Oliver Kahn is a legendary German football goalkeeper who is regarded as one of the greatest and most successful goalkeepers of all time. He had an illustrious career spanning over two decades and was an integral part of the successful Bayern Munich and German national teams during the 1990s and 2000s.
Kahn is best known for his composure, aggressive playing style, leadership, consistency and reliability between the sticks. He won numerous titles with Bayern Munich including 8 Bundesliga titles, 6 DFB-Pokals, 1 UEFA Cup and most famously, the UEFA Champions League in 2001. With Germany, he won the UEFA Euro 1996 and was the Silver Ball winner at the 2002 FIFA World Cup where Germany finished runners-up.
In this article, we take a deep dive into the life and career of this iconic goalkeeper. We will look at his background, early life, net worth, records, achievements with club and country as well as his personal life, family and relationships.
Background and Early Life
Oliver Rolf Kahn was born on 15 June 1969 in Karlsruhe, West Germany. His father Rolf was a delivery driver while his mother Kirsten was a housewife. Kahn grew up with his younger brother Axel who also became a football goalkeeper.
As a child, Kahn’s idols were legendary Bayern Munich goalkeeper Sepp Maier and German tennis great Boris Becker. He started playing football from a young age and honed his goalkeeping skills as a youth player with local club Karlsruher SC.
Kahn’s education background includes graduating high school in 1988 before studying economics at the University of Karlsruhe while continuing to play football. However, he dropped out to focus on his professional football career.
Net Worth and Salary
According to Celebrity Net Worth, Oliver Kahn has an estimated net worth of $20 million as of 2024. The bulk of his net worth has been accumulated through his salaries and earnings as a footballer with Karlsruher SC and mainly Bayern Munich.
Some of his lucrative endorsement deals over the years have added to his wealth. Kahn has done sponsorships and endorsements with brands like Adidas, Danone, Volkswagen, Peek & Cloppenburg and T-Mobile.
During his playing career, Kahn was one of the highest earners in the German Bundesliga. At Bayern Munich, he earned up to €5 million per year in his final years at the club before retirement in 2008.
Professional Career and Records
Early Career at Karlsruher SC
Oliver Kahn began his professional career with his hometown club Karlsruher SC in the German Bundesliga in 1987. He spent five seasons with the club as their starting goalkeeper and garnered a reputation for his aggressive “kamikaze style” saves.
Kahn made his breakthrough in 1994 when he was named Best European Goalkeeper after helping Karlsruhe reach the semi-finals of the UEFA Cup. At Karlsruhe, he appeared in over 200 matches in all competitions.
Joining and Successes with Bayern Munich
In 1994, Kahn signed for Bayern Munich where he would spend the next 14 highly successful seasons till his retirement in 2008. Transfer fee paid for him was a record €4.6 million for a goalkeeper then.
Kahn took over from Raimond Aumann as Bayern’s number one goalkeeper and soon established himself as one of the best keepers in the world. He won his first Bundesliga title in his debut season.
Some of his major honors with Bayern Munich include:
- 8 Bundesliga titles (1994, 1997, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2003, 2005, 2008)
- 6 DFB-Pokal wins (1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2008)
- UEFA Champions League (2000-01)
- UEFA Cup (1995-96)
- Intercontinental Cup (2001)
Kahn was renowned for his penalty saving abilities. He saved over 150 penalties in his career including a famous save in the 2001 UEFA Champions League final penalty shootout against Valencia.
In 2002, Kahn conceded only 21 goals in 33 Bundesliga matches as Bayern did the league and cup double. He set a longstanding Bundesliga record that season for the least goals conceded.
Kahn was named UEFA Best European Goalkeeper four consecutive times between 1999 to 2002. He also won the Lev Yashin Award at the 2002 FIFA World Cup as the best goalkeeper in the tournament.
International Career with Germany
Oliver Kahn made his debut for Germany in 1995 after above average performances at club level.
