Football: Now a British heart beats in the Hall of Fame

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Now a British heart beats in the Hall of Fame

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The German goalkeeper Bert Trautmann played 545 games for Manchester City, here on May 7, 1955 at Wembley Stadium in London

Quelle: Empics Barratts/dpa/picture-alliance

Six new members will be inducted into the German football “Hall of Fame”. Including a coaching legend and a world champion from 2014. Bert Trautmann was particularly important to the jury.

New addition to the “Hall of Fame” of German football. The hall of fame of legends is being expanded to include six top-class names: goalkeeper Bert Trautmann, defender Guido Buchwald, midfield strategist Bastian Schweinsteiger, striker Horst Hrubesch, coach Otto Rehhagel, as well as former striker and coach Jupp Heynckes.

Since April 2019, the German Football Museum has brought together the greatest of the greats of the footballing guild in a hall of fame. The founding team included Sepp Maier, Paul Breitner, Franz Beckenbauer, Andreas Brehme, Fritz Walter, Lothar Matthäus, Günter Netzer, Matthias Sammer, Helmut Rahn, Gerd Müller and Uwe Seeler. There was also Sepp Herberger, the 1954 world champion coach. All eight people who were still alive at the time came to the ceremonial inauguration of the “Hall of Fame” in Dortmund and were celebrated by 400 invited guests.

“That makes me very happy”

Otto Rehhagel was named “Trainer of the Year” five times. He won the German championship three times with Werder Bremen and Kaiserslautern, also won the European Cup with Bremen in 1992 and sensationally became European champions with Greece in 2004. The 85-year-old says: “I was 16 years old when Germany became world champions in 1954. This game against Hungary, this 3-2, really impressed me. Fritz Walter, Helmut Rahn, Sepp Herberger – those were my heroes back then. To be standing with them in the German Football Hall of Fame today makes me very happy. And proud too.”

The “Hall of Fame” is intended to help honor outstanding players and coaches in German men’s and women’s football and to anchor them in the historical consciousness of football in Germany. The candidates are appointed by a jury made up of leading German journalists. The jury is chaired by museum director Manuel Neukirchner.

The jury chairman Manuel Neukirchner

Quelle: Getty Images/Christof Koepsel

In principle, German personalities from men’s and women’s football from 1900 to the present who have ended their careers for at least five years can be named. In particular, outstanding achievements in the national team before and after the war, in the former “GDR” team as well as in national and international club football should be taken into account.

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Horst Hrubesch said: “I always had tasks in front of me in my life for which I had to invest a lot. Being inducted into the Hall of Fame for this is a great confirmation. You need things like that for yourself every now and then – and they are an expression of a certain appreciation.”

Bert Trautmann’s nomination was particularly important to the jury. The man from Bremen was considered the best German goalkeeper of his time. His career was interrupted by the Second World War and taken on a completely different path. Trautmann was a paratrooper in the Luftwaffe and was taken prisoner by the British. He stayed in Britain after his release and became a goalkeeper for Manchester City in 1949.

20,000 chanted: Off the German!

The City fans greeted him with open hostility. 20,000 took to the streets to protest the transfer of “Traut, the Kraut,” some carrying placards with slogans like “Off the German!” Some fans even returned their season tickets in protest, and various fan groups wrote letters of protest. But team captain Eric Westwood welcomed Trautmann with the words: “There is no war in this locker room.” And Trautmann impressed coaches, teammates and fans with great performances.

The British Queen Elizabeth II is welcomed in Berlin in 2004 by goalkeeper legend Bert Trautmann

Source: Johannes Eisele/dpa/picture alliance

Not only did threatened boycotts not materialize, Trautmann became a crowd favorite and played an incredible 545 games for Manchester. Since at that time only those who played in the domestic league were allowed to be national players, Trautmann was not nominated for the 1954 World Cup and therefore never became world champion. For this he was voted England’s “Footballer of the Year” in 1956, and in 2004 Queen Elizabeth II awarded him the “Order of the British Empire” for his services to German-British understanding.

Trautmann died of a heart attack in 2013 at the age of 89. He would have been 100 years old last October. The jury found by a large majority that his nomination in the year of the home European Championship with the motto “United in the heart of Europe” could not be more appropriate.

February 2012: Bert Trautmann in his house

Source: picture alliance/HJS-Sportfotos/Hans-Jürgen Schmidt

The ceremony for the new members of the “Hall of Fame” will take place in spring 2025 at the German Football Museum in Dortmund.

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