Before the Tracksuit: Jogi Löw as a Player

Who is SC Freiburg’s record goalscorer? Go on, hazard a guess. Well, I for one was über-surprised to discover that it is none other than World Cup winning Bundestrainer Joachim Löw.

Surprised? Well, before he took to dominating European and World football with die Mannschaft and getting caught out having a bit of the old ‘scratch and sniff’ on camera, Jögi had a playing career which took him from Freiburg to Stuttgart, to Frankfurt and to Karlsruhe with stops back in the Black Forest on route.

Yes, our very own architect of German international football pre-eminence used to take to the field in his 80’s mullet and moustache to tread the boards so-to-speak (or rather turf/ Rasen).

‘Was he any good?’ I hear you ask. Well, yes and no. Born in Schönau im Schwarzwald deep in Baden-Württemberg, Löw began playing as a youngster with local side TuS Schönau 1896 before progressing to FC Schönau 08 and ultimately when his talent was recognised, Sportfreunde Eintracht Freiburg.

Then in 1978, the 18-year-old signed professional terms with SC Freiburg, who were then in Bundesliga II. You could say his first season with the Breisgauer was a slow-burner with four goals scored in 33 appearances, but the following campaign would see him hit 14 to finish as club joint top scorer with Wolfgang Schüler.

With Freiburg missing out on promotion, Löw was snapped up by VfB Stuttgart, but he struggled to establish himself in the first team and made just four appearances without scoring. He cut his losses with the Swabians and moved to Eintracht Frankfurt where he made the perfect start at the Waldstadion by scoring on his debut in a 2-2 draw with 1FC Kaiserslautern on the opening game of the season.

However, he had to largely settle for a role as substitute as back-up to South Korean Cha Bum-Kun and Ronald Borchers. He did though contribute five goals.

June 1982 saw Löw accept an offer to move back to Freiburg in the second division and was an ever-present in his first season back scoring eight times with former Bayern Munich player Werner Olk as trainer. The following campaign was his best to date as he bagged 17 goals in 31 games. That performance once again awoke the attention of clubs just above Freiburg in the pecking order and he moved to Karlsruher SC. Like at Stuttgart and Frankfurt Löw found it difficult to really cement himself as a regular starter and only scored twice in 24 appearances mainly from the bench.

He cut his losses again after just one season and returned for a third spell at Freiburg. Four seasons in the Bundesliga II saw him score 38 goals in 113 appearances. On a curious note, the 1987-88 season at the Schwarzwald Stadion saw him lining-up with none other than current Freiburg trainer Christian Streich, who was a defender playing his one and only season with the club. 

Having become the club’s all-time leading scorer with 81 leagues goals in 252 appearances during three spells with the club, the then 29-year-old moved to Switzerland where he saw out his playing career with FC Schaffhausen, FC Winterthur and finally FC Frauenfeld where he became player-manager before finally ending his playing days in 1995.

We all know what happened next.

The following two tabs change content below.

Mathew Burt

A year spent living in Bremen got Mathew hooked on the Bundesliga with regular visits to the Weser Stadion getting in the way of his studies. Back in the UK now, he still keenly follows the Grün-Weißen and German football in general. Follow him on Twitter @matburt74.

1 Comment

  1. Nice to read a rare article about Jogi’s playing career.

    Just one point I would add though and that was, after he had signed for Stuttgart in 1980, he suffered a double-leg break in a pre-season game, this in an era when such a injury was often career-ending and a player could face up to a year on the sidelines. Hence his paltry four appearances and why his career never really reached the heights it was previously tipped for.

    And any chance we can we get over scratch and sniff now please?

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.