This section will examine a few football matches from the past that deserve the label “dubious” for a variety of reasons. There are a variety of circumstances which place them in this kind of twilight. This is not to be taken with excessive seriousness. You might remember some of them, some you might not have come across before. In some cases, the approach is only differentiated – and thus divergent — in comparison to previously held or common views about them.
The speculations made are kept very cautious as far as possible, since in most cases no clear evidence can be presented. The argumentation is kept intuitive, but in this way the behavioural patterns are made comprehensible. One can only make up one’s own mind, and perhaps one will find out at some point, precisely through this “uncovering”, what those involved say about it, what they say, how they remember it. Some incidents are certainly just for smiling, others are quite serious and may have triggered tragedies in other places. In some cases, responsibility is even taken away from the protagonists – i.e. no accusation is made — so that some much-cited examples can possibly be put in a different light, here and there an exculpatory argument is given to the “perpetrators”.
There are perhaps a few long-forgotten games among them, but there are also a few that are still discussed today, cited again and again as “classics”. In the case of some of them, it is surprising that the public “never cared”; in the case of others, the differentiated discussion may make it possible to set the record straight.
Neither the importance of the games nor the “seriousness of the offences considered”, but just as little the chronology, should be responsible for the sorting. It should simply result in a colourful, preferably entertaining mixture.
1) Bayern Munich – SSV Ulm, Regional League South 1963/64
In this respect, a rather amusing example is to be given here, which was taken from a booklet published in the 1960s about Bayern Munich, but which, strangely enough, was never quoted later or mentioned by those involved. In this respect, it is questionable whether it actually took place in this way or is simply a pretty anecdote? Here is the story:
Bayern had been denied a place in the elite division, i.e. among the then top 16 clubs in Germany, when the single-tier 1st Bundesliga was introduced for the 1963/64 season. Of course, they were already a good address at that time, but probably not good enough for those responsible, however, the criteria for inclusion remained at least “controversial” from many sides.
So the Bavarians logically wanted to be promoted at all costs in the following season. To achieve this, they had to finish first or second in the then Regionalliga Süd, the “amateur” lower division of the Bundesliga. Promotion was determined in subsequent group matches between two teams from each of the five regional leagues: North, South, West, Southwest and Berlin. These were divided into two groups of five teams each and played in an everyone-versus-everyone mode with first and second legs, which promised the lucrative first division as a reward for the two winners of the groups.
Now the officials certainly gave some thought to how the two promotion groups should be divided, but possibly not the right thought in the sense of avoiding minor influence. In any case, it was decided in advance that, among other things, the southern champion and the western champion would battle it out for the gold nugget in the same group. West champion, that was either certain or virtually inevitable, would be Alemannia Aachen. The West League was considered the strongest anyway – that was pretty much undisputed in subsequent years as well – but the Bavarians also wanted to avoid this of all top favourites at all costs.
Luck of the draw, the opportunity was there. There was only the tiny hurdle of not approaching a football match with the very last commitment and verve and thus perhaps, if possible, not getting the maximum points in the match, to then tragically miss out on the title of “Regionalliga Süd Meister 1964” – but from then on, thanks to the supposedly easier promotion group thus achieved — and the hoped-for finish on the winners’ podium — to replace the hunt for that title with that for the German championship title in the elite division for the foreseeable future.
According to legend, large parts of the team agreed that such a course of action would be advisable and that they could generously leave the points to their opponents, SSV Ulm. Such names as Franz Beckenbauer, Sepp Maier, “Katsche” Schwarzenbeck were already in the line-up and “insiders”, so to speak. Coach “Tschick” Cajkowski only had the tiny problem of having to replace the regular centre forward on match day. A completely untalented, rather thick-legged 18-year-old was available as a substitute, who would presumably hardly get in the way of the plans and therefore did not even have to be informed. His name was Gerd Müller, who in those days was nicknamed “Knubbel” by his team-mates, while the coach, in a certain ignorance of German grammar rules and the pronunciation of umlauts, disrespectfully called him “kleines dickes Muller”.
“Kleines dickes Muller” was thus set up and he didn’t give a damn about team tactics. Besides, one can speculate vividly at this point: Could a Muller miss at all? He scored goal after goal. Whether his team-mates had to play him is not known. So while Müller scored plenty at the front, Sepp Maier had much more success chasing flies in his own box than he did with the “pill”, which he declared to be a secondary object and which he had to retrieve from his own net a total of seven times, together with the flies caught in his gloves. The Müller – Maier duel ended 6:7, Maier having successfully ironed out.
Bayern had now become a tragic runner-up, but in return had both avoided Alemannia Aachen and already made the first toe of a soon-to-be-erected statue of a legend. Aachen, too, were grateful not to have to face Bayern. They didn’t stand in each other’s way one bit in their promotion efforts either. Both made it. The Bavarians in 1965 and Alemannia Aachen in 1968, but that year, 1964, Hannover 96 and Borussia Neunkirchen prevailed.
What is the English saying? Crime dont pay? Crime doesn’t pay?
2) BRD – DDR, WM 1974
Now, what of all things has this game lost here? Well, you may read, remember, research and – think.
When the match was played, the Cold War had reached its climax…! The two states had “nothing to do with each other”, except that their inhabitants spoke at least a fairly similar language. Otherwise, they avoided each other, and even more than that, they avoided sporting confrontations. It only happened when it was unavoidable. The eastern part of the country attached great importance to assuming a kind of supremacy at major events. Medal table: GDR far ahead. “Over there”, as it was called, the participants admitted to the Olympics had the perhaps unique chance to travel the western world. That was motivating, wasn’t it? Nevertheless, sporting comparisons beyond these “compulsory events” were rare or completely out of the question.
The football nations thus had to and did play only this single match against each other. A “special explosiveness”, which was attributed to the game at that time, could not actually be found — on closer inspection — in the kind of media spread that has been made out to this day. This was due to the special conditions for this game, especially the sporting ones.
For the German footballers, there was one declared goal: to become football world champions. In contrast to track and field athletes – just to make this clear – the footballers were professionals in the FRG, insofar as they were “on a par” or even (clearly) ahead due to tradition and the difference in size (FRG > GDR).
In general, the organisers always have to live with a somewhat higher pressure, a higher expectation, but at the same time they have a certain home advantage. Behaviour was subordinate to this goal – world champions. Of course, the FRG, as world champions in 1954, finalists in 1966, third in the 1970 World Cup and additionally as organisers of the 1974 World Cup, was widely regarded as a co-favourite, if not “the great favourite”. The GDR, on the other hand, was a blank slate. Success at the Olympics, through good selection, training, “professionalism”, that went well. In football, the differences to the big nations, even with perfect training (as was common in the “marginal sports” in the GDR), were not so easy to bridge. Both aspects taken together, it was certainly a very special goal of the GDR in all disciplines to annoy the class enemy, to defeat it wherever possible, this time also gladly in football, without speculating about possible “detrimental consequences”.
