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Ulf Kirsten (born December 4, 1965 in Riesamarker, East Germanymarker) is a former Germanmarker football striker, the first player in history to reach a total 100 caps playing with two different national teams. His biggest success was the win of the 1993 German Cup. His nickname was der Schwatte. He is currently the manager for Bayer 04 Leverkusen II.

Club career

On the club level, Kirsten played for only two teams: from 1983 to 1990 he was with Dynamo Dresden. In the East German Oberliga he made 154 matches and scored 57 goals for Dynamo Dresden.

Kirsten had an unusual build, measuring only 172 cm (5'8"), but weighing 81 kg (179 lbs). He had an unusually low centre of gravity which enabled him to protect the ball in the box against much bigger defenders and turn around quickly for close-range shots. This playing style was often compared to Gerd M√ľller. In addition, despite his small height, Kirsten was also a feared header.

He was one of the first East German footballers to enter the Bundesliga after the German reunification. In the German Bundesliga he played 350 matches for Bayer Leverkusen and scored 182 goals (ranked # 5 in the All-Time-Scorer-List). Kirsten established himself as one of the most dangerous strikers in the Bundesliga, but Bayer regularly ended as runner-up to either Bayern Munich or Borussia Dortmund. He stayed there until his retirement in 2003.

Off the pitch, Kirsten was famous for his strong beard growth, which earned him a sponsorship by Braunmarker, who used him to advertise their electrical shavers.

International career

Kirsten's 100 caps are almost evenly split: 49 for East Germany and 51 for the re-unified Germany. He scored a total of 35 international goals, of them 14 for the East. His only major tournaments came late in his career; Kirsten played for his country at the 1994 and 1998 World Cup and the Euro 2000.

Personal

His son Benny is currently the second choice goalkeeper for Dynamo Dresden.

References

  1. Kirsten vor 3. Liga-Deb√ľt


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