The Euro 2016 Championships are well underway and there really isn’t a better time to be a football (soccer, for you yanks) fan. With games on every night, there’s just no shortage of quality football – which makes me a very happy albeit sleep-deprived man.
To commemorate Euro 2016, LEGO partnered together with the German National Football team to release an exclusive Minifigure Series featuring the German squad. The LEGO German Football minifigures were only released in Germany, Austria and Switzerland, although they also showed up very briefly in the United Kingdom, making them extremely hard to get a hold of.
In fact, word on the street is that this series is now completely sold out. LEGO apparently only manufactured about 35,000 boxes of German Football minifigs – a shockingly low number for a product line (and football team) with such a massive worldwide appeal.
Here’s a look at the individual blind bags, which prominently feature the German national football team crest on the top right corner. Each blind bag costs 3 Euros, although the scarcity and geographic exclusivity has naturally resulted in huge price surges on the aftermarket.
The German Football Minifigures Series consists of 16 different characters, who are all based on their real-life counterparts. They’re also known as DFB or Die Mannschaft (literally means “The National Team”.
When these were announced, quite a number of LEGO fans found it odd that this minifigure series had such a narrow focus on one national team. My take on it is that Germany is a major market for LEGO (I believe they’re no.1 in the world on a per capita basis), as well as the fact that they’re currently world champions (they won the 2014 World Cup).
It was also probably easier to negotiate the license with a singular team rather than a whole number of countries and different kitmakers.
Here’s a look at all 16 characters included in this series. Many of these are household names (in countries where football is a big deal) and are legends in their own right. It’s interesting to note that some of these players weren’t included in the final Euro Squad – Christoph Kramer, Max Kruse and the most surprising omission being Marco Reus who was dropped at the last minute.
At least these 3 players have their likenesses immortalised in LEGO, which is a decent consolation.
Here’s a look at the leaflet included in each blind bag which features a handy checklist of all 16 minifigures. It’s especially useful for this series, seeing that it’s quite a challenge identifying the squad players from their appearances alone.
On the other side, we have an illustration prompting you to build a football goal for your LEGO DFB minifigures, with a url to www.lego.com/classic to get the instructions.
If you’re like me and live in a country where these weren’t sold, you’re pretty much screwed if you want a full set at a decent price. I personally bought my box off eBay (for a very hefty price of AU$500!) to guarantee my set.
As a huge football and minifigure fan, I couldn’t afford to pass this series up. If you want a full set, you’re best grabbing a complete set off eBay. I would recommend doing it sooner rather than later as these are only going to go up in price – more so if Germany manages to win the Euros this year!
I also wouldn’t recommend gambling on blind bags as this series is literally impossible to feel for since all the minifigures are pretty generic and the differences are purely in colours and torso printing. Save yourself the trouble and cough up for an overpriced complete set on eBay if you can.
Thankfully, each sealed box of LEGO German minifigures comes with the usual 3 complete sets plus 12 extras. Here’s the full list and their quantities in each complete box.
3x Joachim Low
3x Manuel Neuer
3x Jerome Boateng
3x Mats Hummels
3x Benedikt Howedes
4x Shkrodan Mustafi
4x Bastian Schweinsteiger
4x Mesut Ozil
4x Thomas Muller
5x Toni Kroos
5x Sami Khedira
5x Andre Schurrle
4x Marco Reus
3x Christoph Kramer
4x Mario Gotze
3x Max Kruse
If you click the name of each minifigure, you’ll instantly jump to the corresponding minifigure review! Unlike previous Minifigure reviews, I won’t be bothering with a “How To Find One” guide.
This review will also be slightly less comprehensive because there isn’t a lot to write about each minifigure, since there isn’t a lot of variety when it comes to accessories or parts. They are after all, a football squad, so they all have the same jersey designs. I’m also not going to bother assigning a rating to each minifigure since it’s fairly pointless for this series.
This review is mostly aimed at showing you how these minifigures look and what I think of them as a whole!
