Franz Beckenbauer, The National Team Manager, Part II (1986-88)
(Note: I would like to once again thank http://www.zani.co.uk/ for uploading this article http://www.zani.co.uk/franz-beckenbuer-the-national-team-manager-part-ii-1986-88
Following the 1986 World Cup, Franz Beckenbauer had two years to prepare for the 1988 Euros that West Germany would be hosting.
As a result he had the time to prepare and experiment without any qualification worries.
Following the retirements of some of the ageing players following the Mexico World Cup (Rummenigge, Magath, Briegel, etc), he called up many younger players in line for the Euros.
The first order of business was to rebuild the defense.
Goalkeeper and Captain Harald Schumacher and Thomas Berthold were still on board, as well as Stuttgart’s Guido Buchwald, one of the unlucky casualties of the World Cup Finals cut.
However, Klaus Aughentaler was discarded, along with club mate Norbert Eder, who was not selected again.
Experienced Stopper Karlheinz Förster had joined France’s Olympique Marseille and requested a leave of absence from national team duty to adjust to his new club.
For this first Post-Mexico season (1986/87), Beckenbauer tried to impose Thomas Hörster of Bayer Leverkusen as his new Libero.
In addition Jürgen Kohler of Waldhof Mannheim was installed in the stopper position.
Photo from: Fussball Magazin, May 1987(Guido Buchwald, Jurgen Kohler and Franz Beckenbauer)
More importantly Beckenbauer wanted to build the team around the creative talents of Schalke’s young midfielder Olaf Thon, who was seen as the future of West Germany.
Lothar Matthäus was also taking on a more of a leading role at Bayern Munich, now that Danish Soren Lerby had been transferred to AS Monaco.
For West Germany’s first match of the new season, The Germans played an away Friendly vs. Denmark on September 24th for Allan Simonsen’s Farewell Match for Denmark.
The West Germans came away as 2 to 0 winners with Thon and Klaus Allofs scoring and new caps Kohler and Hörster impressing in their debut.
For their next Friendly at home on October 15th, the Germans tied 2 to 2 with Spain with Bayern Munich’s striker Ronald Wohlfarth earning his first cap.
He would not earn another cap for another three years.
Klaus Aughentaler also earned a recall and played in the second half, but he also did not feature in Beckenbauer’s plans until 1989.
Their next Friendly, just two weeks later, vs. Austria at Vienna would turn out to be one of the lowest points of Beckenbauer’s tenure as the West Germans succumbed to a heavy defeat of 1 to 4 with Toni Polster scoring two penalties and Lothar Matthaus getting sent off for repeatedly arguing with the referee.
This disastrous match also marked Bayer Uerdingen defender Wolfgang Funkel’s second and final cap.
The recalled Michael Rummenigge of Bayern Munich also played his final match for West Germany.
Eike Immel who had now joined Stuttgart started in goal and would remain until the Euros.
Photo From: Chronik des deutschen fussballs, 2005(Lothar Matthaus and Klaus Allofs, October 29, 1986, Austria 4-West Germany 1)
The new year (1987) started under negative circumstances as Beckenbauer lost his skipper.
Harald Schumacher published his autobiography called ‘Anpfiff’ (starting Whistle), which would end his national team career.
The most controversial aspect of this book was his claim that doping was rampant in the Bundesliga.
He also insulted National team members such as Olaf Thon, whom he described as ‘pitifully stupid.’
On February 24, 1987, FC Koln banned Schumacher and he never played for them again.
On February 26, 1987, He was stripped of the national team captaincy.
On March 6, 1987, the DFB banned him indefinitely from the national team and he never played for West Germany again.
On March 17, 1987, Beckenbauer appointed Klaus Allofs as West Germany’s new captain.
Photo from: Fussball Magazin, May 1987(Uwe Rahn, Wolfgang Rollf, Stefan Reuter, Eike Immel and Rudi Voeller in Israel , March 1987)
Within a week on March 25th, the West Germans played a very sensitive and diplomatic friendly vs. Israel in Tel Aviv.
