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Oliver Rolf Kahn (born 15 June 1969) is a former Germanmarker football goalkeeper. He started his career at Karlsruher SC and in 1994 was transferred to Bayern Munich, his last professional club. He is one of the most successful German players in recent history, having won eight German championships, six German cups, the UEFA Cup (1996), the UEFA Champions League and the Intercontinental Cup (both 2001). His individual contributions have earned him four consecutive UEFA Best European Goalkeeper awards, three IFFHS World's Best Goalkeeper of the Year awards, the Golden Ball at the 2002 FIFA World Cup and two German "Footballer of the Year" trophies. He played for the German national team (from 1994 to 2006), where he was starting goalkeeper of the 2002 World Cup squad which reached the Finals and won the FIFA World Cup Golden Ball for his performance. Kahn is nicknamed "King Kahn" or "The Titan" due to his formidable presence and influence.

He made his last professional appearance for Bayern Munich on 27 May 2008 at the Salt Lake Stadiummarker (Yuvabharati Krirangam), Kolkatamarker in a friendly against Mohun Bagan of Indiamarker during Bayern's Asian tour of 2008. Around 120,000 people turned up for the match. The match ended 0-3 in favour of Bayern and Michael Rensing substituted 'King Kahn' in the 55th minute. He is considered to be one of the greatest goalkeepers of all time and is the only goalkeeper in the history of football to win the FIFA World Cup Golden Ball (in World Cup 2002).


Karlsruher SC

Kahn signed his first professional contract at Karlsruher SC in the 1987–88 season, at first being the reserve goalkeeper behind Alexander Famulla. However, he had to wait until 1990 until KSC coach Winfried Schäfer decided to start Kahn over Famulla. In the following years, Kahn established himself as a quality goalkeeper, greatly contributing in establishing KSC as a force to reckon with in the Bundesliga. He was a key player in the fondly-remembered KSC team which reached the semi finals in the 1993–94 UEFA Cup, the most memorable moment being a historic 7-0 rout of Valencia after losing the first match 1-3.

Bayern Munich

Kahn was first signed by Bayern Munich at the beginning of the 1994–95 season, and has since gone on to win multiple honors, both at the domestic and international level. The Bavarian club paid him a then record fee for a goalkeeper of €2,385,000, and thus Kahn was firmly established as Bayern’s first-choice. Although suffering a rupture of his cruciate ligament in the next season, he developed into a formidable player. In 1999, he led Bayern to the Champions League final, although Manchester United scored two goals in injury time to win the title (called the "Tragedy of Camp Nou" by fans of Bayern Munich, and "Miracle of Camp Nou" by fans of Manchester United). He was named Man of the Match when he supported his club to the 2001 Champions League title, making several crucial saves in the penalty shootout that commenced after the teams remained tied 1-1 after extra time. He also received the UEFA Fair Play Award for this match, after he walked up to a devastated Santiago Cañizares after the penalties and attempted to comfort him.

Oliver Kahn at his testimonial match in September 2008

Due to injuries, personal problems and a lack of motivation according to himself, his game went into a rapid decline after the 2002–03 season. This culminated with Kahn allowing a seemingly soft shot into the net against Real Madrid in the 2004 Champions League season, contributing to the elimination of his team from the competition. However, since the 2003–04 season and despite advancing in age, Kahn’s performances have vastly improved and he has re-established himself as a reliable shot stopper.

Kahn announced his intention to honor his contract and play through the 2007–08 season. As of 2009, he is the all time clean sheet leader in the history of the Bundesliga with 197. Milestones continued to fall for Kahn; on 2 September 2007, he played in his 535th Bundesliga match, becoming the league’s all time leader in matches played among goalkeepers. Kahn made his final European appearance for Bayern in a 4-0 defeat to Zenit Saint Petersburg in the UEFA cup semi-final on 1 May 2008. Kahn played his last Bundesliga game on Saturday 17 May against Hertha Berlin. Kahn captained his team to a 4–1 victory.

He played a testimonial match with Bayern Munich versus the select Germany XI on 2 September 2008 which ended 1-1.

International career

Kahn’s international debut for Germany came in a match against Switzerland on 23 June 1995; however, it was some time before he became the team’s primary goalkeeper. Initially Kahn was the reserve keeper as Germany were victorious in Euro 96 in Englandmarker. He spent the 1998 FIFA World Cup in Francemarker on the bench, and it was not until Andreas Köpke announced his retirement at the end of the tournament that Kahn was finally given his chance in the No. 1 shirt. Euro 2000 was a difficult period for then-defending champions Germany, as they made an embarrassing exit in the group stage, having scored only one goal. The team drew with Romania and suffered losses to England and Portugal. Afterwards, Kahn became captain of the national team, succeeding Oliver Bierhoff.

Kahn put in what was perhaps his worst performance of his international career against England in Munich in 2001. Germany were favored to win by many as they had beaten England in 2000 1-0 at Wembley stadium. Many in the media were touting Kahn's remarkably fast reflexes. Despite a strong start from Germany, they were routed 5-1 by a hat-trick by Michael Owen. After the match, Kahn called the defeat a "catastrophe" but still was optimistic Germany would qualify. Kahn's German team managed to make the World Cup by winning a playoff against Ukraine. Despite criticism, Kahn remained as Germany's number one for the upcoming World Cup. Kahn was also named the best goalkeeper in the world by IFFHS for the second time in his career.

