Blog

Chelsea's Premier League title winners from Germany

Ahead of the return of the Bundesliga this weekend, we take a look back at those Germans to have tasted title glory as Blues over the years...

Although the English top flight has been packed with overseas stars over the past two decades, it may come as a surprise to Chelsea supporters to learn that only five German internationals have pulled on the famous blue shirt.

That said, what we've lacked in quantity has more than been made up by quality, with three players playing a part in title triumphs – and only one of our Premier League successes, in 2016/17, occurred without the help of a player from Germany.

Antonio Rudiger, while not yet adding his name to that list, has helped us to glory in cup competitions in each of his two seasons at the Bridge, and give yourself a pat on the back if you remembered Marko Marin's brief spell in our first-team squad in 2012/13, which completes the list of Chelsea's German internationals.

Our focus today, however, is on those who lifted the Premier League trophy and here is a reminder of how they wrote their name in Blues folklore.

The first of our Premier League-winning Germans was Robert Huth, who won a hat-trick of Young Player of the Year awards at the club from 2003 onwards after coming up through the ranks under the tutelage of legendary Chelsea defender Steve Clarke during his time working with our youngsters.

His no-nonsense style of defending and penchant for a blockbuster strike made him something of a cult hero at the Bridge and he was even occasionally deployed as a makeshift centre-forward when the situation called for added physicality.

Unfortunately for Huth, he found his path to regular first-team football blocked by some of the greatest centre-halves in our history: Marcel Desailly, William Gallas, Ricardo Carvalho and, of course, John Terry.

Though he had his moments, and was a popular member of the squad throughout his time here, his contribution to our back-to-back title wins in 2005 and 2006 was a mere 10 and 13 appearances respectively.

After the first of those triumphs, on a balmy May afternoon at Stamford Bridge as we lifted the trophy for the first time following our win over Charlton Athletic, he left his mark on the jubilant supporters in our west-London home by commandeering a groundsman’s buggy to tear around the pitch with several million pounds worth of team-mates in tow!

Following our second Premier League title, he left the club in search of regular football, and a decade later he added a third winners’ medal to his collection a decade on after forming one half of Leicester's rock-solid centre-back pairing in their miraculous 2015/16 season under Claudio Ranieri, the manager who gave him his debut at Chelsea.

Huth announced he had retired in January this year at the age of 34, amid talk he was set to join his old team-mate Frank Lampard at Derby County, and his 322 Premier League appearances are more than any other German player, having also featured for Middlesbrough and Stoke City in the top flight.

In the same summer that we said goodbye to Huth, Stamford Bridge welcomed another German international – and arguably the greatest of his generation, as he accrued a fantastic tally of 42 goals from 98 international appearances.

Although unable to match his pre-Chelsea record of netting a goal roughly every two games – which had helped Bayern Munich to numerous major honours in his time there – the Germany skipper's professionalism and desire to win made him a popular figure with fans and team-mates alike.

Having won the Carling Cup in his first season in west London – but missing out on FA Cup glory after injury ruled him out of a final reached thanks to his semi-final winner against Blackburn – it was in 2007/08 that Ballack really showed what he was made of.

After injury delayed his start to the campaign, the No13 came into the side and was one of the driving forces behind our bid to win the Treble, scoring several vital goals – including a brace against Manchester United that helped take the title race to the last day.

Alas, we would end that campaign empty-handed, but Bally helped rectify that a year later as we defeated Everton to win the FA Cup. And he was a crucial member of our Double-winning squad in 2009/10, with his good form in front of goal helping to get the season off to an impressive start.

Ballack left Chelsea for Bayer Leverkusen following the expiration of his contract, having appeared in 167 games, netting on 26 occasions, and we were even treated to a reunion when he returned to the Bridge with his new team in the group stage of our 2012 Champions League-winning campaign.

Completing our list of Premier League winners from Germany is Andre Schurrle, who signed from Bayer Leverkusen in 2013. An adaptable forward who could feature anywhere across the front-line, where his blistering pace made him a huge threat to opposition defenders, the No14 enjoyed a decent first campaign at the Bridge.

The highlight was his hat-trick in the west-London derby against Fulham at Craven Cottage, when he took only 16 second-half minutes to net one of our fastest top-flight trebles. Schurrle also scored in vital Premier League wins over Manchester City and Arsenal, the latter a thumping 6-0 victory, while he also found the back of the net in our famous Champions League comeback versus Paris Saint-Germain.

Later in 2014 he joined an elite group of Chelsea players to win the World Cup while plying their trade in west London, and he returned from setting up the winner in the final in Brazil to score the third goal in our win over Burnley to open the campaign in style.

Chelsea players have netted plenty of spectacular opening-weekend goals during the Premier League era and this was another to add to the collection. The Clarets were on the end of the ultimate team goal against the Blues to kick off the 2014/15 campaign as a flowing move culminated with Cesc Fàbregas laying a dreamy pass into the path of Schurrle to beat Tom Heaton.

Although he departed for Wolfsburg midway through the campaign, Schurrle made enough appearances to earn a Premier League winner's medal, and his tally of 14 goals had come in 65 appearances, only 35 of which were starts.

He was back in the English top flight again last season with Fulham and his spectacular strike against Burnley won the Premier League Goal of the Month award in January, but following the Cottagers relegation he moved to Spartak Moscow on loan.

MORE FROM CHELSEA