Joachim Low, or more affectionately known by his nickname “Jogi” is the German national football team manager, a role he’s been in since 2006. He famously led Germany to victory at the 2014 World Cup, trouncing Brazil 7-1 in the process. As manager, Low has kind of made a name for himself thanks to his impeccable fashion sense. He’s always dressed quite sharply on the pitch.
His minifigure’s appearance is unique as he’s the only person dressed in a navy blue suit. His inner shirt’s upper buttons are stylishly undone. In terms of his actual likeness, LEGO have done a decent job capturing the lines on his face and his trademark messy mop of hair on his head.
For accessories, Low is the only minifigure in this series to not come with a football – he has a printed tile that serves as a tactical board, complete with diagrams of the players on the pitch. It’s a really nice printed tile and is really useful for any football-themed MOCs or models.
The Joachim Low minifigure doesn’t have any back printing which isn’t that big of a downside since he’s wearing a blazer. Some additional fabric printing would’ve been a nice to have, but it still looks good for the most part.
This is Jogi Low, talking his team through tactics and positioning on the pitch.
Yes, this isn’t Joachim Low, but I also want to highlight the new minifigure base plates that come in the German Football Team series. They’re white, much like the base plates in the Team GB Series and there are four stars printed on each base plate. In case you’re unfamiliar with football convention, the four stars are for each World Cup that Germany have won.
I really like the base plates which are exclusive to this series as they really give this series that added bit of class and collectibility.
Manuel Neuer is Germany’s first choice goalkeeper, and plays for Bayern Munich. He’s an extremely talented shot stopper, and is widely considered as one of the best goalkeepers in the modern game thanks to his athleticism, quick reflexes and tendency to go off the line and engage opposing strikers head on.
Neuer is decked out in his goalkeeping jersey which is all black, with the Adidas strikes running down each side. His shorts colours are inverted and are all white, featuring the German national football crest on his right leg.
Neuer has a big smile on his face, which is a little odd as I’d much prefer a focused look. I do like his sand-coloured hairpiece as it’s very close to his natural hair colour and look.
Here’s a look at Neuer’s back printing, which has his name and squad number printed on, as well as some additional jersey details. Being one of the best keepers in the world, I’m a big fan of Neuer and thus very glad to own a minifigure version of him.
Jerome Boateng is a defender, and primarily plays in the centre back position for Germany and his club, Bayern Munich. Boateng is a German of Ghanaian descent and commands an excellent reputation as one of the world’s most reliable centre backs. He is, in my opinion, currently the best centre back in the world.
While he may be black, I am not a fan of his appearance. I do like that we get a black minifigure, which is extremely rare and a welcome addition to my collection but I don’t think LEGO have done a good job capturing Boateng’s appearance.
Firstly, not every black LEGO minifigure needs the new afro hairpiece. I’ve personally never seen Boateng with that hairstyle. Also, what is going on with his eyebrows? It looks like he has two pairs of eyebrows.
Each German outfield player is attired in the new German home jersey with the two grey stripes running down the middle. The Adidas logo is displayed on the right side and the German crest features prominently on the left breast.
Here’s what Jerome Boateng looks like from behind. Each German player has their name and squad number printed on the back which is pretty cool as it means that each torso is sort of unique, even though the designs are similar.
This isn’t Boateng, but I’d like to highlight the side printing on the player’s legs. You can see the iconic Adidas stripe on the shorts, as well as the socks peeking out. There’s also some minor details on the football boots.
Here’s Boateng chesting the ball. And yes, in case you were wondering, I used blu-tac to make this shot possible!
Mats Hummels is another defender and like Boateng, plays as a centre back for Germany and his club Borussia Dortmund, although he will join Bayern Munich next season.
Unfortunately, Hummels hasn’t featured at Euro 2016 due to injuries which is a shame as he’s extremely proficient at his central defender position.
Appearance-wise, Hummels is decent. He has a slightly darker complexion which is really great to have since it’s a relatively rare colour for minifigs. I guess he looks quite accurate when compared to the real player.
It’s not like I could immediately recognize the minifigure as Hummels, but the stubble, good-natured smile and haircut do a decent overall job of getting his features right.
Here’s the back of his minifigure.
So, I’m not too familiar with Benedikt Howedes as a player. I know that he’s a defender and that he captains the Bundesliga club Schalke 04, but I don’t really follow their games and I don’t know too much about him.
