Germany and France have been two of the giants of international football for as long as we care to remember, and so it’ll probably come as no great surprise that their past meetings have thrown up some classic encounters.
The two sides go head-to-head once again on Tuesday as they kick-off their respective Euro 2020 campaigns at Bayern Munich’s Allianz Arena, so what better way to whet your appetite for the game than to look back at some of the pair’s greatest ever clashes.
Here’s 90min’s list of the best games between Germany and France, ranked all the way down to the greatest of them all…
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One of their more recent meetings to kick-off with.
The two sides had qualified from their Euro 2016 groups with very little difficulty after picking up seven points from their three outings, before both suffering scares in the knockout rounds as France edged past the Republic of Ireland with a 2-1 win and Germany needed penalties to see off Italy.
The pair met in Marseille at the semi-final stage and it was the home nation that came out on top, with Antoine Griezmann notching a goal in either half to knock the reigning world champions out.
Despite Griezmann’s brace, Didier Deschamps’ men also had Hugo Lloris to thank for their progression through the final, with the Tottenham captain producing a string of impressive saves to keep Joachim Low’s side at bay.
Speaking of Germany being reigning world champions in 2016.
Mats Hummels’ thunderous header in the opening stages of their quarter-final meeting at the 2014 World Cup settled their contest with France as he held off Raphael Varane to power his side into the last four.
The French threw everything they had at Germany in their quest for an equaliser, but time after time they were thwarted by the colossal Manuel Neuer as he ensured his side secured their fourth World Cup semi-final appearance in a row.
They may have fallen to defeat in Paris, though West Germany fans will never forget their side’s 1977 friendly against France as it proved to be Franz Beckenbauer’s final ever appearance for his country.
Olivier Rouyer scored the game’s only goal as he produced a sublime looping effort to hand his team the lead early in the second half, with Dieter Muller and Karl-Heinz Rummenigge both missing glorious opportunities to level the scoring.
Beckenbauer had been expected to earn further call-ups to the national side after the defeat to France, though his glittering international career ultimately ended with a loss.
It’s virtually impossible to think of the 1986 World Cup and not immediately recall the brilliance of Diego Maradona, but there were actually other players present at the tournament believe it or not.
While Maradona was firing Argentina into the final of the World Cup in his side’s clash with Belgium, the other semi-final produced a brilliant game between France and West Germany.
Andreas Brehme edged his team ahead thanks to a goalkeeping blunder from Joel Bats as he let the left-back’s stinging drive slip under his body, before Frenchman Maxime Bossis inexplicably fired over the bar with a chance that looked easier to score than miss.
Rudi Voller’s superbly taken late goal booked West Germany’s place in the final, though there was to be no stopping Maradona’s Argentina as they triumphed 3-2 in the showpiece event.
Now that’s a proper scoreline.
West Germany’s game against France at the 1958 World Cup counted for very little as the pair played out the third-place play-off having both been beaten in their respective semi-finals, but that’s probably part of the reason why it ended up being so entertaining.
Striker Just Fontaine was to prove the match winner as he bagged four times over the course of 90 minutes to ensure his side would finish as the third-placed side, with goals from Raymond Kopa and Yvon Douis completing the French demolition job.
West Germany never really seemed to be in the game, but they did draw level thanks to a goal from Hans Cieslarczyk, though goals from Helmut Rahn and Hans Schäfer proved to be mere consolations as France ran away with the game.
No list of classic Germany games would be complete without one in which they triumphed via a penalty shootout.
West Germany’s Pierre Littbarski edged his side ahead in the first half of their 1982 World Cup clash but it didn’t take long for France to draw level thanks to Michel Platini’s penalty.
With the game locked at 1-1 the two sides headed for extra-time. Usually the additional 30 minutes end up being turgid affairs with very little action, but France and West Germany played out an absolute barnstormer with France storming into a 3-1 lead before West Germany scored twice to make the score 3-3 with penalties needed to separate the two teams.
Both sides missed one of their opening five penalties as the shootout entered sudden death, and French defender Bossis (yes, him again) became the villain of the piece as his spot kick was saved by Harald Schumacher.
The game will forever be remembered by football fans of a certain age, partly because of the drama but also as it saw one of the most horrific challenges ever seen on a football pitch as West Germany goalkeeper Schumacher clattered into Frenchman Patrick Battiston, with the West German’s awful challenge somehow going unpunished.