top stage and helped his country lift the most prestigious trophy in football, the Wolrd Cup.
After hi second season with Bayern and still maturing as a player, Kohler was off again, and like many other top German stars, he found his way out to Italy with giants Juventus. During his spell in Turin, Kohler was a pivotal part of the great Marcelo Lippi side. Winning the UEFA cup (ironically against Dortmund), the Serie A and the Coppa Italia. Kohler was quickly going from a top defender, to world class status.
Just like many of the other Germans who left the Bundesliga for Serie A, Kohler returned to Germany with the club he is probably best known for; Borussia Dortmund. At the time, Dortmund had just won the Bundesliga and was on course to start something special. Kohler was keen on joining this Yellow revolution and was vital in helping BVB retain their Bundesliga championship in his first year. Superbly, and just like the last time he won the Bundesliga, Kohler went on to gain international success, this time it was at EURO 96. Something of a relief after missing out in 1992.
Things didn’t stop there for Kohler as the following season Dortmund saw the most memorable moment in the clubs history. Being crowned European Champions, lifting the Champions League after 3-1 victory over Juventus. That’s right, Kohler’s old side, he has a habit of doing that. As if that wasn’t enough for Kohler, he acquired the title of German Footballer of the Year too.
Dortmund couldn’t live up to the incredible heights of that season, that was until Matthias Sammer returned to the club, this time as coach and BVB clinched the Bundesliga once again. With the ageing Kohler still influencing the side, his pace had left him, but his positioning skills always put him in the right place at the right time. His anticipation and match reading ability never left him.
He bowed out and called time on his illustrious career at the end of that Bundesliga winning season. His last game for the club was in the UEFA Cup final against Feyenoord, where Kohler was sent off after bringing down Jon Dahl Tomasson in the box. Dortmund lost the game 3-2 and what could have added to a brilliant trophy cabinet, unfortunately ended with disappointment.
Kohler will always be remembered as one of the best defenders of his generation. He was strong , anticipated runs and passes, was as agile as a cat, stuck to his men like glue, and was unstoppable in the air. besides all this he was also very composed on the ball and had ability to play the ball from the back.
A brilliant defender and a Dortmund legend.