For this form of “annoyance”, however, the occasion was conceivably badly chosen. The conditions were such:
It was the last match of the group stage, The first group stage, mind you. Both had already advanced one round before the match. It was “only” about second place, well, whoever wanted to, also about first place.
At the end of the preliminary round, there were two final rounds with four teams each, i.e. a second group phase. The winner of the German group was rewarded with a few real highlights, a few gigantic duels, highly attractive pairings, where one only had to make a few minor concessions in the chances of winning, while the loser received a few completely unattractive opponents, who in their own way, however, contributed to increasing the chances of successfully surviving these games.
The winner faced matches against Holland, Brazil and Argentina. And there really is a lot to learn. To progress? Oh well.
On the other hand, the (more or less) sad losers in the final group then reached had to deal with the “thankless tasks” of Sweden, Yugoslavia and Poland.
So as much as the standard reporter phrases are despised, in this case one has to use a few of them: The astonishment triggered should have been rather slight under the circumstances when the German defence actually gave Mr Sparwasser the “friendly escort” so often used as an expression, but so rarely applicable, in the 79th minute. The fact that goalkeeper Sepp Maier then, as usual, caught the fly in the corner of his eye (yes, the cat from Anzing, who doesn’t remember?) as he did against Ulm once before, which seemed much more worthwhile to chase, but not the ball, so that it finally landed in the net, caused an outburst of despair (did it escape him, the fly?), but one could possibly assume that he only threw himself to the ground to stifle his laughter. Because: a draw would simply not have been enough for the FRG. For second place, mind you.
It can be assumed that the entire German team had also trained really intensively before the match. And that was acting. Sepp Maier did it his way, the others made a collective effort to suppress the grin that was so appropriate, with the somewhat less gifted actors practising the “looking down furtively” version. But this, look at the pictures, only for the sufficiently attentive, with moderate success. Acting training, even extended to three days, does not make a good actor.
No, that was actually too clear: Brazil and Argentina were perhaps not really outstanding this year, especially as the South Americans had rarely excelled at World Cups on European territory until then. Nevertheless, there was every reason to be prepared for an improvement in their performance, since Brazil was the defending champion and “the great football nation”. Nevertheless, it would have been enough to avoid the Dutch, who, thanks to Cruyff, were absolutely outstanding in the 74 and 78 finals, to “justify” a defeat against the GDR. The fact that in this case it was even possible to avoid all three heavyweights and throw the GDR under the bus with only a nice invitation card, accepted with thanks but not naively, is far more than just a weak indication.
At this point, just think for a moment how this game would have gone if both had had an identical goal, namely that of the “sober chance calculators”? Both want to lose, not win? That would probably be an almost unique example in history. Well, just a thought experiment. The GDR certainly didn’t have so many chance considerations in mind. This chance was unique and could be used, unnoticed by the public, to build up their own heroic saga of having defeated the class enemy in the only official match, and that at a World Cup. Either way, they had no ambitions for the world championship title.
Both nations were successful with their “strategy”. The GDR learned a lot and scored few points, the FRG, after the great victory against Sweden with 4:2, also defeated Yugoslavia, in the final and long legendary rain battle of Frankfurt also the only competitive Poland thanks to Gerd Müller’s late penalty kick – and this way into the goal was probably the only possible one that day, although it must be mentioned that a draw would have been enough for the FRG – and became world champions. The fact that everyone (except the Germans themselves, as usual) saw which team was the better one in the final (the Netherlands, not Holland; apropos “politically correct”, GDR and not BILD German “DDR”) does not detract from the matter. After all, the Netherlands had almost set a monument for themselves by eliminating the Brazilians AND the Argentinians. Johann Cruyff and his troop were denied the crowning glory, as one may say “unfortunately”, which also applied to 78, when they once again had to deal with the host and a possibly slightly biased referee (as in Germany; the question of the justification of the penalty kicks is answered here in a slightly biased way in the sense of justice: the first: Yes! The second: No!). had to struggle unsuccessfully. Cruyff the best – without ever taking the crown.
What only seems so improbable to this day: why has this argument NEVER been made? It is simply kept quiet. Again and again, scenes of it are shown, flashbacks, players are interviewed who were there at the time and even today, when you hear Franz Beckenbauer talk about it, you get the impression that he knows a bit more than the questioner. But at least it could be noted that the German footballers, even if they are not to be accused of anything (by the questioner at that moment), whether they were not, after they had dried the first tears of the tragic defeat against the unloved neighbour, “not even as horrified” as it is supposed to be portrayed until today when looking at the upcoming pairings? Just this one question?
3) Argentina – Peru, World Cup 1978
Even though this match has already been discussed many times, it should be mentioned here for a specific reason. It didn’t cause much of a stir, maybe in South America, but not really worldwide. Lessons could have been learned to avert a later (home-made) “scandal”.
The situation and the rules were as follows: At the 78 World Cup, there were still two final groups after the preliminary round, as at the 74 World Cup in Germany. In those years, the best 8 teams did not play in knock-out matches but in two groups of four. The two winners of these groups played in the final. This was an unpleasant arrangement, which was less attractive from a sporting point of view, not only because of the “problem cases” listed here, which were in themselves avoidable, perhaps even easily foreseeable. In terms of the course of the games, they were more tactical than the direct elimination games, the so-called “knock-out games”, which soon replaced this regulation. In terms of justice … well, you see.
On the last matchday, the situation was this: The explosive match between Brazil and Argentina had ended 0-0, at the start of this group stage. Both top favourites had clearly won their subsequent games against Poland and Peru respectively. However it had come about, the rule that final round matches must ALWAYS be played simultaneously had not yet been introduced, had fallen victim to commercialism, had been forgotten by officials, the issue ignored, or even, in this case almost conceivably, the pre-arranged sequence of matches had fallen in favour of the host nation?! Well, a little malicious, but somehow also conceivable?
In any case, it was somewhat foreseeable – one could thus interpret it as “planned” – that Argentina would be the group winner in the preliminary round group A and thus, if this goal was achieved, would get the special right of the last match of the subsequent final round.