I do like his minifigure’s features – his spiky hairstyle is in a nice shade of orangey-brown and he has some great Caucasian features such as light brown eyebrows and facial hair.
Here’s a look at his back printing.
Shkrodan Mustafi is another German defender who plies his trade in the Spanish league for Valencia. He’s a relatively young player, filling in for the injured Mats Hummels at centre back. He’s been having a cracking start to the Euros so far, scoring in Germany’s opening game against Ukraine.
Mustafi has a dark brown side-parted hair, and a very respectable beard. I don’t think it’s the most accurate representation of Mustafi as it looks nothing like him, but if you want to reuse his face, he has some really nice features that you wouldn’t commonly find with flesh-coloured minifigs.
Here’s a look at his back printing with his name and squad number on it.
Bastian Schweinsteiger. Football legend. Schweinsteiger is by far my favourite minifigure in this entire series as I’m a massive fan. I’ve been enamoured by him since the 2006 World Cup which was held in Germany, where he shot to prominence and became one of my favourite players of all time. He also recently signed for Manchester United, the club that I root for – one of my dream signings that I never thought would happen.
Schweinsteiger is a mercurial player and it’s always a joy watching him on the pitch. He occupies the role of a central midfielder and is also a prolific goalscoarer, both for club and country.
He looks fine as a minifigure, with a calm and reserved facial expression and sandy blonde hair. His hairpiece doesn’t really look like his real life hairstyle, but that’s more of a limitation with LEGO’s inventory than design since hair options are quite limited.
Here’s a look at his back printing.
Schweini is the captain of the German national football team, taking over from Philipp Lahm when he retired from international duty. As such, his minifigure has a captain’s armband printed on his left arm, which is a really nice bonus bit of detail.
His armband bears the German flag colours and has the words “spielfuhrer” which means “Play Leader” (according to Google Translate) printed on the red stripe.
I’m absolutely delighted to own a Schweinsteiger minifig and I’m very glad that LEGO did a great job getting his look mostly right, and for the little extras such as the captain’s armband.
Here’s Schweini practicing penalties (a German specialty) with Neuer in front of a makeshift goal that I cobbled together.
Mesut Ozil is a German midfielder, primarily playing as a central attacking midfielder. He used to play for Real Madrid before a shock transfer to Arsenal in 2013 for a club record fee. Ozil is one of the world’s best at his role and is an immensely creative playmaker, famed for his ability to notch up assists in the game. He has fantastic football IQ and is just sublime at setting his team up for goals or moving the ball forward.
Ozil has a darker, almost nougaty complexion which is quite welcome. His hair is pretty spot on but I’m not a fan of his face. Ozil has some bizarre looking eyes, which I don’t think the designers could really capture in minifigure form. I do wish that his eyes looked a lot more different to the other minifigs.
Here’s a look at the back printing on his jersey.
Arsenal has a massive fan-base so fans should be quite stoked to get their hands on their best player in minifig form. I don’t particularly like the club but I do have the most immense respect for him as a player, so I’m relatively happy to own a LEGO version of Ozil.
Thomas Muller is an offensive all-rounder. He plays in a variety of different positions, from second striker to winger. Playing for Bayern Munich, Muller is one of the world’s most complete strikers thanks to his ability to consistently score goals and create chances for his team.
He was exemplary in Germany’s victorious campaign in the 2014 World Cup and is a major reason why Bayern is so dominant in the Bundesliga. All this and he’s only 26, swiftly approaching his prime years.
LEGO have done a great job getting his look right. He has a large lopsided grin and dark tan spiky hair. His face has plenty of lines on his forehead and jaw, which makes him quite expressive.
Here’s a look at Thomas Muller from behind.
Toni Kroos is another one of my favourite German players who plays club football for Real Madrid. He occupies the central midfielder role and boasts amazing technical skill. His ability to distribute the ball across to the pitch is amongst the best in the world at the moment. I’ve always wanted Manchester United to sign him as we had (and still kinda do) a bit of a crisis filling in the central midfielder role.
