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Kirsten in 2019
|Full name||Ulf Kirsten|
|Date of birth||4 December 1965|
|Place of birth||Riesa, East Germany|
|Height||1.72 m (5 ft 7 1⁄2 in)|
|1972–1978||BSG Chemie Riesa|
|1978–1979||BSG Stahl Riesa|
|1984–1986||East Germany U21||10||(4)|
|2003–2005||Bayer Leverkusen (assistant)|
|2005–2011||Bayer Leverkusen II|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only|
Ulf Kirsten (born 4 December 1965) is a German former professional footballer and manager, who played as a striker. Nicknamed Der Schwatte (dialect for "Der Schwarze", The Black One), he is the first player in history to reach a total 100 caps playing with two different national teams (first for East Germany, then Reunified Germany). Kirsten's biggest success was the victory of the 1992–93 DFB-Pokal. He served the Stasi as an informer under the codename "Knut Krüger".
Kirsten had an unusual build, measuring only 172 cm (5'8"), but weighing 81 kg (179 lbs). He had an unusually low centre of gravity, which enabled him to protect the ball in the box against much bigger defenders and turn around quickly for close-range shots. The playing style was often compared to that of Gerd Müller. In addition, despite his small height, Kirsten was also a feared header.
Kirsten was one of the first East German footballers to enter the Bundesliga after the German reunification. In the German Bundesliga he played 350 matches for Bayer 04 Leverkusen and scored 182 goals (ranked #7 in the all-time top scorer list). He established himself as one of the most dangerous strikers in the Bundesliga, but Bayer Leverkusen regularly ended as runner-up to either Bayern Munich or Borussia Dortmund. He stayed there until his retirement in 2003. He also played in the 2002 UEFA Champions League Final. In the 1999–2000 season, Kirsten won the EFFIFU award for being the most efficient striker in the league.
Off the pitch, Kirsten was famous for his strong beard growth, which earned him a sponsorship by Braun, who used him to advertise their electrical shavers.
Kirsten's 100 caps are almost evenly split: 49 for East Germany and 51 for the re-unified Germany in a career which spanned 15 years from 1985 until 2000, with the reunified team being formed in late 1990.
Kirsten scored a total of 34 international goals, 14 of them for East Germany. His only major tournaments came late in his career; Kirsten played for his country at the 1994 and 1998 World Cups and Euro 2000.
- 1 Including 1 match and 1 goal in 1993 DFB-Supercup.
- 2 Including 1 match and 1 goal in 1997 DFB-Ligapokal.
- 3 Including 2 matches and 1 goal in 1998 DFB-Ligapokal.
- 4 Including 2 matches and 2 goals in 1999 DFB-Ligapokal.
- 5 Including 1 match and 1 goal in 2000 DFB-Ligapokal.
- 6 Including 1 match in 2001 DFB-Ligapokal.
- 7 Including 1 match in 2002 DFB-Ligapokal.
- As of 25 May 2012
|Bayer Leverkusen II||1 July 2005||30 June 2011||209||72||50||87||292||313||−21||34.45|
- East German Footballer of the Year (1): 1989–90
- Bundesliga top scorer (3): 1992–93, 1996–97, 1997–98
- UEFA Cup Winners' Cup top scorer (1): 1993–94
- UEFA Cup top scorer (1): 1994–95
- kicker Bundesliga Team of the Season (2): 1996–97, 1998–99
- "Kirsten, Ulf" (in German). kicker.de. Retrieved 4 March 2012.
- Jörg Winterfeldt (22 March 2000). "Mielkes Rächer unbestraft". welt.de. Retrieved 26 June 2009.
- "Ulf Kirsten – International Appearances". RSSSF. Retrieved 14 June 2016.
- "Kirsten vor 3. Liga-Debüt" (in German). kicker.de. 29 April 2009. Retrieved 4 March 2012.
- "Bundesliga Historie 1996/97" (in German). kicker.
- "Bundesliga Historie 1998/99" (in German). kicker.