Is medical research in Germany represented at an internationally competitive or exceptional level? In which specialty fields is such research being conducted? Are the achievements in German research improving further or in decline? Statements on the performance level of German research alternate from the opinion that the achievements of German researchers are declining to reports on international scientific advances. This is often due to the differing criteria with which research performance is assessed. The evaluation of scientific achievement based on publications, so-called bibliometry, has recently become a respected method, also in Germany. In order to assess the position of German medical research in an international framework, bibliometric methods were used systematically for the first time in the present study. All publications which appeared in internationally peer-reviewed periodicals in all medical and related fields served as the basis for the study. Using the bibliometric analysis, the above-mentioned questions and others can be answered. These results, which are supplemented by a comparative analysis of the German medical faculties and essential non-university institutions in health research, are a valuable basis for further discussion on the achievements of German medical research.