I like Toni Kroos’ minifigure appearance. It’s fairly unassuming, like the player himself with light brown hair and a fairly neutral expression. His minifigure’s face does look like he needs a bit more sleep as his eyebags are rather prominent!
Here’s a look at the back of his minifigure.
Sami Khedira is another central midfielder, known for his workrate and ability to command his area of the pitch. Best known for his spell at Real Madrid where he won numerous titles including the 2014 Champions League. He now currently plays for Juventus who are experiencing a bit of a renaissance at the moment.
Out of all the German football team minifigures, I think that Sami Khedira is the most realistic looking one. He’s one of the few minifigs that I could accurately guess the identity of purely from his appearance.
He has a nougat skin colour, some really nice facial hair with a neatly trimmed beard and hair that’s swept backwards. His beard is quite contemporary looking and his face is generic enough to be used for custom minifigures.
Here’s a look at the back printing on Khedira.
Andre Schurrle is a German winger who now plays for Wolfsburg in the Bundesliga. He had a brief stint at Chelsea which is how I came to know of him, but I can’t recall him doing anything of note during his time in the EPL. His biggest claim to fame is during the 2014 World Cup final against Argentina where he assisted Gotze for the winning goal in extra time.
Appearance-wise, Schurrle has the new “Superman” hair, a wavy asymmetrical cut that’s swept to one side. I believe that this is the first occurrence where it appears in this blonde shade, and looks fantastic.
Schurrle has a good natured smile, with very concerned looking eyes and a bit of facial hair across his face. I think he looks very fitting as his real life hairstyle is quite similar to his minifig’s.
Here’s a look st Schurrle’s back printing.
One of the biggest shocks in Germany’s final Euro 2016 squad was news of Marco Reus being dropped due to injury concerns. It’s a huge pity as Reus is a pretty exciting player – he plays as a Left Winger for Borussia Dortmund and is extremely deadly in front of the goal.
Reus has a cocky smile, and some light facial hair to go with him. His hair is also a fairly decent representation of Reus’ personal hairstyle, so I’m quite happy with the minifigure, especially the expressiveness on his face.
Here’s a look at Reus from behind.
Like Reus, Christoph Kramer was also omitted from the final Euro 2016 squad, but at least he makes it into the official LEGO German team. Kramer plays as a defensive midfielder for Bayer Leverkusen so I’m not too familiar with him.
I do like his minifigure, though. He has that new wavy hairstyle, this time in nougat or an orangey-brown shade which is such a lovely colour. He has a laid back smile, with a bit of a quizzical expression. I especially like the raised eyebrow look on him.
Here’s the back of Christoph Kramer’s minifigure.
Mario Gotze is a young German attacking midfielder who also plays for Bayern Munich. Gotze is perhaps best known for scoring the winning goal in extra time against Argentina in the 2014 World Cup final, clinching Germany its fourth trophy.
Gotze mostly plays as an attacking midfielder but has also been deployed on the wing as well. He’s extremely quick on the ball and is also an immense playmaker and finisher.
As a minifigure, I don’t think he looks like Gotze at all. He has dark brown wavy hair, which is a nice hairpiece but doesn’t really fit his look at all. He also has a sleepy-looking expression, with soft features and splotchy bits of facial hair. I guess the lack of facial hair and his subtle features serve to reflect his young age.
Here’s a look at Gotze’s back printing and squad number.
Last but not least is Max Kruse who plays as a centre forward for the German club, Wolfsburg. Like some of the lesser known player, I’m not too familiar with Max Kruse as well so I can’t quite add much about him as a footballer.
As a minifigure, I do like what Max Kruse brings to the table. His wavy hair comes in a brand new dirty blonde colour which is my favourite colour variation so far. Kruse also sports a very enthusiastic grin on his face which is always a great expression to have on hand for minifigures.
His facial features are also pretty generic, with some facial hair around his mouth, and a few lines on his face.
Here’s a look at Kruse’s back printing.
So this was quite a tricky series to review. The German Football Team minifigure are definitely not for everyone and I don’t consider them a core part of LEGO’s Collectible Minifigure series. Hardcore completionists will beg to differ, but because this series is based on such a unique license and was only released in a handful of countries, I don’t think it’s fair to lump them with the rest of the Minifigure series.