The fact is that Brazil had to play Poland first. Despite an easy victory that gave them a goal difference of 6:1 goals with 5:1 points, they now had to witness the following drama in front of the TV screen in the evening:
Argentina had scored 0:0 against Brazil and a 2:0 against Poland, i.e. 2:0 goals. A 4:0, as can easily be calculated, would be enough, as would any other victory with a difference of four or more goals. Since Peru played for nothing due to the other group results, the field was ordered. The result was somehow preordained. The game ended with a 6:0 score for Argentina.
The Peruvians presumably “gave” them the last two goals so that, with a measured result of 4:0, it wouldn’t look even more like cheating. In any case, this game was a farce.
Just put yourself in the shoes of a Brazilian player (or a Brazil supporter) for a moment during this last game. You see goal after goal and are helplessly at their mercy. For it is precisely this circumstance that is the most worrying. Just think how much this injustice cries out to heaven! Even if Argentina had simply run hot and Peru had fought back to the best of their ability but without success – of course, this is quite conceivable and cannot be ruled out – then, even then, one would have to grant the Brazilians the right to react to this flood of goals? “What, Argentina is leading 5-0? Let’s do it. Men, we need another goal or two.” So they delivered their result in ignorance of what followed, in ignorance of how many goals they would need. They might have been able to score more, if only they had known, during their own game!
The Argentina-Peru game is remarkable, this scandal, actually because of its consequences, which made the subsequent wider, but much more noticed scandal possible in the first place.
4) Germany – Austria, World Cup 1982
The effects of this (rule) negligence became apparent 4 years later. While Argentina, as hosts in 1978, had only cheering people around them after the 6-0 win and the world simply “swallowed” the game in view of the Peruvians’ acknowledged inferiority — while Brazil, for lack of a lobby in the world federation, merely swallowed hard several times and, thanks to their perceived superiority, simply told themselves that they would just win the next title — the “scandalous game” Germany – Austria took place in Spain at the World Cup 82. The famous “non-aggression pact” – and that too with the score at 1:0: shame on them! — went down in the history books and is brought up again and again. Nevertheless, a few words should be added here to shed light on the behaviour shown from a different angle.
The real scandal was the failure to react to the incidents in Argentina. Those responsible at FIFA clearly put commerce before justice. The fact that such an incident can happen once in a while, that one cannot foresee all eventualities when writing a rule, can just about be understood, accepted, perhaps tolerated. However, it is very difficult to accept that the rules are not changed immediately after an obviously unjust, one-off occurrence.
In this respect, the FIFA officials have to be blamed, at least in a rather grey way. This could have been prevented, no, it should have been prevented. Although it was the second group phase in Argentina and the first in Spain, the games of the final rounds should have been scheduled at the same time under all circumstances after the ’78 “scandal” – as was also customary in the following, finally realising this.
In addition (and/or inferring from this), however, the behaviour of the players on the pitch, which has been denounced many times and worldwide, should be looked at a little more closely.
The situation before this famous match: The German team had lost to Algeria, 1-2. The Austrians had beaten Algeria, 2-0. Austria had also won against Chile, 1-0, and the Germans had also won against Chile, 4-1. Then came the last matchday, in the non-contemporaneous version that still exists.
The fact that the match between Algeria and Chile was played first may either be pure coincidence or reflect the typical luck of the Germans, if it was not a logical consequence of the usual seedings. It remains unfair, even if one would accept that seeded teams are given minor advantages at this or that point (it is already one per se, because by seeding the top nations, one avoids their meeting very early, which is supposed to help the tournament tension, but in any case always guarantees at least one heavyweight for the smaller ones).
Chile’s chances were only theoretical, but at least they were there. If they won this match, clearly and distinctly, then Austria would win against Germany. Then Austria would have 6:0 points and the other three teams would have 2:4 points, after which the goal difference would have decided. It would mean for Chile: win high and hope.
This theory became greyer and greyer in the course of the first half, just like the aforementioned Peter. Because Algeria scored three goals and led 3-0, which was their desired result. They would have been through uncatchable.
Then the only open question would have been: Germany or Austria.
Algeria conceded two goals in the second half – although even one would have been enough to make a “push” possible – the final result was 3:2 for Algeria. It was thus clear that a one-goal or two-goal victory by Germany over Austria would ensure progress for both. For the Algerians, it was wait, hope, pray. For/for a miracle. And then watch this game with the imaginable hopelessness they felt. Like Brazil four years earlier. Football can be really cruel…
Nevertheless, something should be said here about the accusation of “collusion”: The game started furiously and the Germans scored 1:0 after 12 minutes, Hrubesch with a header. With this result, the Germans were ahead. They saw no need to score another goal after that. Such are the laws of modern football. You have achieved your desired result, and from that point on, as practically every team in the world does, you let the opponent “come” and you wait for the counterattack. That’s normal, that’s football, that’s the game. You would be stupid if you were to rush forward with all your might in order to either force the 2:0 or — then concede a goal yourself on the counter-attack. Even the much-cited time play, which was frowned upon in the past, is now considered “quite normal”, at least these days. Especially with the one absolutely convincing reason: “The opponent would also do it if he were leading.” One has to accept it. The reverse gear is engaged. “Let them come quietly.”
That the Austrians, for their part, now realised after the 1:0 that they had likewise achieved a desired result, a result with which they would have gone further without danger — as mentioned, they would even have been allowed to concede the 0:2 — they too, following the laws of this game, began to “push the ball back and forth”. “Let them come, we’ve moved on.”
Both teams had achieved a desired result. And still very special attention should be drawn to the fact that such “disgraceful” behaviour could rather be taken as proof that nothing at all had been agreed upon. If something was agreed upon, then one would not behave so stupidly that everyone would immediately see it. The players simply did what they would always do when they have achieved a desired result: they start to take the tempo out, play ball security, strengthen the defence and let the opponent come. The fact that it “happened” to affect both teams in this result led to this unaesthetic game. The responsibility for this was brought home to those really responsible in the best possible way.
One could even speculate further that they were beginning to feel justified in giving FIFA this slap in the face, as they had absolutely no guilt to be aware of in this situation. “We’ll play as appropriate to the situation.” Said the Germans to themselves. “We play as the situation demands.” said the Austrians.
It should be remembered here that there have been games before – one is listed below, with Uerdingen against Gladbach — in which a draw was enough for both teams. Here, the ball pushing is much more accepted, even if it was occasionally only seen in the last 20 minutes (“We are satisfied. Do you still want?” “Nah, give it a rest. A draw is also a point.”). The spectators wouldn’t even whistle. Reason: The even score seems to justify going for the equaliser compared to the score of 1:0 that caused the outcry, where it is supposed to be mandatory to go for the equaliser, but which, as mentioned, would only be seen in this particular score, not in the tournament chances.