He was the first choice goalkeeper at:
- UEFA Euro 1996 – Winner
- 1998 FIFA World Cup
- UEFA Euro 2000 – Runners-up
- 2002 FIFA World Cup – Runners-up and Lev Yashin Award
At the 2002 World Cup, Kahn conceded only 3 goals throughout the entire tournament including consecutive clean sheets in the knockout stages. He committed a blunder in the final as Brazil won 2-0 but was still awarded the Lev Yashin Award for Best Goalkeeper.
Kahn amassed 86 caps for Germany during his international career from 1995 to 2006. He captained the national team several times as well.
Retirement in 2008
After an illustrious 21 year professional career, Oliver Kahn retired from football in 2008 at the age of 38. His final match was a DFB-Pokal win with Bayern Munich.
Kahn retired with the record of most clean sheets in the history of the Bundesliga with 197 clean sheets. He also held the record for most clean sheets in UEFA Champions League history until overtaken by Iker Casillas in 2015.
Some of his individual accolades and awards during his career include:
- UEFA Best European Goalkeeper (4 times)
- IFFHS World’s Best Goalkeeper (3 times)
- German Footballer of the Year (2 times)
- UEFA Club Football Awards Best Goalkeeper
- Inducted into the Bayern Munich Hall of Fame
Personal Life – Family, Wife and Kids
Oliver Kahn married Simone Kahn (nee Lemke) in 2003 after dating for over 7 years. The couple have two children – their son Nicolas was born in 1997 while daughter Kira was born in 2005.
Kahn has been an entrepreneur since retirement with his goalkeeping academy and other business ventures. He obtained coaching licenses and also studied management.
In 2019, Kahn joined the executive board of Bayern Munich after being appointed as a board member. He is set to replace Karl-Heinz Rummenigge as the club’s CEO in 2022.
Achievements and Legacy
With his individual brilliance, longevity at the top and trophy laden career, Oliver Kahn is considered one of the greatest goalkeepers of all time. Some of his major accomplishments include:
- Most clean sheets in Bundesliga history (197)
- UEFA Champions League winner (2001)
- Intercontinental Cup winner (2001)
- UEFA European Championship winner (1996)
- FIFA World Cup runner-up (2002) – Silver Ball and Lev Yashin Award
- 8 time Bundesliga champion
- 4 time recipient of UEFA Best European Goalkeeper award
Kahn revolutionized goalkeeping with his aggressive “sweeper-keeper” style, speed, reactions and flexibility. He was also highly respected for his leadership, organizational skills and composure under pressure in big games.
Due to his success and longevity at Bayern Munich, Kahn is regarded as one of the greatest players in the club’s history. Statues of him are erected outside the Allianz Arena.
He is also considered one of Germany’s greatest keepers alongside Sepp Maier. For his impact, Kahn was inducted into the Bayern Munich Hall of Fame in 2008.
FAQs about Oliver Kahn
Here are some commonly asked questions about Oliver Kahn:
Why was Oliver Kahn nicknamed “Der Titan”?
Kahn was nicknamed “Der Titan” which means “The Titan” in German due to his imposing physique, resilience, commanding presence and aggressive style of goalkeeping.
How many career trophies did Kahn win?
Oliver Kahn won 30 major career titles in total. This includes 8 Bundesliga titles, 6 DFB-Pokals, 1 UEFA Champions League, 1 UEFA Cup, 1 Intercontinental Cup and 1 UEFA European Championship.
For which team did Kahn play the most matches?
Kahn made 632 appearances during his 14 seasons with Bayern Munich. This remains by far the most matches he played for a single club during his career.
What was unique about Kahn’s goalkeeping style?
Kahn pioneered a modern “sweeper-keeper” style by rushing out of goal to anticipate opponents, foul strikers if necessary and start counter attacks with his distribution. He also became known for his reflexes and shot stopping abilities.