German football is mourning the loss of two FIFA World Cup winners after Heinz Flohe, a member of the victorious team in 1974, died on Saturday at the age of 65, and Ottmar Walter, a winner in 1954, passed away on Sunday aged 89.
A forward who spent most of his career with 1. FC Kaiserslautern, Ottmar Walter, the younger brother of team captain Fritz Walter, was part of the starting lineup that beat Hungary 3-2 in the World Cup final on 4 July 1954. "It is very sad news for the whole of German football," commented German Football Association (DFB) president Wolfgang Niersbach. "Ottmar Walter was a player who helped make the 'Miracle of Berne' possible and became a role model for generations.
"Just like his brother Fritz, he will always have a place in the history of the DFB. Ottmar Walter won't just stay in our memories as a brilliant footballer, but also as a wonderful person, who always remained humble and down to earth." Following Walter's death, Horst Eckel (81) and Hans Schäfer (85) are the only surviving members of the 1954 World Cup-winning squad.
Flohe, who had been in a coma since May 2010, was an unused substitute as West Germany overcame the Netherlands 2-1 in the 1974 World Cup showpiece. He also helped his country finish runners-up at the 1976 UEFA European Championship, while in the club game he won the Bundesliga title with 1. FC Köln in 1977/78 and lifted the German Cup in 1968, 1977 and 1978.
"We are all deeply saddened by the news," said Niersbach. "Heinz Flohe was an incredible player who will always be remembered. Our thoughts and sympathies are with his family, with whom we stayed in contact and kept hope."
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