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Thomas Helmer (born 21 April 1965 in Herfordmarker, West Germanymarker) is a former Germanmarker international footballer. His preferred playing position was sweeper, but he was primarily deployed as a centre-back.

Helmer spent most of his club career with Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich, and won the European Championship in 1996.

Club career

Helmer began his career with Arminia Bielefeld, playing four games late in 1984–85, in a season that ended in relegation. In the following season, he netted five goals in 35 second division matches, prompting interest from Borussia Dortmund, which signed him in 1986. A key element from the start, Helmer also scored 16 goals during his six-season stint.

In 1992, he joined FC Bayern Munich in controversial circumstances. Dortmund did not wish to sell Helmer, one of its best players, to a rival Bundesliga team, and sent him to Francemarker's Olympique Lyonnais instead. However, only three months later, Lyon sold Helmer to Bayern Munich for 7.5 million marks, at the time a record transfer fee paid by the Bavarianmarker club. The resultant furore became so heated that German national side coach Berti Vogts threatened to drop Helmer from the Euro 92 squad because of the distraction the affair was causing.

Helmer was also an integral part (scoring seven goals in his debut season) and, eventually, captain of an ascendant Bayern Munich team of the late-90's, winning three league titles, one cup and three League cups), adding the 1996 UEFA Cup, where he scored once (against Girondins de Bordeaux in the final's first leg) in 12 games. Defensively, the team would also include, during Helmer's stay, internationals Olaf Thon, Lothar Matthäus and Markus Babbel.

Upon leaving Bayern in 1999, Helmer opted to move to the Premier League. He was offered a contract by Liverpool, but chose instead to join newly promoted Sunderland on a free transfer. Sunderland manager Peter Reid hardly used him, however, and he returned to Germany on loan with Hertha BSC. Although he had appeared in the Champions League for Hertha, upon his return to Sunderland, Reid judged that “his legs had gone”, and the club bought-out his contract, with Helmer retiring immediately afterwards.

International career

Helmer made his full international debut for Germany on 10 October 1990, a 3–1 victory in a friendly match with Sweden in Stockholmmarker. He enjoyed great success in the European Championship, as a starting centre-back in consecutive finals. In 1992, Germany lost surprisingly to Denmark, which had been called at the last hour, but four years later went one better, defeating the Czech Republic in extra-time at Wembleymarker.

He also appeared in two World Cups, bowing out of international football in the second round clash of the 1998 edition against Mexico, when he was replaced before half time by Christian Ziege.




Post-playing career

Since his retirement, Helmer worked as a sports journalist and television presenter on sports channel DSF. Additionally, he served as Germany's ambassador to children's charity “FIFA for SOS Children's Villages”, first undertaking it in 1997.


  1. Radnedge, Keir The Ultimate Encyclopedia of European Football (1997, Carlton Books) 153-154

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