Olaf Thon (born 1 May 1966) is a German retired footballer and a current coach.
|Full name||Olaf Thon|
|Date of birth||1 May 1966|
|Place of birth||Gelsenkirchen, West Germany|
|Height||1.70 m (5 ft 7 in)|
|Playing position||Midfielder, Defender|
|1983–1984||West Germany U18||10||(4)|
|1984–1985||West Germany U21||3||(2)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only|
Mainly a central midfielder, his 19-year professional career was solely associated to Schalke 04 and Bayern Munich, having amassed more than 500 official games and 100 goals for both combined. Nicknamed The Professor, he also collected more than 50 caps for the German national team. Later in his career he played as a sweeper.
Thon made his professional debuts at the age of only 17, with local powerhouse FC Schalke 04. His impact was immediate, as he scored 14 goals in 38 games to help the Gelsenkirchen side return to the Bundesliga in 1984, as runners-up. Also during that season, he scored a hat-trick against Bayern Munich in the DFB-Pokal, in a 6–6 home thriller in the semi-final stage; the Bavarians eventually won the replay and the tournament.
On 24 August 1984, Thon made his first appearance in the German top level, a 1–3 loss at Borussia Mönchengladbach. During that and the following three seasons, he only scored once in single digits, rarely missing a match for the team.
In the summer of 1988, Thon signed with national giants FC Bayern Munich, as a replacement for F.C. Internazionale Milano-bound Lothar Matthäus. He scored eight in 32 games in his first season, helping the side to the league conquest, which also befell the following year, with the player posting an equal scoring record.
Thon returned to his first club Schalke in 1994, at the age of 28, after winning another league title, although he spent most of the season injured and Matthäus had already returned to Bayern. During his second spell, he played almost exclusively as a sweeper and, in his third year, played in a total of 46 official games, helping his club to the season's UEFA Cup final, where he scored his attempt in the penalty shootout win against Inter (1–1 on aggregate); Schalke could only finish 12th in the domestic league, however.
In his later years, Thon suffered extensively with injuries, only appearing in nine matches in his last two seasons combined. He retired in June 2002 at the age of 36, with Bundesliga totals of 443 games and 82 goals. Subsequently, he worked as marketing manager for the club, until August 2009.
Subsequently, he was selected for the squads at three FIFA World Cups, helping the nation win the tournament in the 1990 edition in Italy: after only six minutes against Colombia in the group stage (1–1), he played the entire semifinal against England, also scoring in his penalty shootout attempt (1–1 after 120 minutes).
Thon also represented Germany at the UEFA Euro 1988 played on home soil, scoring through a rare header against Denmark (2–0 group stage win), and playing all the matches and minutes for the eventual semifinalists. Due to either injuries or run-ins with national team manager Berti Vogts, the player missed the 1994 World Cup and the Euro 1992 and 1996 tournaments, ending his 14-year international career with 52 caps (three goals). His last international match came against Iran in Germany's last group stage game during the 1998 FIFA World Cup.
- Thon, a German great; FIFA.com
- "Nachgefragt bei Olaf Thon" (in German). Reviersport. 17 December 2009. Retrieved 1 February 2010.
- "Thon wird Trainer in Hüls" [Thon to become Hüls manager] (in German). Kicker. 1 February 2010. Retrieved 1 February 2010.
- "Thon übernimmt in Hüls – Weltmeister von 1990 folgt auf "Boxer" Täuber" [Thon takes over at Hüls – 1990 World Champion succeeds "Boxer" Täuber] (in German). Reviersport. 1 February 2010. Retrieved 1 February 2010.
- "Thon trainiert Fünftligisten" [Thon coaches fifth-tier club] (in German). Die Welt. 3 April 2010. Retrieved 3 April 2010.