He played for the West Germany national team, earning seven caps. Eckstein was a participant at the EURO 1988.
Clubtalk em spezial mit dieter eckstein
On 1 July 2011, while playing in a charity match for amateur side VfR Regensburg, Eckstein had a heart failure and fell into a coma. He was transferred to the University hospital at Regensburg, where his situation was stabilised. The incident is thought to not have caused any permanent damage to his body.