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Dietmar "Didi" Hamann (born 27 August 1973) is a German footballer who plays as a defensive midfielder. He previously played for Bayern Munich, Newcastle United, Liverpool and Manchester City. He was a member of the German national side from 1997 until 2006.

Club career

Early career

Hamann started his career at the little known Wacker München. After impressing as a junior, he joined Bayern Munich as a 16-year old in 1989 and debuted for the Bayern professional team in 1993. Hamann joined a team led by Lothar Matthäus, Thomas Helmer, Christian Ziege and Oliver Kahn and played five games, mostly as a right winger. At first, Hamann was only a so-called Vertragsamateur (i.e. an amateur player who had the license for playing professional games). Still, he won his first German championship as a bench player. In the next season, Bayern suffered a major injury wave which claimed midfielders Matthäus, Swiss international Alain Sutter, talent Dieter Frey and veteran Markus Schupp, which allowed Hamann to become a regular; he played 30 Bundesliga games and established himself as a valuable role player, playing either right wing or defensive midfield. He earned himself a full professional contract and was an important player in the tumultous 1995-96 campaign, in which Bayern recruited striker Jürgen Klinsmann, coach Otto Rehhagel and midfielders Andreas Herzog, Thomas Strunz and Ciriaco Sforza, but the team was torn apart by heavy internal struggles. Although Hamann was overshadowed by these new midfield recruits, he played in 20 games and provided some stability for the infighting Bayern squad. Bayern ended a disapponting second and saw Rehhagel sacked, but ended the season by winning the UEFA Cup. In the final against Girondins Bordeaux, Hamann was credited with slowing down Zinedine Zidane in the 1st of the (then) two games.

The 1996-97 season was to become Hamann's breakthrough. After being a bench player most of his career, new coach Giovanni Trappatoni made him a starting defensive midfielder, and new recruit Mario Basler took the right wing. Hamann played in 23 games, also making his debut in the German national team and won his second German championship with Bayern. In private life, Hamann had to overcome a scary period when he broke down unconscious and was diagnosed with a stroke, but made a full recovery. The next 97-98 season was mixed: on one hand, Hamann established himself as the starting German national midfielder next to Carsten Ramelow. He played 13 times for the "Nationalmannschaft", and in the historic 1-0 win versus England (the last match played in the old Wembley stadium), Hamann scored the only goal with a powerful 35-yard free kick past David Seaman. However, Bayern only took 2nd place, as promoted 1. FC Kaiserslautern sensationally took the German championship. Still, Bayern and Hamann secured the German Cup versus MSV Duisburg.

Newcastle

After playing for his country in the 1998 World Cup, he joined Newcastle United, managed at the time by Kenny Dalglish, for 5.5 million. Overcoming an early foot injury, Hamann played in 31 matches and scored five goals. In July 1999 he opted to join Gerard Houllier's Liverpool, who signed him for £8million in 1999.Whilst at Newcastle he played in the 1999 FA Cup Final.

Liverpool

Hamann established himself as an influential midfielder for Liverpool throughout his 7 years at the club. All in all, Hamann played in 191 league games and scored eight goals. In the 2000/2001 season, Hamann won his first big English trophy when Liverpool won a much-celebrated cup treble (League Cup, FA Cup and UEFA Cup) and a place in the Champions League.

Hamann played a major part in the 2005 Champions League Final win over AC Milan. Although he was suffering a broken toe during the final, Hamann's substitution for Steve Finnan was the catalyst for Liverpool's historic fightback. The team rallied after being 3-0 down to bring the game back to 3-3 and finally won in the penalty shootout; Hamann also showed a great amount of composure and bravery, as he took and converted the first LFC penalty with his broken foot.

Hamann won the FA Cup with Liverpool in May 2006, coming on as a substitute in the second-half. He more than played his part in another trophy win for the Reds, who were 2-3 down to West Ham United. Liverpool would go on to win the Cup on penalties after a goalless extra-time. Once again, Hamann scored the first penalty in the shoot-out.