This was the first meeting of any kind between the two countries.
Eike Immel was now firmly established as West Germany’s starting goalkeeper.
Bayern Munich’s Hans Pflügler earned his first cap for West Germany.
Thomas Hörster played his last match for West Germany as Libero, as Beckenbauer was unconvinced, though he was retained for the Olympic squad.
The West Germans won 2 to 0 with goals by Thon and a penalty kick by Matthäus.
Photo from: Fussball Magazin, May 1987(Captains Lothar Matthaus and Avi Cohen, March 25, 1987, Israel 0-West Germany 2)
The following month, on April 18th, they played a high profile friendly vs. Italy at Koln that ended in a scoreless tie.
Stefan Reuter of Nuremberg earned his first cap for West Germany.
The match also marked Mathias Herget’s re-inclusion as Beckenbauer’s Libero.
Pierre Littbarski also made his first appearance with the national team since Mexico.
In The summer of 1987, Thomas Berthold and Rudi Völler joined the Italian Serie A clubs of Verona and AS Roma respectively and Koln’s Klaus Allofs joined Karlheinz Förster at France’s Olympique Marseille.
Beckenbauer expressed that he did not like too many players joining the foreign leagues as they get used to ‘their’ tempo, which is not ‘our’ tempo.
West Germany started its Fall 1987 campaign in impressive fashion as France (2-1), England (3-1) and Denmark (1-0) were defeated in convincing fashion in August and September.
Bayern Munich’s Hans Dorfner earned his first cap in the France match, while Koln’s young goalkeeper Bodo Illgner, who had only replaced Schumacher at club level just months earlier, started vs. Denmark.
He would remain Immel’s understudy until the end of the Euros.
Pierre Littbarski had returned to Koln after a difficult season with Racing Club Paris and was back in full force.
In the match vs. England, he scored twice, one of them from a direct corner.
Photo from: Onze-Mondial, February 1989
(Pierre Littbarski, June 10, 1988, European Championships, West Germany 1-Italy 1)
On October 11, 1987, Beckenbauer appointed former international goalkeeper and teammate Sepp Maier as West Germany’s goalkeeping coach.
The West Germans followed up with two more friendlies in October and November vs. Sweden (1-1) and Hungary (0-0).
Nuremberg striker Dieter Eckstein earned his first cap in the Hungary match.
The West Germans embarked on a tour of South America in December 1987 to play vs. Brazil and Argentina.
This tour would also serve Beckenbauer as means to test more players.
Mathias Herget had been suspended for 4 matches in the Bundesliga, therefore under DFB rules was ineligible for the national team.
However, Franz Beckenbauer insisted on his presence in the Tour and was authorized.
In the First match vs. Brazil on December 12th, that ended in a one to one tie, Beckenbauer gave first caps to Borussia Mönchengladbach’s Christian Hochstätter, Nuremberg’s Manfred Schwabl, Werder Bremen’s Frank Ordenewitz, Kaiserslautern’s Franco Foda and Stuttgart and Bundesliga’s top goal scorer Jürgen Klinsmann.
The next match, four days later, would be vs. Argentina, a remake of the World Cup Final, that the Argentines won 1 to 0.
Of all these new players only Klinnsman made the final cut for Euro 1988.
The new year (1988) started with Karlheinz Förster, who had provisionally discarded himself, officially announcing his national team retirement on January 3rd.
On March and April, The West Germans hosted a four team Tournament with Argentina, USSR and Sweden, called the Four Nations Tournament at West Berlin.
This was used as a dress rehearsal for the proper Euro Tournament in a few months time.
For their first match on March 31st, the West Germans tied one to one with Sweden.
For the first time, the new West Germany uniforms contained the colors (Black, Yellow, Red) of their flag, which was a change from the complete White shirt strip.
Photo From: Foot Magazine , Issue 79, May 1988(Olaf Thon, March 31, 1988, Four Nations Easter Tournament , West Germany 1-Sweden 1)
The Germans would lose the match on penalty kick shoot-out.
