Germany's Greatest World Cup moments: 1934 FIFA World Cup
Fritz Szepan and Frantisek Planicka shake hands before Semi Final clash

Germany have an illustrious history when it comes to International Football since establishment in 1900, then played their first official game on the 5th April 1908 against Switzerland which ended 5-2 to the Swiss. In the 124 year history of the DFB, the national teams throughout the years have endured great success, winning the World Cup on three occasions, finishing runners up four times, and European Championships three times. The talent springs out from all ages, from the Under 15’s to the senior squad.

The Deutscher Fußball-Bund were officially apart of FIFA in 1904. Thirty years on and they were apart of the second World Cup held in Italy. In the early years of the World Cup, group stages were used in the 1930 World Cup but were not used in the 1934 World Cup due to South American withdrawals which included Brazil and 1930 World Cup finalists Argentina

The 1934 World Cup had sixteen contenders from four confederations. These sixteen teams consisted of; Italy; USA; Spain; Brazil; Austria; Hungary; Egypt; Czechoslovakia; Romania; Switzerland; Netherlands; Germany; Belgium; Sweden; Argentina. Winners of the first ever World Cup, Uruguay, rejected the opportunity to participate, in protest at the refusal of several European countries to travel to South America for the previous World Cup.

Germany kicked off their campaign against Belgium on the 27th May 1934 at Stadio Giovanni Berta (home of Fiorentina). Managed by Otto Nerz, the line up for Nationalmannschaft consisted of: (GK) Willibald Kreß; Paul Janes, Hans Schwartz, Sigmund Haringer; Paul Zielinski, Ernst Lehner; Karl Hohmann, Fritz Szepan, Otto Siffling, Stanislaus Kobierski, Edmund Conen.

The match kicked off at 16:30, after 25 minutes of play Kobierski put the German’s ahead scoring Germany’s first ever goal at the World Cup, but it was soon cancelled out just four minutes later Belgium equalised Bernard Voorhoof gave the Belgian’s some hope. On the stroke of half time, Voorhoof doubled his tally and Rode Duivels’ lead.  At half time in Florence, Belgium lead 2-1 in their second World Cup campaign. Six minutes after the restart, the Germans were back level through striker Otto Siffling (his only goal in the 1934 World Cup). In the end Germany ran out 5-2 winners, hat trick in the 64th, 70th and 87th minutes from Edmund Conen fired the Germans into the Quarter Finals. The attendance in Florence was 8,000.

Conen shot on goal, he netted three on his debut for Germany.

Germany faced Sweden in the Quarter Finals at the Stadio Giuseppe Meazza (home to AC Milan and F.C. Internazionale Milano) on the 31st May 1934. Nerz made three changes to the side that played Belgium in the previous round, W. Kreß, Haringer, W. Busch, R. Gramlich, Szepan, Zielinski, Lehner, Hohmann, Conen, Siffling, Kobierski.

The game kicked off at 16:10 in Milan, Rinaldo Barlassina was the referee of the tie. The first half ended all square at 0-0. Nineteen minutes into the second half, Germany took the lead through Hohmann; he added his second and the second of the game three minutes later. Sweden pulled a goal back with eight minutes to go through Gösta Dunker, giving Germany tough last few minutes. The game finished 2-1 to Germany, Hohmann’s brace sent Germany to the Semi’s in the maiden World Cup. The attendance at the Stadio Giuseppe Meazza (now San Siro) was 15,000. At this time, Germany were the second highest scorers behind hosts Italy who had eight goals going into their replay against Spain.

From left to right: Paul Zielinski, Fritz Szepan, Willy Busch and Willibald Kress.

Germany headed to Rome for their first ever Semi Final where they played Czechoslovakia on the 3rd June 1934; the winner would eventually play Italy, who beat Austria in the other Semi Final, 1-0. Germany lined up with: W. Kreß, Haringer, W. Busch, Zielinski, Szepan, Bender, Lehner, Ru. Noack, Conen, Siffling, Kobierski. The match was played at Stadio del Partito Nazionale Fascista (was home of Lazio and Roma, demolished in 1957) 

The match kicked off at 16:30. After 19 minutes, Czechoslovakia got the opener through Czechoslovakia legend Oldřich Nejedlý. At half time, Germany went in a goal to the good. Sixteen minutes after the break, Germany equalised through Hamburger SV striker Rudolf Noack. Seven minutes later, Nejedlý added his second and fourth of the competition at that time. With ten minutes remaining, Germany’s chances of a place in a final was put of their sight as Nejedlý grabbed his hat trick and the award of being the 1934 World Cup goal scorer. Germany’s first World Cup semi final, ended in a 3-1 defeat. Their first defeat to Czechoslovakia. The attendance was 10,000 in Rome.

Szepan and goalkeeper Kress defending heavy Czechoslovakia pressure

The Germans travelled to Naples in pursuit of finishing third in their first World Cup. They faced Austria who suffered a 1-0 loss to the hosts. Nerz made notable changes to the squad that lost 3-1 in the Semi Final, Jakob, Janes, W. Busch, Zielinski, Münzenberg, Bender, Lehner, Siffling, Conen, Szepan, and M. Heidemann. The referee of this match was Albino Carrar. The match was played at Stadio Giorgio Ascarelli (destroyed during WW2 after bombardments).

The match kicked off at 18:30 on the 7th June 1934. After just one minute, Ernst Lehner put Germany one up against the Austrians, twenty-six minutes later, Conen scored to make it four for the tournament and give Germany a 2-0 lead. A minute after Germany made it 2-0, Austria pegged a goal back through Johann Horvath who made 46 appearances, scoring 29 goals for the Austrian national team.  Three minutes before half time, Lehner got his second of the game and of the tournament giving Germany a 3-1 lead in the third placed play off. Nine minutes into the second half, Austria got the second goal to make it 3-2, 5 ft. 5 defender Karl Sesta the scorer (two years later Sesta played for the German national team making three appearances in his one year spell as a German international). Full time, Germany 3-2 Austria. Germany snatched third place and Austria settled for fourth. The attendance of the game was 8,000.

Szepan (right) and the other first three teams, Italy (winners) Czechoslovakia (Runners-Up) in the 1934 World Cup.