You can also contrast it with this situation: in the European Cup with a first leg and a second leg, one team is leading 1-0, but it is the visiting team that is leading, imagine, and the first leg was a 2-1 for the current home team. The home team would therefore be further ahead at this score on the basis of the away goals rule (one more scored). No spectator would complain if the home team now played a few back passes in the last minutes of the game or otherwise merely erected a defensive bulwark, only not to concede another.
Certainly there is a difference here, perhaps even an important one: the opposing team is the one suffering the score. For them, the 1-0 victory, as nice as it sounds, is not enough. They still need a goal, so the play of the home team – the reverse gear engaged – would be accepted anyway, but also torpedoed by the opponent. These two here are fighting for a sporting goal against each other. In Germany – Austria they also fought for the goal, only they were pulling in the same direction.
Nevertheless, it should be mentioned here that it can happen that one is behind and does not attack and thus in no way stands in the way of one’s own chances.
To sum up once again: The officials bear the main blame, insofar as they made such a constellation possible due to a defective set of rules and parallel greed for money, which can never be completely disregarded. This could have been foreseen on the basis of the experiences of 1978 – but also with common sense even before (and don’t say that there was no manipulation in 1978, the Bundesliga scandal was only seven years ago).
The behaviour of the players on the pitch seems very strange, especially since there was a winner in the match at the time of this behaviour. Surely one has to defend oneself against that? No, one doesn’t have to. Thanks to the officials who made sure of that. “The defeat is like a win or a draw for us. What should we have to do about it? Who will force us to go for a better score when we have achieved a favourable one?”
Had a draw been enough for both, one might have just wrinkled one’s nose a few times — and resigned oneself to it.
The players’ behaviour on the pitch was so obvious that it was abundantly stupid and consequently looked so, but this particular one could serve as an indication that there was no collusion.
5) Germany – Denmark, World Cup 1986
This match is included here for somewhat different reasons. It did not cause any sensation, so perhaps one must first take a closer look at the reasons for its inclusion in the list with the title “dubious”. One of them, however, is certainly that the Germans owe their reputation of being a tournament team to such an incident, which is often disregarded in this country.
Here is a brief history and the consequences:
Germany had once again not started well at all. A 1-1 draw against Uruguay after falling behind. Then came the game against Scotland, a laborious 2:1 victory, again after falling behind. However, this was the first World Cup in which 24 teams competed, but sixteen teams were to emerge from the six preliminary round groups – each with four teams – for a round of 16. Thus, only eight teams were eliminated in the preliminary round, only 25% of the starters.
The mode was also dubious from a sporting point of view. Not only did four third-placed teams have to advance to reach the elimination stage, but these teams were also compared “crosswise”, which is always dubious from a sporting point of view. The decisive criterion for qualification to the knockout round was “the four best third-placed teams”. A table was made for these. Apart from the cross-comparison, however, there was still the problem of the chronological order. So a team was already assured third place in Group A, but still had to wait for the results of the other groups to see if their third place would “do”? That could not be good.
In addition, the groups playing later could base their results on the previous groups and already knew which result would be enough for third place and thus for advancement – and which were to be avoided urgently. A new kind of distortion of competition, which in itself can be seen as an own goal by FIFA. You simply can’t do it that way, commerce or not (which is probably why the number of teams was increased to 24?).
So, as I said, it is highly questionable from a sporting point of view and fortunately will soon be abolished by increasing the number of participants again. This should not necessarily be the topic here. For the Germans it only meant that after these two insipid games they were already assured of progress.
A curious game in the German group, by the way, and only mentioned here in passing, as it does not quite deserve inclusion in this “Hall of Fame”. The last match of the group, parallel to Germany – Denmark, between Scotland and Uruguay: Scotland had lost both matches, against Germany and Denmark, Uruguay at least fought for a point against Germany, but then really “went down” with a 1:6 against Denmark. In the first minute of the Scotland-Uruguay match, the earliest such event at a World Cup, a Uru was sent off. From then on, the 10 Urus stood on their own goal line for 90 minutes. The result held. The final whistle blew. The 10 Urus fell into each other’s arms on the pitch, there was unrestrained jubilation, sure, they had progressed as “one of the top four third-placed teams”. But the way they achieved it and the results themselves make a mockery of the whole system: a 1-1 draw against Germany, good, then a 1-6 defeat, and then a scrappy 0-0. There you go, ready for the last 16! The jubilation was understandable, but the sporting performance? The mode itself?
How did Uruguay manage to get through with such a miserable record? Well, in one group, a third-placed team had only one point – lost to the top 2, drew with the last – and Hungary had even lost 0:6 against the Soviet Union; also 2:4 points, but the even worse goal difference. Moreover, the problem here obviously: Uruguay knew that the 0:0 was enough; Hungary did not know beforehand what they would need. Curious game, Scotland – Uruguay: yes. Dubious game: no.
For the Denmark – Germany match, this had the following meaning, including the back story: theoretically, it was about winning the group. Both teams were already qualified. Even second place was assured to the loser, Germany to about 99.99% due to the catastrophic goal difference of the Urus against Germany (they could still go in level on points if Uruguay won and Germany lost). This meant that from Germany’s point of view, they could already “plan” a bit who they would prefer as opponents, which even applied to the possible follow-up match (so they were not threatened with falling to 3rd place, with unforeseeable consequences; incidentally, this is how the Urus met the eventual world champions Argentina in the next round).
They played a great game, but unfortunately lost 0:2. Franz Beckenbauerauer said after the game: “I saw the best game in my time in office. And he smirked similarly, as he had rehearsed for the “unfortunate defeat in 1974 against the GDR”.
“Reward” at the same time for this so great game: the opponent in the round of sixteen was Morocco. Denmark had to face Spain. Denmark was knocked out with a score of 1:5. Germany had to deal with an almost overpowering Morocco. Nevertheless, the opponent was defeated as early as the 89th minute by Lothar Matthäus with a durable free kick from 30 metres, flat into the corner. No matter, they say in this country. We’ve moved on. Basta. But at least there was the possibility to “choose” this opponent and this alone can easily be seen as luck, if you like, and that by losing to Denmark (a preferred opponent is nice, but someone else would have had to do something for it? A victory?).
So Denmark had a fate similar to that of the GDR a few years earlier: Germany defeated, the small country (therefore) happy anyway, the defeat in the next round against a strong opponent to be accepted, one can live with it. That’s fine.
But that was not enough from the German point of view. The way ahead in the tournament was clear: the quarter-final opponent was Mexico, that was foreseeable, as the winner of one of the other upcoming round of 16 matches, Mexico against Bulgaria, but this way was already fixed, there was no “free draw”. But: Bulgaria would also have been feasible?
