The first German footballer to move to Spain when La Liga opened its borders to foreign players again in 1973 was the virtually unknown Franz Hiller, a Munich 1880 midfielder who signed for little Elche.
Many of his compatriots who followed were of a much higher profile; indeed just a couple of weeks later Real Madrid proudly announced the arrival of international midfielder Günter Netzer from Mönchengladbach.
Whilst Barcelona have always been known for their dalliances with Dutchmen, it’s Real Madrid who have had a greater Germanic influence than any other Spanish club over the years – thus many of the players feature in this gallery of a best-ever La Liga German Eleven made their name at the Bernabéu.
Marc-André ter Stegen – Barcelona (2014-present)
Arrived in 2014 and was Barcelona’s first-choice 'keeper for the successful Copa del Rey and Champions League campaigns in his debut season. Now firmly established as the club’s No.1. Image Source: Twitter
Skhodran Mustafi – Valencia (2014-16)
Signed from Sampdoria in 2014, this powerful and athletic central defender emerged as a reliable stopper in a struggling team before making an expensive move to England. Image Source: Twitter
Real Madrid (2007-10)
This former Dortmund central defender arrived in Madrid on a free-transfer and was an irregular starter over the next few seasons because of injury and ever-changing personnel around him. Image Source: Twitter
Paul Breitner – Real Madrid (1974-77)
One of the very best left-backs in the world during the 1970s despite being right footed, Breitner also doubled up as one of the very best midfielders too. Played much of his time in Madrid in the middle but we’re positioning him as a left-sided defender in our team. Image Source: Twitter
Uli Stielike – Real Madrid (1977-85)
Our second-longest serving player in this team and a hugely influential leader for Madrid as a deep-lying midfield general who could both defend and attack to the very highest standards. Image Source: Twitter
Bernd Schuster – Barcelona, Real Madrid, Atlético Madrid (1980-93)
A creative midfield maverick who unusually played for all three of Spain’s big clubs. A gifted passer and playmaker with a volcanic temper, Schuster brought talent and tension to midfields in equal measure. Image Source: Twitter
Günter Netzer – Real Madrid 1973-76
An exceptional passer and midfield creator, Netzer struggled in his debut season at Madrid before showing his true capabilities when compatriot Paul Breitner joined him in midfield. Image Source: Twitter
Toni Kroos – Real Madrid (2014-present)
Few players epitomise cool and calm effectiveness in midfield in the way Toni Kroos has during his three seasons in Madrid. His unerring passing and game awareness have been instrumental in Real’s two Champions League wins during his time in Spain. Image Source: Twitter
Rainer Bonhof – Valencia (1978-80)
A powerful and forceful attacking midfielder who was both an astute passer and an explosive presence with his ferocious long-range shooting which opposing keepers feared. Bonhof spent two successful seasons with Valencia and played a major role in the club’s Copa del Rey and Cup Winners Cup successes of 1979 and 1980. Image Source: Twitter
Wolfram Wuttke – Español (1990-92)
The lowest profile member of this team who makes the cut because he could play as a withdrawn attacker or number ten. A member of West Germany’s Euro ’88 and Olympic squads, Wuttke moved to Spain two years later and brought some of his spikey personality to Español. Image Source: Twitter
Mesut Özil – Real Madrid (2010-14)
Selected here as a false nine in our team simply through an absence of any great German forwards to have starred in Spain, Özil brought consistent passing and numerous assists for teammates during his four seasons with Real Madrid. Image Source: Twitter
SEE ALSO: Pelé to Inter; Beckenbauer to Milan: the forbidden 1960s transfers
With such a high number of brilliant midfielders all jockeying for inclusion, our fantasy team would line up in a 3-5-1-1 formation.