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Jun 17, 2013

Germany mourns Walter and Flohe

German football is in mourning for two of its greats, Ottmar Walter and Heinz Flohe, who died at the weekend. Walter, 89, a 1954 World Cup-winner, died on Sunday. On the previous day, 1974 World Cup-winner Flohe had died at the age of 65 after having been in coma for over three years following a stroke. Walter had been one of three surviving members of Germany's 1954 World Cup squad. Their 3-2 victory over favourites Hungary at the Wankdorf Stadium in Bern is widely regarded as one of the landmarks on Germany's path back to normality after the Second World War. Walter, born in 1924, returned from the conflict with a knee injury and recalled: "When I got home from the war, I would not have thought I was going to compete at the highest level for 13 years." However, the striker regained fitness and was handed his Germany debut in 1950. He scored ten goals in 21 games for his country, and in 321 appearances for his hometown club, Kaiserslautern, he hit a remarkable 336 goals. Walter was the younger brother of 1954 World Cup captain Fritz Walter, who died at the age of 81 during the 2002 World Cup. "This is sad news for German football. Ottmar Walter was one of the players that made the 'Miracle of Bern' possible and became a role model for generations to come," German FA president Wolfgang Niersbach said. "He and his brother Fritz will always have a firm place in the history of the German FA." Flohe, a former Cologne midfielder once hailed by Franz Beckenbauer as "the best German football player of his time" had been in coma after suffering a stroke in May 2010. He played 329 Bundesliga games for Cologne and a further 14 for 1860 Munich, where he ended his 14-year long Bundesliga career in 1980.

Former Cologne player Lukas Podolski was one of many to send a final farewell to the Cologne legend. "Flocke, all those who love football will never forget you. You have been one of the greatest," he wrote on Twitter.

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