Still not enough with that. Mexico as the host had already achieved something great and the fans were satisfied anyway, so that Germany not only met a beatable opponent, but the latter was already satisfied in a way with what they had achieved.
The game itself saw Germany go into extra time after Briegel was sent off and into the penalty shoot-out with a 0-0 score, with difficulty. In penalty shootouts, the local belief surely goes, there is always only one winner. So the road the Germans had to take was arduous in every respect. To lose gloriously against Denmark, then Morocco, then Mexico or Bulgaria….
The fact that the Germans “mollycoddled” their way through the penalty shoot-out in the semi-final (after trailing 1:3 in extra time) against France was almost a matter of course for a German. The question that is often asked in Germany: “Yes, where were the Brazilians, English, Spanish and Italians? However, these were certainly in each other’s way, while Germany had the one described. Morocco, Mexico. That’s not supposed to be luck?
A German pats himself on the same shoulder over such “merits” — yes, “we” are a tournament team — with which he shrugs afterwards. There is no such thing as luck? Not only was it possible to go this way through a voluntary defeat, that it existed at all, with a tenable 1:0 shortly before the end and a penalty shoot-out success, one still had to get through it in one piece, which, as you can see, was thanks to anything but brilliant performances?
What does that have to do with a one-off slip-up with 0:2 against Denmark?
6) Werder Bremen – BFC Dynamo, European Cup 1988?
7) Borussia Mönchengladbach – Bayer Uerdingen, Bundesliga season 1989/90, last matchday
This match, already mentioned a little further above, has probably been pretty much forgotten, if it was ever noticed at all. Here, the “somewhat different laws” of the tie apply, which did not make the behaviour on the pitch questionable. Apart from that, the DFB is not at all particularly interested in getting its own leg …. well, as dogs do … If at all possible, they don’t want a big fuss, plus there’s the problem of the “burden of proof”.
But at least, analogous to Brazil (who perhaps had enough arrogance to generously overlook it) and Algeria (who could certainly cite a lack of lobby; nevertheless, both the follow-up game caused a worldwide sensation and the carpet could not be that big to sweep it under, at the same time the last “incident” ensured that the rules were changed), there was also an injured party here, which should actually be the case with every “manipulation”.
The “injured party” in this case was VfL Bochum. The “Unabsteigbare” were possibly unable to live up to this reputation in that season due to an agreement between two others.
First of all, here is the situation in the standings: It was the case that Bochum were two points behind these two teams, Gladbach and Uerdingen, before the last matchday. The two-point rule applied. Here is an extract from the table after the 34th matchday.
This table is taken from the internet, while other records are usually made from memory.
It is easy to see that, given the possibility of a draw between Gladbach and Uerdingen, the 2:0 victory already calculated in was of no use to Bochum. Likewise, the 0:0 between Uerdingen and Gladbach has already been evaluated. (much less curious here that theoretically, under the circumstances, a 1:0 for MG would have been enough for the table to show the same order; so they could have scored one more just before the end to extinguish suspicion; whereas, after all, Bochum could have scored one more goal?)
- Bayer 05 Uerdingen 34 10 10 14 41:48 -7 30:38
- Borussia Möncheng. 34 11 8 15 37:45 -8 30:38
- VfL Bochum 34 11 7 16 44:53 -9 29:39
After the end of the match day, an interview with an angry Uwe Leifeld, Bochum’s top striker these days, was broadcast on the Sportschau. He got quite worked up to point out the obviousness of the behaviour, that assuming that Uerdingen and Gladbach could agree on a draw, he had tried to place a bet with Austrian bookmakers on the X between Mönchengladbach and Uerdingen, and that no bookmaker wanted to offer him odds on it. The bookmakers already knew what they were doing and why they were doing it.
Now, that Leifeld was upset is very understandable. But the fact that the other side didn’t want to take the bet on the draw is at least as understandable. Why should they want to burn their hard-earned money just like that?
Apart from that, there was little fuss about the matter on the Sportschau. As usual, a few clips were shown, two half-chances here, two half-chances there, that was it. The half chances were shown with the tenor that one could see that they had tried. Otherwise there was “not too much going on”.
They were obviously not interested in making a “scandal” out of it. In a way, it’s Bochum’s own fault and the season was long enough to collect enough points and so on. Nevertheless, it is not fair and the protagonists must at least accept the character “dubious”. To what extent did they collude? See Germany – Austria. In the case of Gladbach – Uerdingen, the problem was almost impossible to get to grips with, whereas in the case of Germany – Austria the solution was simple: play at the same time. However, this has been the case on the last Bundesliga match day (for a long time) anyway. So it is possible that such a match is not taken into account because there is no way to avoid such a thing in principle?
8) Portugal – Estonia, EM Quali ?
The special thing about this match was that Portugal needed a big win, with five goals or more, to knock out Spain and get into the Euro. The Estonians, however, fought back with everything they had and celebrated the 0:4 defeat like a victory after the final whistle. Of course, one can guess that they were so happy because it was to be expected from another side – quietly addressed here specifically: Spanish – a reward for such a brilliant performance.
A little later (Tenerife – Real Madrid), the advocacy of such support is actually brought up, both morally and in terms of rules.
After all, this incident differs here in that the Estonians were only supposed to lose no more than 0:4.
9) Albania – Spain, European Championship Qualification ?
In the same qualifying cycle, there was allegedly a minor “bribe” in this match. It is rather anecdotal, should not be sold directly as “truth” and should not become an accusation. Actually, it is rather the entire mode that is questioned and was later changed – certainly on the occasion of such observations, or at least the possibilities of the same – so that heights of victories against underdogs should no longer decide on the qualification (but the direct comparison, which also has its pitfalls).
It was foreseeable that Portugal and Spain would finish level on points, so that the goal difference would play the decisive role. So when Spain went to Albania, they needed “goals galore”. Allegedly, and according to completely unconfirmed information, they merely brought the Albanians a few (many pairs, of course) of new shoes as a guest gift, which in those days already caused feelings of happiness in the poor country and nevertheless so inhibited the steps of the newly-shod that they were dispatched with a 9-0 score.
However, see above, another small gift set was due to the Estonians. Maybe a few light bulbs? Or did they have to dig deeper into their pockets after all?
10) Tenerife – Real Madrid, 1992 and 1993
A special feature of this match is the recording. Before discussing it in detail, we would like to remind you that there is a considerable difference between a (financial) incentive for a top performance and one for a poor performance.
