|Date of birth||13 June 1937|
|Place of birth||Wuppertal, Germany|
|Height||1.84 m (6 ft 0 in)|
|SSV 1904 Wuppertal|
|1959–1962||SSV 1904 Wuppertal|
|1965–1967||Borussia Mönchengladbach (assistant)|
|1973–1978||1. FC Kaiserslautern|
|1978–1984||West Germany (assistant)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only|
As a player, Ribbeck had a career spanning most of the 1950s into the early 1960s with SSV 1904 Wuppertal, which has since merged with TSG Vohwinkel to form Wuppertaler SV. He later spent the rest of his career playing for Viktoria Köln. The highest level Ribbeck played was the Oberliga, part of the first tier of Germany which was then split into five regional divisions.
His very first coaching position he held at the age of 30 in 1967–68, when he took Rot-Weiss Essen to the second place in the western division of Germany's Level 2 league and thus to the promotion tournament, where the club ended up losing out against Hertha Berlin.
The next ten years he shared evenly with engagements with Eintracht Frankfurt and 1. FC Kaiserslautern. In the Bundesliga these clubs remained on mediocre levels during his tenure. With Kaiserlautern he reached the German Cup final of 1976, losing 0–2 to Hamburger SV.
He was also runner-up in the German Championship of 1993 with Bayern Munich.
Erich Ribbeck was originally considered as a candidate for the national team manager role after the resignation of Helmut Schön in 1978. Instead, Jupp Derwall was selected and it was not until 20 years later on 9 September 1998 that Ribbeck emerged from retirement in the Canary Islands to take over the German national team when other candidates had declined. At 61, he was the oldest appointee to the job.
Ribbeck's two-year tenure marked the worst period in the modern history of Germany's national side. Ribbeck resigned on 21 June 2000 after a string of disappointing results culminating in a group stage exit from Euro 2000. During that tournament Ribbeck had rejected calls from Oliver Bierhoff, Oliver Kahn, Jens Nowotny and Mehmet Scholl to drop aging sweeper Lothar Matthäus. Ribbeck had insisted that Matthäus would earn his 150th cap, while threatening any rebellious Nationalmannschaft members with a fine or exclusion from the squad.
His results as Germany's coach were ten wins, six draws, and eight losses, the worst managerial performance of all time for a coach of the Germany national team.
|Rot-Weiss Essen||1 July 1967||30 June 1968||42||25||11||6||59.52|
|Eintracht Frankfurt||1 July 1968||30 June 1973||203||83||41||79||40.89|||
|1. FC Kaiserslautern||1 July 1973||30 June 1978||192||85||32||75||44.27|||
|Borussia Dortmund||28 October 1984||30 June 1985||25||10||4||11||40.00|||
|Bayer Leverkusen||1 July 1985||30 June 1988||125||53||36||36||42.40|||
|Bayern Munich||12 March 1992||27 December 1993||75||37||22||16||49.33|||
|Bayer Leverkusen||10 April 1995||28 April 1996||48||17||18||13||35.42|||
|Germany||9 September 1998||21 June 2000||24||10||6||8||41.67|||