What I liked
First of all, I’m a massive football fan so this series was an absolute delight for me purely because of the source material. While this isn’t the first time that LEGO have done football players – they’ve never been shrunk into minifigure size at this scale before.
Even though I don’t support the German national team, I love that I get to own so many LEGO minifigure versions of some of the biggest names in modern football. So many of these players are household names, and apart from say, England or Spain, no team has this many football stars and recognizable players.
Obviously, if you’re not a football fan, you might not fully be able to appreciate this series if these players don’t mean anything to you. It probably also doesn’t help that there’s very little variety when it comes to torsos and legs since all the outfield players have the same designs, with only their squad name and numbers that set each minifigure apart.
What this series does incredibly well is that it boosts the level of diversity amongst “flesh” coloured minifigs. We get the typical pinkish skin tones, but also a darker orangey tone and even a black player in Boateng. LEGO minifigures can get quite homogeneous after awhile, but the variety in the German Football team minifigures is simply unparalleled in the “flesh coloured universe”.
I also love all the different faces, all of which are unique to each player. While they may not be accurate likenesses, they do contribute 16 new facial options that you can use to customise minifigures with. Keeping with current trends, I really appreciate that so many of these minifigure heads feature varying types of facial hairstyles and expressions.
I’m also a big fan of all the new variations of hair colours introduced in this series. Take the new wavy hairpiece, which is one of my new favourite hairstyles. We get the entire spectrum, from blonde all the way to black.
I’m fairly neutral on the minifigure designs and how well they match up against their real life counterparts. Obviously, it’s challenging to translate the player’s looks into LEGO minifigures, so I do get the challenges there. That and players’ appearances change all the time too.
Lastly, I loved that each player comes with a football, which until now has been a relatively uncommon accessory. I am definitely don’t need any more footballs as I’ve got so many now.
What I didn’t like
The thing I really hated about this series is the exclusivity and the extremely low quantities of sets made available to fans. Yes, this is a series based on the German team but that’s no excuse to not release this worldwide given the popularity and high profile stature of the squad.
Add the global (and sometimes rabid) appeal for LEGO Minifigure Series and the fact that this is 2016, which makes it unthinkable that geographic exclusives are still a thing.
LEGO (like football) is a global phenomenon so I cannot understand why LEGO didn’t make more of these and have them released in more countries. Geographic exclusives like this just end up hurting real LEGO fans and collectors as we’re forced to pay a very expensive premium to buy them off marketplaces like eBay or Bricklink.
The people who benefit are the lucky resellers in countries where these minifigures were available, as they get to make easy profits off this series and capitalise on us poor fans in other countries who have no option but to turn to them for complete sets or boxes.
I think a much better distribution model would be to at least make these minifigures available for purchase on LEGO.com so that fans who were truly interested in this series had a decent chance of buying them.
There were also some glaring omissions from the German squad. Obviously, when the lineup was conceptualised and drawn up, things might have been different with players who at the time would seem to be logical inclusions in the squad. The most surprising omission has to be Lukas Podolski, and a strong case can also be made for Julian Draxler and Mario Gomez.
I also understand that football is a team game, and it would look like if everyone has the same jersey for a uniformed look. That said, there are only 11 players on the pitch at once and I feel that for some of the fringe players, it would’ve been great if we got some away jerseys to mix things up a little.
These issues aside, I’m mostly very pleased with the LEGO German Football Team minifigures. As a football fan, I hope that LEGO is using this as a gauge of popularity and that this heralds most collaborations with sports clubs in the future. An English premier league series featuring players from different clubs would sell like absolute hotcakes, or even a team-based series like Manchester United would be an easy business pitch as well.
I would also like to see LEGO extend beyond football to other sports such as a return to the NBA, or maybe take on new games like the NFL, NHL, or even pro-tennis.
So that wraps up my review of the LEGO German football team minifigures! Were you lucky enough to grab a set? Or did you miss out because they sold out too quickly or simply just refused to pay the price resellers were charging.
Let me know your thoughts in the comments section!
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