A small digression at this point: the ignorance of this circumstance could already be observed in the Bundesliga scandal of 1971, when the Offenbach president Horst-Gregorio Canellas dropped the bombshell with a recorded and replayed telephone conversation with Bernd Patzke of Hertha BSC, in which he audibly promised Mr. Patzke a tidy sum in the event that Hertha defeated Arminia from Bielefeld on the last match day. The latter replied that Arminia paid better for a herthalic failure. Surely Mr Canellas, who nevertheless had a few feet in the same quagmire, was at that moment invoking his honourableness, in which, despite being aware of the ban on such a motivational aid, he invoked the moral share, so to speak. “I just wanted them to walk and work properly. But that’s what they do anyway.” That this went mostly unmentioned in the assessment and exposure of the scandal is actually curious. Even if there was a ban on paying victory bonuses from outside, it has a different quality and should therefore be judged differently.
This example is intended to show how this can be dealt with:
The one thing about the Real Madrid example is a gigantic coincidence that friend Internet was able to confirm after about 30 seconds of “research”: in two consecutive seasons, the 1991/92 and 1992/93 seasons, an absolutely identical constellation occurred on the last matchday of the Primera Division, i.e. the Spanish championship. It was also still the age of the two-point rule. On the last matchday, Real Madrid were one point ahead at the top of the table. On the last matchday in both seasons they had to travel to CD Tenerife. Both times Real Madrid lost there (once with 2:3, once with 0:2), while rival FC Barcelona won both times. So both times Real Madrid lost the championship title on the last matchday by losing to the same opponent, while their rivals won, and still had to hand over the championship trophy.
That alone may be remarkable, but it has absolutely no place here in this section. If not for another fact: Real Madrid was probably disappointed and was looking for “a fly in the ointment”. Surely they will have noticed the recognisably great motivation of the opponent during the performances in Tenerife. They fought until they dropped.
Motivated by so much opposing motivation on their part, Real actually brought out that Tenerife had received a little “motivation injection” from Barcelona. The fact that this was paid in pennies and nickels, as had been absolutely forbidden until then, so inflamed the royal spirits that Real Madrid actually lodged a protest, especially as such things were forbidden by the rules.
Those responsible sat down together and came to the conclusion that from then on they no longer wanted to prohibit such “positive motivation”, even if it was done with financial means. This rule was only valid for the future, but the protest was also rejected. Barcelona kept both championships, Real kept their fists in their pockets.
11) FC Barcelona – Dynamo Kiev, European Cup 1995?
Let’s put the cart before the horse. And like this:
The last minutes of this match were running. The score was 2:1 for Barcelona. The result: Kiev was out after the first and second legs. The observed behaviour of the Kiev players, of course, was only taken from a highly subjective impression: They were just as “satisfied” with this result as the Barca players, but presumably for different reasons. There was a non-aggression pact similar to that of Germany and Austria at one time. Kiev pushed the ball back and forth in their own half. But there was only one sporting winner in this game. What was the point?
Since the assumption that Dynamo Kiev considered themselves qualified in this match and at this score due to their lack of understanding of the supposedly complicated European Cup arithmetic sounds at least very unrealistic, there is some reason to speculate whether they might not have become “winners” in some other way despite being eliminated?
Here is a very vague and daring thesis on how the whole thing might have gone down: The first leg had ended 1-1. Kiev did not have too favourable a “negotiating position”. Barcelona also thought they were strong enough – despite the recognisable strength of their opponents – to manage it on their own. A cautious enquiry before the game resulted in no rapprochement, let alone agreement.
Kiev threw themselves into it in half 1 to put themselves in a better position. And they really did make it 1-0! At the half-time break, the sweating Barca president, heavily packed among other things, made his way into the Kiev dressing room – and came out relieved to have delivered the heavy freight, which logically consisted of the copious packets of dollar bills required because of the unpleasant score.
Barca turned the game around. And everyone was satisfied.
Well, just: very vague. It would only be interesting to watch that final sequence again. A fool who thinks bad things of it?
12) Denmark – Sweden, Euro 2004
This example will certainly be remembered by many. It should be mentioned here mainly because one can observe a further development in the field of “dubious games” as far as the degree of skill in the implementation is concerned. Nevertheless, everything remains speculative, and this should be emphasised here again. So: Dubious yes, verifiable? Niente! The more skilfully done, the less. Whether the uncovering of such a case in any form — except on the part of the injured party — should be advanced at all is another “dubio”, a doubt that is gladly registered here. Carts in the dirt can happen. But why drive it there yourself?
This example also shows that there are always a few loopholes in the regulations, even if one thought one was on reasonably safe ground with the ones currently in use. It was briefly mentioned above that the direct comparison has its pitfalls, at least one of which can be seen in the following.
In this last match of the group stage of the Euros, it was enough for both sides if they played a draw above a certain level. It was the last match of the preliminary round. The first two qualify for the quarter-finals. The group constellation was this: Denmark and Sweden had each won against Bulgaria and drawn against Italy in their first two matches. So Italy had two points, but in the parallel match against Bulgaria they also had the chance to win and thus, with the three-point rule that has been in force for a long time, the chance to get to 5 points. However, Denmark AND Sweden would also reach this mark with a draw. Who of the three candidates with the same number of points would advance was decided by UEFA’s “desk jockeys” in the following way, which is still valid today (2011):
“In the event of a tie, the result of the direct duel against each other shall be decisive; if more than two teams are level on points, a table shall be drawn up from the direct duels. There, the goal difference decides first and if this is also equal, the number of goals scored. If this is also equal, then the UEFA coefficient…”
The last part of the regulation is neither formulated here nor should it be discussed at length, but it is inconceivable (bad) in any case.
The rest reveals an effort to find a sporting solution. In order to better understand the effects of this form of “sportsmanship”, these small peculiarities should be mentioned: Italy had played 0:0 against Denmark and 1:1 against Sweden, so their goal difference was fixed at 1:1 for the table of the three among themselves. They no longer had any influence on this. If Sweden played 2:2 (or higher draw) against Denmark, then Denmark would have 2:2 (or more) goals and Sweden even 3:3 (or more). Italy would therefore be eliminated according to the above rule formulation. The teams would be equal on points, goal difference would be equal, the rule “then the number of goals scored” would help Denmark and Sweden further, from 2:2 draw.