Expectations for Germany were comparatively low entering the 2002 FIFA World Cup, but it was Kahn’s shot-stopping prowess and leadership that carried the team to a surprise appearance in the finals, and allowed only three goals in the course of the competition. Despite playing much of the final match with torn ligaments in his right ring finger, Kahn was still blamed by some (perhaps unfairly due to the injury) for losing the championship after allowing the first goal by Brazilian striker Ronaldo off a rebound in the 67th minute. Kahn nevertheless won the Lev Yashin Award for the best goalkeeper of the tournament, and became the first goalkeeper in history to win the Golden Ball for the best individual performance. He also became the first German goalkeeper to keep five clean sheets in a World Cup tournament. Kahn maintained his number one spot for Euro 2004, but Germany were once again eliminated in the group stage. Oliver Kahn gave up his captaincy to Michael Ballack after the tournament.

Since then, Kahn had lost his status as the first choice goalkeeper for the national team, with team manager Jürgen Klinsmann rotating the number one spot between Kahn and his longtime competitor whom he had been attempting to fend off, Jens Lehmann of Arsenal. On 7 April 2006 Klinsmann announced Lehmann was his first-choice goalkeeper for the 2006 World Cup. Kahn decided to stay on as a backup for the competition. Despite their acrimonious pre-tournament battle for Germany’s starting role, Kahn openly accepted Klinsmann’s decision. Kahn and Lehmann embraced and shook hands as the former offered words of encouragement before the quarter-final penalty shootout against Argentina. In the postgame conference, Kahn publicly praised Lehmann for his two decisive penalty saves.

After Germany was eliminated in the semi-finals by Italy, Kahn was given the start for the Third Place play-offs held on 8 July 2006. Kahn was also the captain of the team in the absence of the injured Michael Ballack, and so earned his last international appearance for Germany, who defeated Portugal 3-1. Although overshadowed by Bastian Schweinsteiger’s game-winning performance in the match, Kahn played to a high standard, pulling off several saves throughout the match. Kahn deflected a shot by Portuguese forward Pauleta after he beat the German defence, and he later saved Deco’s shot made from just inside the box. Following the match, Oliver Kahn announced his retirement from the German National Team. Throughout his international career he earned 86 caps for Germany, including 50 as team captain. He never won a World Cup, but finished as runner-up in 2002 and third in 2006.

Personal life

Kahn was born in Karlsruhemarker. In 2003, Kahn split with his wife Simone, with whom he has had two children. In 2009 he announced that they will get a divorce.

His father Rolf Kahn is former professional player for Karlsruher SC.

Popular culture

Kahn is the subject of the song Olli Kahn by the German pop group Die Prinzen, which was recorded during the 2002 World Cup. The song was later covered by Die Toten Hosen, another popular German band.


  • Kahn was sent off in an incident against Hansa Rostock on 3 March 2001. With his Bayern Munich team losing 2-3 in the final minutes, he snuck into the area during a corner kick, jumped up, and punched the ball into the opponent’s net. He immediately received his second yellow card of the game.
  • Prior to a 2006 match against Arminia Bielefeld in Munich, fellow Bayern Munich goalkeeper Michael Rensing peppered Kahn with practice shots. One shot hit Kahn squarely in the eye, causing enough swelling and discoloration to keep him from taking the field. With Rensing in goal, Bayern Munich won the match 2-0.
  • During a bad spell for Bayern Munich, Kahn was asked at a press conference what he felt the team lacked; his reply, translated from German, was: "Balls! Balls! We need balls, if you know what I mean."
  • Kahn is named Kalm on the popular sports game Pro Evolution Soccer 6 as a result of Kahn holding the rights to his image.
  • In the popular Football Manager series (marketed as Worldwide Soccer Manager in the United Statesmarker) Kahn is known as Jens Mustermann as a result of Kahn holding the rights to his image. Mustermann translates from German into English as Sample Man and is a common placeholder name in Germany and Austria, while Jens is a reference to Jens Lehmann, Kahn’s main international goalkeeping rival.
  • In the LMA Manager Series, Kahn is known as Daniel Schmidt.
  • Has never once scored a goal. Came close to one in the 6-0 mega victory over FC Energie Cottbus on 23 February 2002 in the 90th minute, where he claimed a penalty kick awarded to FC Bayern Munich drawn by Samuel Kuffour, but lucked out and hit the right post. He also came close to scoring in a 1995 DFB-Pokal match against Fortuna Düsseldorf. With Bayern 2–1 down and winning a corner with time running out, Kahn ran into the penalty area, connected with the corner, but the header only just went astray of the post by inches. Bayern then went on to concede another goal to lose 3–1.

Career statistics

1Includes German Super Cup


Bayern Munich




External links

1987–88 Karlsruhe Bundesliga 2 0 0 0 2 0
1988–89 2 0 0 0 2 0
1989–90 0 0 0 0 0 0
1990–91 22 0 0 0 22 0
1991–92 37 0 2 0 39 0
1992–93 34 0 5 0 39 0
1993–94 31 0 3 0 10 0 44 0
1994–95 Bayern Munich Bundesliga 23 0 21 0 5 0 30 0
1995–96 32 0 2 0 12 0 46 0
1996–97 32 0 4 0 2 0 38 0
1997–98 34 0 8 0 8 0 50 0
1998–99 30 0 8 0 13 0 51 0
1999–00 27 0 5 0 13 0 45 0
2000–01 32 0 4 0 16 0 52 0
2001–02 32 0 5 0 14 0 51 0
2002–03 33 0 6 0 6 0 45 0
2003–04 33 0 5 0 8 0 46 0
2004–05 32 0 7 0 10 0 49 0
2005–06 31 0 6 0 7 0 44 0
2006–07 32 0 3 0 9 0 44 0
2007–08 26 0 7 0 9 0 42 0

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