The end of an era! Ranking Germany's greatest Adidas kits

It’s a day we honestly never thought we’d see but the German Football Federation (DFB) rocked the entire footballing world this week by announcing it will part company with Adidas as the official kit supplier for the national team after 70 years, and is switching to Nike.

Germany’s partnership with Adidas first began in 1954 and, other than a period in the 1960s and early 70s when they wore Umbro and Erima branded kits, Die Mannschaft have proudly been draped in the three stripes.

“The German Football Association will enter into an equipment partnership with Nike from 2027 to 2034,” the statement read. “Nike will equip all national teams of DFB and promote German football in its entirety.”

The men’s national side have worn Adidas apparel en route to lifting four World Cups and three European Championship titles, though the team actually wore Leuzela-branded kits (with Adidas boots and tracksuits) while lifting the 1954 World Cup, and Umbro kits at the 1966 and 1970 finals.

The switch to full Adidas kit was made for the 1972 Summer Olympics, and it’s fair to say that the two entities have become synonymous both with each other and with sporting eminence during intervening years — hence the tremors being felt over news that one of the most unshakeable alliances in football is to come to an end.

Even before Adidas took the reigns, Germany’s kits have followed a fairly rigid design with a white and black base, latterly adorned with trim in the colour of the modern national flag: black, red and gold/yellow. They also proudly sport four stars above the DFB crest to denote the World Cup wins of 1954, 1974 and 1990 and 2014.

Though the monumental news is yet to sink in, we thought we’d look back through the archives and select our favourite Germany kits produced by Adidas, presented below in reverse order.

World Cup 1974 kit

Though rudimentary by today’s standards, it’s hard to look past the classic shirt produced for Franz Beckenbauer, Gerd Muller, Paul Breitner et al, who wore their pristine white finery while fending off all competition and lifting the 1974 World Cup on home soil. Now, it’s probably worth mentioning that the kit was technically produced by Erima but we’re counting it because Erima was operating as a subsidiary of Adidas at the time. That’s our excuse and we’re sticking to it!

1988-1990 away kit

Germany have tended to flit between a few set colourways when it comes to their change strips but the bottle green hue that is periodically adopted will always be our favourite. Die Mannschaft have been furnished with some truly lovely green alternate kits over the years but the Euro 1988 edition is a strong frontrunner.

Though the chevron template is perhaps most readily associated with Marco van Basten and the victorious Netherlands team of the era, Germany’s verdant version was equally easy on the eye.

While the kit was launched for the 1988 tournament, it is probably more associated with the 1990 World Cup and the semifinal victory against England.

World Cup 1994 kits

Germany have a proud tradition of looking the business at major international tournaments and 1994 was certainly a good year in that regard as the national colours came cascading down over the shoulder in a diamond pattern, complete with a specked “spray paint” effect that was very popular at the time.

If anything, the green away version was even better.

Euro 2024 home kit

Germany have had some stunning home and away designs since Adidas formally began creating bespoke designs for the national team when a huge kit deal was put in place more recently.

While there have been experiments with pinstripes (2012, 2020), zigzags (2018), Ajax-style aprons (2022) and even oversized breastplates (2008, 2014), it stands to reason that Adidas hasn’t really ever resorted to plying Die Mannschaft with a bad home shirt.

What’s more, we’d argue that the best of their contemporary efforts is the brand new 2024 kit launched this week, which is as close to a work of art as any international kit we’ve seen.

1988-1990 home kit

A timeless design that has been revisited and reissued countless times since, the kit worn by Germany while winning the 1990 World Cup is a true, undisputed, heavyweight retro classic.

The Bundesflagge stripes have never looked better, though it’s speculated that the famous chest-spanning graphic also serves as a visual representation of Germany’s performances at the four World Cups leading up to the 1990 finals — with a peak to start (victory in 1974), then a dramatic dip (early elimination in 1978), a plateau (two consecutive runners-up finishes in 1982 and 1986) and ending with an optimistic soar to denote a projected victory in 1990.

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