- Category : Sports-Soccer
- Type : MGE
- Profile : 4/6 - Opportunistic / Role Model
- Definition : Single
- Incarnation Cross : RAX The Four Ways 1
Oliver Bierhoff (born 1 May 1968) is a retired German former football striker, who scored the first golden goal in the history of major international football, for Germany in the Euro 96 final. A tall, strong and prolific goalscorer, he was mostly renowned for his excellent abilities in the air, and as a target man, being able to deliver pin-point headers towards goal.
The son of a German utility magnate, Bierhoff played for nine different clubs, in four different leagues. He scored a total of 103 goals in Serie A, one of the highest totals for a non-Italian in the league's history. In the 1997–98 season, he was the Serie A top scorer with 27 goals for Udinese.
Bierhoff, however, was never a success in the Bundesliga. After failing to shine in Germany, he got his chance in the Austrian Bundesliga. That gave him the chance at Ascoli in Italy. But it was at Udinese, under Alberto Zaccheroni, that Bierhoff found success and won his place in fame and in the German national team. He then transferred to Milan in 1998, winning the Serie A title in his first season there. After three seasons there, he moved to French Ligue 1 side Monaco in 2001 for one year, before moving back to Serie A to play for Chievo Verona, where he retired at the end of the 2002–03 season. In his last ever game, he scored a hat-trick for Chievo Verona in a 3–4 defeat to Juventus.
Bierhoff made his debut for the German national team in a friendly against Portugal on 21 February 1996. In his second appearance on 27 March 1996, he managed to score his first two international goals in his country's 2–0 win over Denmark. Altogether Bierhoff scored 37 goals in 70 caps, including both goals in the 2–1 win over the Czech Republic in the Euro 1996 final after having come on as a substitute.
In an important qualification match on 20 August 1997, Germany trailed Northern Ireland, 0–1, with 20 minutes left when the manager of the national team, Berti Vogts, decided to send in Thomas Häßler and Oliver Bierhoff. Within seven minutes the former provided the latter with three assists, meaning Bierhoff had scored the fastest hat-trick in the history of the German national team.
In 1998, he was appointed captain of the national team after the retirement of Jürgen Klinsmann.
Bierhoff also played in Euro 2000, and both the 1998 and 2002 FIFA World Cups. He made his last appearance for his country when he was brought on during the second half of the 2002 FIFA World Cup Final against Brazil, but was unable to help the Germans score in the 0–2 loss.
Bierhoff's current involvement with football is as the manager of the German men's national team, a new position created as part of Jürgen Klinsmann's acceptance of the coaching job. Essentially the duties revolve around the public relations aspect of the team as opposed to the coaching responsibilities.
Bierhoff married Klara Szalantzy, a model from Munich and a former girlfriend of basketball player Dražen Petrović, on 22 June 2001. She was behind the wheel in the fatal car crash that claimed Petrović's life. She gave birth to their daughter on 27 January 2007.