Nicknamed as the Das Kopfball Ungeheuer (the Header Beast), Hrubesch was the typical late bloomer having risen to prominence only at the age of 28. Hrubesch was known for his symbolic relationship with fellow HSV player Manfred Kaltz, a right wing back whose crosses Hrubesch often headed into the goal. Das Ungeheuer was known for his heading skills having scored 81 goals of his 136 in the Bundesliga using his head. Hrusbesch had a tall frame and possessed a good leap, he timed his jumps well and became extremely dangerous in the aerial game.
Only called up to the national squad because of an injury to fellow striker Klaus Fischer, Hrubesch became the "unlikely hero" as his two goals in the final helped the much fancied West German team lift the trophy for a second time in the reinvented Euro 1980 in Italy. A revitalised West German team lead by Karl Heinz Rummenigge, young starlet Bernd Schuster and the efficient Hansi Muller; the Germans were firm favourites for the tournament. They got through the group stage beating Czechoslovakia, Netherlands and drawing with Greece to reach the final.
Hrubesch was doubtful to start in the final because he hadn`t scored a single goal throughout the group stage but the national coach, Jupp Derwall kept his faith in the tall centre forward and started with Hrubesch leading the line. Derwall`s faith was quickly repaid as a delightful chip by Bernd Schuster found the hefty Hrusbesh running through the middle. Considered good in the air and nowhere else, Ungeheuer revised a few options before firing a low shot to put the Germans in the lead just after 10 minutes. However, the Netherlands equalised when Van der Elst was sent clear and Uli Stielike seemed to trip him around the edge of the penalty area, he fell inside the box, and the referee gave a penalty, converted by Vandereycken. The Germans were looking to avoid extra time and pushed forward for a winner and they were duly rewarded when Karl Heinz Rummenigge`s corner was headed in by Das Kopfball Ungeheuer at the near post to give Germans the lead with barely any time left on the clock. Horst Hrubesch scored his first two international goals in the 1980 Euro final and led Germany to their second title.
Hrubesch played in the lower levels of the German League until he was 24. However a successful stint with Rot-Weiss Essen caught the attention of Hamburger SV who snapped him up. It was with Hamburger SV that he enjoyed a successful career as he went onto win the Bundesliga thrice, Champions League once, the 1980 Euro and was the top scorer of the Bundesliga in 1981-82 season. He finished runners up at the 1982 FIFA World Cup with the national team.
After his successful playing career, Hrubesch became a trainer at various clubs across Germany and Europe. However, his coaching exploits didn`t match up to his playing exploits. In 2000, he joined the German Football Association`s Youth Setup as a coach. In June 2009, he guided Germany to the U-21 European Championships defeating England 4-0 in the final. In November 2009, he was reassigned to work as U-19 coach for the DFB and since then has been working there.