Andreas Brehme is dead: the 1990 soccer world champion died at the age of 63

The scene of his most significant act in football history is firmly etched in the memory of German fans. Six steps in the run-up, then a well-placed shot into the goal at the bottom left of the post and finally a cheering run with his colleagues across the lawn of the Olympic Stadium in Rome. For Andreas Brehme, those few seconds on that summer Sunday in the 1990 World Cup final against Argentina were enough to become a hero for eternity. 1-0, Germany world champions for the third time – and the native of Hamburg as the protagonist of a large team around captain Lothar Matthäus and storm legend Rudi Völler.

The teammates in the triumph had to learn painful news on Tuesday: Brehme was the first player from the German world champion team to die around midnight the night before. At the age of 63. The entire football world mourns the loss of this down-to-earth and likeable person.

“It is with deep sadness that I announce on behalf of the family that my partner Andreas Brehme died suddenly and unexpectedly tonight as a result of a cardiac arrest. We ask that you respect our privacy during this difficult time and refrain from asking questions,” said a message from his partner Susanne Schaefer on Tuesday morning.

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According to “Bild,” Brehme was admitted to the emergency room at the clinic on Ziemssenstrasse near his Munich apartment on Monday evening after an emergency call at 11:30 p.m. On the way to the hospital, attempts were made to resuscitate him, but any help came too late.

Beckenbauer’s death affected Brehme deeply

Brehme was one of the best German football players in the 80s and 90s and made football history in Rome in 1990 when he decided the World Cup final. Shortly before the end of the game, Brehme scored the decisive 1-0 winner against Argentina with a penalty that gave the German national team their third World Cup title. This was Brehme’s only penalty that he took in the German jersey during the game.

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Like the names of Helmut Rahn (1954), Gerd Müller (1974) or Mario Götze (2014), Brehme’s name will forever be remembered as a triumphant day for German football. “This goal wasn’t just a blessing, it was much more,” said Brehme on the occasion of his 60th birthday. “I received a number of inquiries – that was huge.”

Brehme was invited on TV shows and to a number of other events, and people almost always asked him the same question: What was it like to score the decisive penalty? “When you stand there, the goal gets smaller and smaller, and the goalkeeper gets bigger and bigger,” he said then. “You have to be convinced of it, otherwise I wouldn’t have gone for the penalty.”

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The team boss at the time was Franz Beckenbauer. At the beginning of this year, Brehme was deeply affected by the death of his friend and mentor. In mid-January he took part in the memorial service in the Munich stadium. Now Brehme died just 44 days after Beckenbauer.

Brehme (r.) and Günter Netzer on January 19th at the funeral service for Franz Beckenbauer

Source: picture alliance/Eibner press photo/Heike Feiner

“I think in heaven he will create a magic triangle with Pelé and Maradona,” he said: “As a little boy, I, like probably every boy in Germany, had a Franz Beckenbauer poster hanging over my bed. Later he became my boss and I was allowed to work with him. And we ended up becoming close friends. That’s why I have a lot to thank Franz for.”

UEFA Cup winner with Inter Milan

The Hamburg native began his professional career in 1980 at 1. FC Saarbrücken, before moving to 1. FC Kaiserslautern a year later, where Brehme’s star finally rose. The full-back with the hard-hitting shot then played for FC Bayern, Inter Milan and Real Zaragoza before moving back to Kaiserslautern in 1993, where he ended his active career in 1998.

It was a worthy end to a great career: FCK sensationally became champions as a promoted team under coach Otto Rehhagel, but the 38-year-old Brehme was only used sporadically this season.

German champion at the end: Brehme with the trophy that he had previously won with Bayern


Brehme played a total of 86 international matches (eight goals) and played in three World Cup finals. In 1986 he was with Germany in the lost final against Argentina. He became champions with Kaiserslautern, Bayern and Milan, and he also won the UEFA Cup with Inter in 1991.

“You have shit on your feet, you have shit on your feet!”

After his career, Brehme got the trainer A license, but had little success at his stations in Kaiserslautern, at SpVgg Unterhaching and VfB Stuttgart (as assistant coach to Giovanni Trapattoni). He had not worked as a coach since February 2006. But that didn’t change the fact that his place as one of the greats in German football history is secure. Also because of many sayings that are attributed to him. “You have shit on your feet, you have shit on your feet!” was one of those statements that almost every fan knows.

The advertisement that Brehme made for the medical-psychological examination (MPU) – commonly called the idiot test – was reminiscent of a not so funny moment in his eventful life. In an interview with “Stern” in November 2022, he spoke about a “serious mistake” while driving with a blood alcohol level of 1.78. His driver’s license was gone and he had to pay a fine of 30,000 euros. “It takes some time until you realize that driving drunk is not just a mistake, but that you have to question your life and change it,” Brehme said at the time. He tried to help others.

In addition to his partner, Brehme leaves behind two adult sons from his marriage to Pilar (1987 to 2010).


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