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Alba Iulia
Thursday, June 4, 2020

“The miracle of Uerdingen” – so much more than a football game

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March 19, 1986, European Cup, Bayer Uerdingen against Dynamo Dresden. It is one of the craziest football games in history. “A miracle that turned into a political thriller” was the headline of the “Frankfurter Allgemeine” in 2007 when the film appeared on television.

“The Miracle of Bern” is probably better known to many in this country than “The Football Wonder of Uerdingen”. The story is no less interesting, on the contrary. 34 years ago today, an unforgettable chapter in football history was written on the grass of the Krefeld Grotenburg Stadium.

Bayer Uerdingen had lost the quarter-final first leg in the European Cup Winners’ Cup against Dynamo Dresden 0-2 and was 1-3 in the second leg at the break. Numerous fans had already left the stadium, they did not want to witness the looming disgrace. The Uerdingen team would need six goals in the second half to advance. A thing of impossibility. So it seemed. But the east experienced a downfall in the west after the break tea, which is second to none.

ZDF had already received numerous complaints from disgruntled viewers during the first half. They could not understand that the broadcaster did not show the Bayern match against RSC Anderlecht taking place in the semi-finals of the national championship cup. But the broadcaster had decided to show the duel east against west – for the first time ever, a game from the Krefeld Grotenburg arena was broadcast live on television. As it turned out later, an absolutely correct decision. Because the audience witnessed one of the craziest catch-ups ever.

A catch-up hunt, also encouraged by the dubious decisions of the Hungarian referee Nemeth and by the injury to Dresden goalkeeper Bernd Jakubowski. After a collision, he injured himself so badly that he was unable to continue playing after the break. Yes, the broken shoulder even sealed the end of his career. For him, 22-year-old Jens Ramme came into the goal, who had never played a competitive game for Dynamo. Many shouldn’t come anymore because some saw him as the great scapegoat. Ramme later even received death threats, also one of the many marginal stories that this game produced.

Crazy turn and a player who takes flight

In the 58th minute, Uerdingen scored the connecting goal to 2: 3. Nobody believed in the turning point. But seven minutes later it was already 4: 3 after a controversial goal. 21 minutes later 6: 3. Only now did the Dresdeners wake up and press on their opposing goal, but Uerdingen’s goalkeeper thwarted three major chances in one minute and the game was on the brink.

In the 87th minute the big moment. A defender from Uerdingen heads the ball out of the danger zone after a corner. Even more, the ball becomes a steep template for teammate Wolfgang Schäfer, who does a sprint over eighty meters before finishing with the very last force. Ramme fends off the shot, but the rebound lands exactly on Schäfer’s chest, who only needs to slide into the empty goal. From the spectator stands, which have long since been filled again, there is a sound of “encore, encore”. Shortly after, the game is over, the miracle is done.

But the story is still far from over, because the great catch-up is only part of what makes this thriller so fascinating. For example, Dresden striker and most successful European goal scorer Frank Lippman fled to the west through the underground garage of the team hotel after the game. He, of all people, who would not have been called up by the coach due to various disciplinary issues, would not have interfered with the Stasi and ordered the nomination. As already mentioned, there is much more to tell …


In the book “The 100 Best Games Ever” (Tim Jürgens & Philipp Köster) by the way, the game takes first place.


The game in full length:

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