The German Bundesliga,메이저놀이터 which celebrated its 60th anniversary, included Cha “Cha Boom” Bum-geun as one of the candidates in the vote to select the best striker of all time.
The German Bundesliga held a fan vote on the official website on the 23rd (Korean time), saying, “Choose the best player in 60 years of the Bundesliga!”
Founded in 1963 as one of the world’s best professional soccer leagues, the Bundesliga is already celebrating its 60th anniversary. Ahead of the monumental day, the Bundesliga decided to have time to select players who had been active at the highest level in the league by position.
The Bundesliga, which decided to proceed with voting first, asked fans to vote for 25 strikers. While legendary players were nominated, Korean football legend Cha Bum-geun was proudly included in the list, drawing attention.
With 365 goals, Gerd Müller, the “German bomber” who scored the most goals in Bundesliga history, as well as Klaus Fischer, Jupp Heynckes, Karl Heinz Rummenigge, Miroslav Klose, Lukas Podolski and Mario Gomes, were all nominated.
Aiutong, who was a colleague of Lee Dong-guk, former vice-president of the Korea Football Association during his time at Werder Bremen, Claudio Pizarro, who was a sign for the Peruvian national team, and Tony Yeboa, the first black player in German professional football, were included.
Among the active players, Robert Lewandowski (Barcelona), a world-class striker from Poland, and Erling Hollan (Manchester City), a “monster striker” who scored 52 goals last season and led the “Treble (three crowns),” were selected.
Cha Bum-kun, the first Korean player to advance to the Bundesliga, was also selected in the final 25 candidates, and Korean national soccer team coach Jürgen Klinsmann, who finished second in the 1995 Ballon d’Or voting during his active career, was also nominated.
As a player, Klinsmann scored 284 goals in 620 matches in a total of 620 matches while passing through prestigious European teams such as Bundesliga Bayern Munich and Stuttgart, as well as Tottenham Hotspur, Inter Milan, Sampdoria and AS Monaco.
Klinsmann, who was active as a leading striker not only for the club but also for the German national team, scored 47 goals in 108 A-matches. In particular, he led West Germany to win the 1990 World Cup in Italy by scoring three goals.
Based on his outstanding performance, he was also predicted to be nominated for the Ballon d’Or in 1995, but failed to win the award behind African legend George Weah and finished second in the Ballon d’Or.
The Bundesliga explained, “Fans can rate the 25 forwards nominated for a score from 1 to 5. The player with the most points will be included in the best 11 of the 60th anniversary of the Bundesliga.” Voting for midfielders, defenders and goalkeepers will also be held at a later date, and the voting deadline is September 30th.
It was not very likely that Cha Bum-kun would be included in the best 11 for the 60th anniversary of the Bundesliga since the competitors were so competitive, but just being included in the 25 best strikers in the league’s history confirms Cha Bum-kun’s status.
From 1979 to 1989, Cha Bum-kun, the first ‘Korean leaguer’ in the Bundesliga, played for Darmstadt, Frankfurt and Leverkusen, making Europe see Korea, which was considered a wasteland of football, again. During this period, he scored a total of 121 goals, none of which were scored from penalty kicks.
Except for the Darmstadt days when he returned to Korea to solve the military service problem after playing only one game, Cha Bum-geun succeeded in scoring in double digits for seven consecutive years from the 1979/1980 season, which was his de facto debut season. He also won the UEFA Cup (now the Europa League) with Frankfurt in 1980, then moved to Leverkusen and became UEFA Cup champions in 1988 as well.
Cha Bum-geun, nicknamed ‘Cha Boom’ for his thunderous shooting skills, scored 98 goals in 308 Bundesliga games and remains the most capped Korean player in the Bundesliga to this day.
Also, Cha Bum-kun, who scored 98 goals in the league, maintained the top scorer for a foreign player in the Bundesliga for about 11 years from 1987 to 1998, and was evaluated as the best foreign striker in the Bundesliga for a while.
Cha Bum-kun, who left a big mark on Korean soccer and the Bundesliga, had a considerable influence on his juniors to advance to Germany. As Cha Bum-kun played a pioneering role for Korean players in Europe, a total of 22 ‘Korean leaguers’ appeared in the Bundesliga.
South Korean soccer team captain Son Heung-min (Tottenham Hotspur) also debuted as a professional player in Germany, then played for Hamburg and Cha Bum-geun’s home team Leverkusen before heading to the English Premier League in 2015 to become a world-class striker.
Recently, Europe’s top defender Kim Min-jae moved to Bundesliga champion Bayern Munich, becoming the 23rd ‘Korean Leaguer’ in his career. In addition to Kim Min-jae, Jung Woo-yeong (Stuttgart) and Lee Jae-seong (Mainz) are currently playing in the Bundesliga, raising the reputation of Korean soccer.