The game ended 2:2. The Italians, themselves renowned as artists at the slide rule, were naturally outraged and pointed out the obvious. Morten Olsen, the Danish coach, even said afterwards: “Of course there was a deal” and thus, presumably deliberately, temporarily poured a little more oil on the fire, which nevertheless died down again soon afterwards. Why shouldn’t a game like that end 2:2? How to prove something? What are carpets for? To sweep under. Exactly. And Morten Olsen was in the clear anyway: people don’t like to lie, and smiling and saying “the truth” leaves all conclusions open. “Of course he existed”, and that’s how you go to jail? “Yes, I murdered and robbed five people. Can you please put me in jail now?”
Apart from that, a 2:2 game is something different from a 0:0. Anyone who feared cheating could speculate after every goal scored whether it might be honest after all? There was a lot of action on the pitch, that’s for sure. And every now and then someone was ahead or behind, it was an “exciting game”. The final whistle was approaching and the score was 2-1 to Denmark. A curiosity on the sidelines, which allowed for completely different speculations the whole time: Italy was not leading against Bulgaria.
Here are the events of the last minutes in novel form:
The 70th minute. After a changeable and exciting course of events, Denmark leads 2:1 against Sweden. Of course, both teams are afraid that a collusion will “blow up”. In principle, they would love to avoid this 2:2 if at all possible, but still advance. Italy just shouldn’t win against Bulgaria. Let’s hear how it goes there? Oh, Italy just equalised, 1:1, what a shame. Well, hopefully they won’t score the 2:1 soon. Or would they rather? At least then you’d know where you stand.
The Swedes and Danes don’t give the good and still possible result “out of their hands”, it remains at 2:1 and could be any time… wait and see. Will Italy take the lead now? What is the score? Maybe 2:1 for Bulgaria? Wouldn’t that be possible? Nothing from there, 1:1 still. The final minutes are approaching. The Scandinavians are starting to feel a bit queasy. Last minute. The Danish goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel, reaches past a completely harmless ball — 2:2! Along the way, Italy scores the winning goal.
Now here is the parallel action from the other point of view:
From the Italians’ point of view, of course, the situation was quite different. They suspected or at least had to fear the plans. But they also suspected that the two nations would prefer to avoid the discovery, the bursting of the bomb. So even if they were capable, they were not at all interested in destroying the enemy along the lines of “1:0, 2:0, 3:0”. They wanted to wait as long as possible to take the lead. Whether the Bulgarians were now possibly in on it, even wanted to help, were inspired by Italy to be able to serve the honesty of the sport now by participating and wanting to support such a plan?
A possible, even very “cheap” — in dollar terms — arrangement could have looked like this: “Listen, you Bulgarians, you’re out, one way or the other. The chance of getting something against us with the greatest possible effort is not particularly high either, especially since there could certainly be motivation problems here or there. In addition, we might be able to smear the Danes and Swedes and avoid a scandal of a special kind. Would you mind if we won but didn’t score the winning goal until injury time?”
What happened was this. Italy’s lead lasted until injury time. The hope that Danes and Swedes might be naive enough to believe that the Italians would not score the winning goal in the last seconds after all and suddenly, almost “by mistake”, forget to make it 2:2 themselves to prevent all eventualities, was deceptive.
Although the Italians’ plan worked, the overzealous “fly-catcher” in the Danish goal put a spoke in their wheel. All just fantasy?
Interesting, by the way, the perspective at the time, which above all took into account the movements on the betting market. The odds on a 2:2 draw in such a match would have been around 13.0 under normal circumstances. The price on the betting exchange betfair plummeted and collapsed completely. The price closed at 3.40 at the start of the match. The odds on the draw were also nowhere near comparable to “normal” draw odds, which are in the order of 3.0 or higher. This one was at 2.0, so much smaller.
That has nothing to do with “knowledge” there. It is simply how the betting market reacts to such a constellation. Who won and who lost – on a betting exchange it is almost exclusively private individuals – is completely open. In any case, there was no “large-scale fraud” there, just to avoid raising this suspicion.
But it was exciting, wasn’t it?
13) Borussia Mönchengladbach – Inter Milan, European Cup 1971 7:1 or 0:0?
(Details of this match are research results in this case)
Borussia Mönchengladbach, the “Fohlen Elf”, so christened after their promotion to the Bundesliga in 1965, had matured in the meantime and had celebrated several successes in Europe, where they had long been a recognised and feared opponent.
The draw resulted in a kind of “dream draw” with Inter Milan, for the second round in the Cup of the National Champions. Of course, one of the more difficult opponents in an early round, but duels between Germany and Italy always had this explosive quality and were “attractive” and “media-effective” under all circumstances. The chances? Perhaps to be considered even at the time? Inter’s victory in the competition was already a good four years ago. But a more than respectable opponent in any case.
First leg on 20.10.71 in Gladbach. Gladbach took an early lead (7th, Heynckes), Roberto Boninsegna equalised (19th). Gladbach took the lead again (21st, le Fevre). Then the legendary can throw shortly afterwards: Boninsegna, of all people, got it on the head and went down. He did not get up again and left the pitch on a stretcher. The game was about to be abandoned. Referee Dorpmans (Arnhem, Holland) decided to play on. After seven minutes of stoppage, the game resumed. Ghio for Boninsegna in the game.
Gladbach played themselves into a frenzy and scored goal after goal. 7:1 in the end. A destruction of Inter, a dream match, one of the best in Gladbach’s history.
It didn’t take long, however, for Inter to protest the match’s score. After all, one of their (most important) players had been injured and could no longer help his team. Substitutions had been allowed since 1967 (so not that long ago), at that time still two players per team.
UEFA decided that the match had to be replayed. However, there were a few curious things about it. Point 1: after seven hours of negotiations under the chairmanship of Dr. Sergio Zorzi (Ita), the decision was made. Point 2: the match was to be played outside Germany. Point 3: the return match was scheduled for 3 November. This match also took place that evening. The only difference was that it was no longer the second leg but the first leg. The actual first leg, i.e. the replay, took place on 1 December. Point 4: it was agreed that the “first leg” would be played in Berlin, i.e. not really outside Germany (although West Berlin had a special status at the time).
Also noteworthy: Gladbach was received in the worst possible way for the match in Milan. The team bus barely made it to the stadium, the players were called foul names and severely insulted. This is a bit strange: what responsibility would the players have to take for a single, perhaps drunken, fan whose identity was never established? It is possible, however, that the Gladbach team had already expressed doubts about the authenticity of Boninsegna’s injury?
Remarkable in any case: the rule still applies that it is an advantage to be allowed to play away first. In return, many teams are fighting today in the preliminary groups to get a first place, which would grant this privilege for the following round.
In the home game, namely, one would have the chance, using the home advantage, to know the target result and to orientate oneself towards it. It is more than just an intuitive advantage to be allowed to play the return match in front of one’s own audience.