Manchester City

In June 2006, Hamann was given permission to talk to Bolton Wanderers about a potential transfer to the North West club. Hamann admitted that he would be saddened to leave Liverpool but would make "the best decision for my future". Hamann actually signed a pre-contract in June 2006, to become a Bolton Wanderers player but had a "change of heart",. He joined Bolton for less than one day before a move to Manchester City.

On 12 July, he instead signed for Manchester City, with City agreeing to pay £400,000 compensation to Bolton. On 13 February he signed a contract until the end of the 2008–09 season and scored his first goal for the club in a UEFA Cup Qualifying First Round match against Faroe Island side EB/Streymur.

On 1 July 2009, he was released by Manchester City as his contract expired. Hamann announced on 16 July that he will stay in England.

In July 2009, the Daily Mirror reported that Hamann was in the advanced stages of talks with Championship club Preston North End with a view to joining the club for the 2009–10 season. The Daily Mirror reported on 23 July, that Hamann was "interested in the North End switch despite a rival offer from QPR".

On transfer deadline day in September 2009, BBC Sport quoted Hamann as stating: "Yes, Sven [-Göran Eriksson] phoned me the other day to see if I wanted to sign for Notts County, but I said I wasn't interested at the moment as I feel I can still play at a higher level. There are a couple of things in Germany and I'll make my mind up by the end of the week. I have spoken to a couple of teams in England but that hasn't come to anything yet. Obviously I can still sign after the deadline so maybe if teams don't get the players they want today then I will hear something".

International career

Hamann since became the first Liverpool player since Roger Hunt in (1966) to play in a World Cup Final, but finished on the losing side as Brazil won the 2002 World Cup 2-0. He committed a crucial foul, from which Rivaldo shot at goalkeeper Oliver Kahn, who dropped the ball and allowed Ronaldo to score and give Brazil a 1-0 lead.

Hamann has 59 caps and has scored five goals for the national team. He was part of the German squad at the 1998 FIFA World Cup, Euro 2000, the 2002 FIFA World Cup, and Euro 2004. His 30 yard free kick against England was the last goal at Wembley Stadiummarker before it was rebuilt, and was also the winning goal in the 2002 World Cup qualifier.After not being selected for the German squad in the 2006 FIFA World Cup, he decided to officially retire from international football.

Personal life

Hamann has two daughters, Luna and Chiara. He is the brother of Matthias Hamann, who also played in the Bundesliga, mainly for Bayern rival 1860 Munich. Hamann enjoys cricket and once played for Alderley Edge CC 2nd XI vs Neston CC 2nd XI in the Cheshire County Cricket League, taking a catch in the game. He admitted he became interested in the sport during the 2005 Ashes Series.

Career statistics

106||6||12||3||2||0||23||1||143||10
268||12||29||2||16||0||69||2||383||17
374||18||41||5||18||0||92||4||525||27


Career honours



References

External links



1993-94 Bayern Munich Bundesliga 5 1 0 0 - 0 0 6 1
1994-95 30 0 1 0 - 6 0 37 0
1995-96 20 2 2 0 - 7 0 29 2
1996-97 23 1 4 0 - 2 0 30 1
1997-98 28 2 5 3 2 0 8 1 41 6

1998-99 Newcastle United Premier League 23 4 7 1 1 0 0 0 31 5
1999-00 Liverpool Premier League 28 1 2 0 0 0 0 0 30 1
2000-01 30 2 5 1 5 0 13 0 53 3
2001-02 31 1 2 0 1 0 13 0 47 1
2002-03 30 2 1 0 1 0 9 0 41 2
2003-04 25 2 4 0 1 0 5 1 35 3
2004-05 30 0 0 0 3 0 10 1 43 1
2005-06 17 0 2 0 1 0 11 0 31 0
2006-07 Manchester City Premier League 16 1 2 0 1 0 0 0 19 0
2007-08 29 0 3 0 2 0 0 0 34 0
2008-09 9 0 1 0 0 0 8 1 18 1

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