Captain Klaus Allofs would play and score in his last match for West Germany.
He would be injured shortly afterwards and would miss the Euros.
In his absence, Beckenbauer appointed Lothar Matthäus as Captain.
Photo from: World Soccer, February 1990(Lothar Matthaus between Giuseppe Giannini and Carlo Ancelotti, June 10, 1988, European Championships, West Germany 1-Italy 1)
He repaid the faith in him by scoring West Germany’s winner vs. Argentina on April 2nd for the second match of this tournament.
On the same day, Sweden defeated USSR (2-0) to win this mini tournament.
Stuttgart’s Jürgen Klinsmann, who in Allofs’ absence had become Rudi Völler’s new strike partner, also justified Beckenbauer’s confidence, by scoring his first international goal in their next friendly vs. Switzerland in April.
Photo from: World Soccer, October 1989(Jürgen Klinsmann after scoring, June 14, 1988, European Championships, West Germany 2-Denmark 0)
This match marked the debut of Koln’s Armin Görtz, whose excellent season deserved a cap.
The Finals squad was announced on May 21st with the expected absence of the injured Klaus Allofs.
However, they were some new inclusions: Werder Bremen’s Bundesliga winning duo of Uli Borrowka and Gunnar Sauer earned spots in the Finals squad, along with Borussia Dortmund’s Franck Mill.
West Germany’s final friendly before the Finals turned out to be a disappointing draw on June 4th vs. Yugoslavia, with Olaf Thon having a particularly poor match.
The hosts started on June 10th vs. Italy and after going behind in the second half to a Roberto Mancini goal, they equalized through Andreas Brehme with an indirect free kick a few minutes later.
The foul was awarded after Italy goalkeeper Walter Zenga took extra steps before kicking the ball up field.
For their next match on June 14th, the West Germans defeated Denmark (2-0) with goals by Thon and Klinnsman.
Striker Rudi Völler, who had joined AS Roma at the beginning of the season, had just had a very difficult first season.
Former National team star Paul Breitner, as newspaper columnist, had repeatedly called for Völler to be dropped in favor of Nuremberg’s Dieter Eckstein.
However, Beckenbauer had full confidence in his selection and Völler repaid him with two goals scoring display vs. Spain on June 17th.
Photo From: Voetbal Magazine, Nr. 30, July 1988(Rudi Voeller and Manuel Sanchis, June 17, 1988, European Championships, West Germany 2-Spain 0)
For the semi-finals, on June 21st in Hamburg, the Germans were pitted against archrivals Holland boasting Ruud Gullit, Frank Rijkaard and Marco van Basten.
Prior to the match Pierre Littbarski had stomach pains and was replaced by Franck Mill in the squad.
The match was a reversal of the 1974 World Cup Final between the two nations.
This time it was the Germans who took the lead first through a penalty kick by Matthäus after Rijkaard fouled Klinnsman in the box.
Then the Dutch equalized through a penalty kick as well scored by Ronald Koeman after Kohler fouled Van Basten in the box.
With a minute remaining, Marco van Basten sneaked through a winner and the hosts were eliminated.
Photo from: Onze-Mondial, July 1988(Jurgen Kohler unable to stop Marco van Basten’s winner, June 21, 1988, European Championships, West Germany 1-Holland 2)
Despite losing, West Germany had given a positive impression.
Mainstay players such as Matthäus, Brehme, Völler, Berthold, Littbarski and Buchwald had improved and justified their places.
Newcomers such as Reuter, Kohler and Klinnsman had cemented their place in the squad and young goalkeeper Bodo Illgner was the heir apparent to be the next national team goalkeeper.
The Herget experiment as Libero had not lived up to expectations, as Beckenbauer was still unable to find a suitable successor to himself.
The Bayern Munich bound Olaf Thon had also not lived up to his billing as Germany’s bright hope and star.
Beckenabuer had two years to resolve these deficiencies and make a tilt for the World title in 1990.
Photo from: Fussball Magazin, August 1986(Thomas Berthold and Franz Beckenbauer)