A number of notable German international players have come to England to test themselves in what many believe to be the toughest division of all. Many have featured in the English Premier League, but how many have won the biggest prize in the domestic game?
Here is a list of German players who had won the Premier League, up to and including the start of the 2023/24 season.
All German players who have won the Premier League
Attacking midfielder Ilkay Gundogan became an important player for Manchester City, even though he wasn’t always a first choice in his final years at the Etihad. He arrived at City from Borussia Dortmund in 2016 and spent seven very productive years in English football.
Gundogan won five Premier League titles in his time with Manchester City. The first of these arrived at the end of the 2017/18 season, while his final medal came in his last English campaign of 2022/23. Ilkay Gundogan played an important role in each success and, by the time he left City, he had scored 44 goals in 188 League appearances.
Only a few footballers have won the Premier League with two different clubs, and Robert Huth is the only German to have achieved this. Huth is also a notable player as he is a German who played in England for the whole of his professional career.
Huth began with Chelsea who handed him his professional debut in the 2001/02 season. While not always a first team regular, the centre back was part of the squad that won two Premier League titles in consecutive seasons from 2004 to 2006.
As he went in search of more regular game time, Robert Huth moved to Middlesbrough in 2006, followed by a switch to Stoke City in 2009. It seemed as if his chance of claiming more honours had gone but there was a twist. Huth transferred to Leicester City in 2014 and played in 35 games as the Foxes claimed that incredible Premier League title win in the 2015/16 campaign.
Leroy Sane was another Manchester City player who played a vital role as his club began to dominate English football. The winger made his name in Germany with Schalke 04 before City swooped to bring him to the Etihad in 2016.
Sane adapted quickly to the pace of the Premier League and became a vital player in the City set up. As a winger, he ranked highly in the assists statistics while scoring important goals of his own.
His first Premier League title came at the end of the 2017/18 season, and he followed that up with a second winner’s medal at the end of the very next campaign. Leroy Sane played in the majority of City’s matches in each of those winning seasons, and he scored ten goals in each.
Sane is now back in Germany with Bayern Munich, but he made a mark on English football during three seasons in the EPL.
German international goalkeeper Jens Lehmann completed a notable achievement when he won the Premier League with Arsenal in 2003/04. The Gunners squad came to be known as the ‘Invincibles’ as they went through the entire campaign without losing a match.
Lehmann was an ever present in that winning season, playing in all 38 of Arsenal’s league matches. He produced the most clean sheets in the EPL across that campaign, so he was fully deserving of that winner’s medal. Jens Lehmann remained at Arsenal until 2008, winning the FA Cup in 2005, before returning to Germany with VFB Stuttgart.
Chelsea pulled off a major transfer coup when they signed Michael Ballack from Bayern Munich in 2006. The midfielder was an established German international at this point, and he had already won major domestic honours including three Bundesliga titles.
Ballack wasn’t the quickest of midfielders, but he was strong and his speed of thought was more than enough to cope with the demands of English football. He settled into the Chelsea side and won the FA Cup in his very first season in 2007. The Premier League title followed in 2009/10 with Michael Ballack playing in 32 matches as Chelsea lifted the trophy.
German international striker Andre Schurrle also won the EPL title with Chelsea, although he contributed only marginally to his team’s success. Schurrle was signed from Bayer Leverkusen in 2013 after impressing in the Bundesliga, but he spent much of his time at Stamford Bridge on the bench.
Midway through the 2014/15 season, Andre Schurrle left Chelsea and resumed his Bundesliga career with VFL Wolfsburg. Chelsea won the league title at the end of that campaign, and Schurrle earned a winner’s medal without even realising it. The story is that Blues manager Jose Mourinho texted him and informed him that his 14 games in the campaign were enough to be recognised as part of the title-winning squad.
Stefan Ortega is the second goalkeeper on this list, and another player to have won the Premier League title with Manchester City. He played for much of his career with Armenia Bielefeld in his native Germany, before crossing to the Etihad in 2022.
Ortega was signed as a backup keeper to Ederson and, when City won the EPL in 2022/23, he only played in three league games. However, under new rules, that was enough to have earned the German a Premier League winner’s medal.
England isn’t the most popular destination for German footballers. The Bundesliga is one of the most competitive leagues in the world, so many of the top players stay here. Traditionally, those that have moved abroad have gone to Italy to play for one of the more glamorous clubs.
There are some notable exceptions, but this list confirms that, by the end of the 2022/23 season, only seven German players had won the Premier League. As with all lists of this kind, the question is, who will be next?