Home advantage was swapped, if you like, and Inter Milan had to accept this disadvantage, although the match would after all, according to the decision, take place on a neutral pitch, insofar as the home advantage would at least be limited (West Berlin after all BRD, like Gladbach).
So Gladbach had to go to Milan and were not only treated badly off the pitch, but also on it. The Italians had sworn revenge for the 1:7, because despite the disallowance they had still conceded those seven on the pitch. They reacted with violent fouls and other incidents. The referees at the time, influenced by the boiling popular mood, and equipped with no other protection, as well as far fewer cameras that could detect the hidden fouls, did not have such an easy stand. The standard reaction was that the home team got off scot-free. Even in nascent discussions, the home players, with the entire crowd behind them, had special rights, which they simply took advantage of.
Gladbach put up good resistance, but were not quite up to this external double to triple pressure in that game. They came close to 2:3 in the 89th minute, but still lost 2:4.
For the return match in Berlin, the advantages were on Inter’s side after all. Gladbach had to make up two goals and a new scoring festival like that was not to be expected under any circumstances. The game ended 0:0, the Italian defence held, after all Inter had won the European Cup in 1967 under Helenio Herreira with the help of the then new catenaccio.
Back to the legendary 7:1 and the can throw. A Coke can, which is now on display in the museum of Vitesse Arnhem, in the stadium there, hit Boninsegna. Gladbach players standing around claim that the can was empty and hit Boninsegna in the shoulder to neck area, but not on the head, where he indicated the injury. Boninsegna claims (interview 2011) that the can was filled and that it would have hit him on the head, furthermore he was unconscious for 15 to 20 seconds (how would he know?). Referee Dorpmans had not seen the can (in flight) but was told by the linesman that he saw splashes coming out of the can.
This sounds credible and there was no reason to accuse him of a lack of neutrality. There was something in it, which gradually diminished in flight. The fact that the Gladbach players now claim that the can was empty and that they had picked it up – as Rainer Bonhof did, but Luggi Müller made similar comments – is not entirely convincing insofar as they shook it and more remains came out. The “piece of evidence” is therefore unsuitable as such. For it cannot be used to answer a crucial question: was the tin full, half full, quarter full, three quarters full or even completely empty cannot reveal the tin that was certainly empty in the end.
Put into the Milan players’ minds: no matter how badly Boninsegna was injured, still less whether he could not simply have played on, fainting or not. It would have happened to others – if it had. You shake yourself, rub your head, forehead, shoulder, neck, get some smelling salts under your nose and carry on. Only he wouldn’t have had the intention at all. His team was behind at that point. 1:2 was a justifiable result from the point of view of the time (perhaps it would be today, too, at the final whistle, but it was only the 22nd minute). Boninsegna was certainly conscious and lucid when he discussed something, in Italian, with his teammates on the pitch – as Luggi Müller reports. That sounds very credible, moreover it is clear that Luggi did not quite understand the words, but already tells of a slight wink among the Italians – which of course he also wanted to perceive.
This part also makes sense. They were discussing something and Boninsegna did not get up, but let himself be carried off the field. No doubt he also held his head so that one could possibly not make out any facial features that might reveal both a grin and recognisably an intactness. In other words, he was less concerned with the location of the rifle impact. Who would know?
Assuming now that Boninsegna had really been hit more severely than the Gladbachers stated and continued to make this assumption – quite supported by some circumstantial evidence. Nevertheless, it would have been possible for him to continue playing. Conceivably, however, it would have been a kind of handicap. So one was hit, even badly or at least sensitively, but grits one’s teeth and continues to play. You realise, however, that you are a few percent short in every action. Maybe you even go into a header duel with some apprehension? Or would be influenced in a running duel on the sidelines by the fear of another attack on oneself? Perhaps there was a group targeting him, as he was singled out as the most dangerous opponent?
Lots of speculation, certainly. But if one were affected (and hit) oneself: would one want to “grit one’s teeth” under all circumstances? Or would you perhaps prefer to be replaced? You have been attacked, you have been hit. That’s definitely against the rules, that wasn’t fair, that’s not in football etiquette. So you could, but would you? Of course, one may also mention that there is already a kind of “ulterior motive” at that moment. On the other hand, this has a certain justification, no matter how many percent you or the team would be missing afterwards.
But the impact on the players remaining on the pitch is also a recognisable and perceptible one: one of the most important players is now missing. Well, that can happen. But on the other hand, was he lost through some kind of unfair action? It’s not all calculation behind it, but it’s still a kind of sense that you have of it. “Somehow we were disadvantaged.” And there’s certainly something to that. Incidentally, the fact that a UEFA official was in the dressing room, with Boninsegna, at half-time and noticed a bump on his head shouldn’t necessarily be added to the evidence. It could have come from anywhere. The fact that he was still “dazed” may also have been the result of half-capable acting.
So Inter was slightly weakened and at least partially disadvantaged, and Gladbach should not ignore that. Now they concede another goal under these circumstances. You really don’t want to, but it happens. Now the thoughts go in other directions. We’re not going to turn this thing around. But: we still have a kind of “ace up our sleeve”. The game becomes a foregone conclusion for the opponent. The defensive behaviour adapts, we don’t cover properly anymore, everyone is infected. Of course, always with this ulterior motive: no matter how it ends here, we are far from lost.
This should only provide part of the explanation as to how such an unbelievable result could come about. Gladbach’s frenzy partly influenced by this behaviour of Inter. If you look at the scenes today, the defensive behaviour does seem rather sloppy. Whether it looked like that in other games at the time? Hard to imagine. Inter were often one against one and the striker won the duel with simple little feints. This might still be conceivable, “on a good day”. But that a single defender stands in the penalty area against a striker, that this situation exists at all? That was only the case in counterattacking situations in the past. And the Italians in particular…
So Gladbach’s finest hour really did have this little flaw. They were great goals, it became a one-way street and it could perhaps happen sometimes under completely regular circumstances. But still, there might have been this little influence that made it happen.
In this respect, this example, if one thinks it through to the end, only brings to light the realisation: there are always people, on both sides, in action, for whom a division into “good” and “bad” is difficult or even completely unnecessary. They act like people, they feel like people, they react like people, they think like people, they explain like people, but they also judge like people. But this is exactly the dubious part: should one do this or rather try to understand the actions of the others first? Every part in this story had its share and its motive. For example, referee Dorpmans admits in an interview (also in 2011) that the chairman of the commission was Italian and that he therefore did not say certain things at the time the way he would say them today. Quite simply: he didn’t want to jeopardise his career, did he? Human, understandable, like any other action? That’s right.