Helmer in 2010
|Date of birth||21 April 1965|
|Place of birth||Herford, West Germany|
|Height||1.85 m (6 ft 1 in)|
|Playing position(s)||Centre-back, Defensive midfielder|
|–1984||SC Bad Salzuflen|
|1999||→ Hertha BSC (loan)||5||(1)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only|
Born in Herford, West Germany, Helmer began his professional career with Arminia Bielefeld, playing four games late in 1984–85, in a season that ended in relegation. In the following season, he netted five goals in 35 second division matches, prompting interest from Borussia Dortmund, which signed him in 1986. A key element from the start, Helmer also scored 16 goals during his six-season stint.
In 1992, he joined FC Bayern Munich in controversial circumstances. Dortmund did not wish to sell Helmer, one of its best players, to a rival Bundesliga team, and sent him to France's Olympique Lyonnais instead. However, only three months later, Lyon sold Helmer to Bayern Munich for 7.5 million marks, at the time a record transfer fee paid by the Bavarian club. The resultant furore became so heated that German national side coach Berti Vogts threatened to drop Helmer from the UEFA Euro 92 squad because of the distraction the affair was causing.
Helmer was also an integral part (scoring seven goals in his debut season) and, eventually, captain of an ascendant Bayern Munich team of the late-1990s, winning three league titles, one cup and three League cups), adding the 1995–96 UEFA Cup, where he scored once (against FC Girondins de Bordeaux in the final's first leg) in 12 games. Defensively, the team would also include, during Helmer's stay, internationals Olaf Thon, Lothar Matthäus and Markus Babbel.
Upon leaving Bayern in 1999, Helmer opted to move to the Premier League. He was offered a contract by Liverpool, but chose instead to join newly promoted Sunderland on a free transfer. Sunderland manager Peter Reid hardly used him, however, making just two league appearances against Leeds United and Arsenal and he returned to Germany on loan with Hertha BSC. Although he had appeared in the UEFA Champions League for Hertha, upon his return to Sunderland, Reid judged that "his legs had gone", and the club bought-out his contract, with the player retiring immediately afterwards.
Helmer made his full international debut for Germany on 10 October 1990, a 3–1 win in a friendly match with Sweden in Stockholm. He enjoyed great success in the UEFA European Football Championships, starting in consecutive finals. In 1992, Germany lost surprisingly to Denmark, which had been called at the last hour, but four years later went one better, defeating the Czech Republic in extra-time at Wembley.
Helmer also appeared in two FIFA World Cups, bowing out of international football in the second round clash of the 1998 edition against Mexico, when he was replaced before half-time by Christian Ziege. He was known for tripping Josip Weber during the 1994 world cup in the penalty area but Kurt Röthlisberger, the referee, did not make a call.
|1.||21 June 1995||Letzigrund, Zürich||Italy||1–0||2–0||Friendly|
|2.||8 October 1995||Ulrich-Haberland-Stadion, Leverkusen||Moldova||2–0||6–1||Euro 1996 qualifier|
|3.||11 October 1997||AWD-Arena, Hanover||Albania||1–1||4–3||1998 World Cup qualifier|
|4.||22 February 1998||King Fahd International Stadium, Riyadh||Saudi Arabia||2–0||3–0||Friendly|
|5.||5 June 1998||Carl-Benz-Stadion, Mannheim||Luxembourg||3–0||7–0||Friendly|
After retiring, Helmer worked as a sports journalist and television presenter with DSF. Additionally, he served as Germany's ambassador to children's charity "FIFA for SOS Children's Villages", first undertaking it in 1997.
| Bayern Munich captain