Harald Schumacher

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Harald Schumacher bigraphy, stories - German footballer

Harald Schumacher : biography

6 March 1954 –

Harald Anton Schumacher (born 6 March 1954 in Düren, West Germany), commonly known as Toni Schumacher, is a German former football goalkeeper, and a member of the West German national team. He won the 1980 European Championship and lost two World Cup finals, in 1982 and 1986. However, he is perhaps best remembered for a highly controversial incident in the 1982 FIFA World Cup semifinal against France when he collided with and seriously injured French defender Patrick Battiston.

Personal life

He is married to Jasmin Schumacher and has a daughter (Perla-Marie). He has a son, Oliver, and daughter, Vanessa, from his previous marriage to Marlies Schumacher.

International career

Schumacher played 76 international matches for West Germany between 1979 and 1986, including 15 World Cup qualifying matches and 14 World Cup matches. He won the 1980 European Championship and lost two World Cup finals, in 1982 and 1986.

Controversy at 1982 World Cup

Schumacher was involved in a collision with a French defender, substitute Patrick Battiston, in the semi-final of the 1982 World Cup. Battiston had just Schumacher to beat after a through ball from Michel Platini, but shot wide of the goal. Instead of trying to defend the shot, Schumacher appeared to jump directly at Battiston, and collided with him in mid-air. Battiston was knocked unconscious, and later slipped into a coma. He also lost his two front teeth and had a damaged vertebra. He received oxygen on the pitch. Michel Platini later said that he thought that Battiston had died, because "he had no pulse and looked pale". The Dutch referee Charles Corver did not award a free kick for the incident. Schumacher then proceeded to take the goal kick and play resumed. Germany would eventually go on to win the game on penalty kicks after the match was tied at 3–3.

Schumacher caused more controversy after the game with his response to news that Battiston had lost three teeth: "If that’s all that’s wrong with him, I’ll pay him the crowns." Schumacher later apologised in person to Battiston, who accepted the apology.

A French newspaper poll asked which was the least popular man in France, and Schumacher beat Adolf Hitler into second.

When West Germany and France met again in World Cup 1986, Battiston said that the incident was "forgiven and forgotten". However, he said that he was wary of getting "close to Schumacher" and said that he would hold a distance of at least 40 meters from the German goalkeeper. Schumacher would mostly refrain from commenting on the incident.

Honours

1. FC Köln
  • Bundesliga: 1977–78
  • DFB-Pokal: 1976–77, 1977–78, 1982–83
Borussia Dortmund
  • Bundesliga: 1995–96
Fenerbahçe Istanbul
  • Turkish Champion: 1988–89
Germany
  • FIFA World Cup Runner-up: 1982, 1986
  • Second best player of the 1986 FIFA World Cup
  • UEFA European Champion: 1980

Coaching career

As coach of SC Fortuna Köln he was sacked at half time by club chairman Jean Löring when his club was 0–2 behind against Waldhof Mannheim in December 1999.

Autobiography

In 1987, Schumacher’s autobiography, Anpfiff (kick-off), was published in various countries, including France (Coup de sifflet, Monique Thiollet translat., Michel Lafon ed.).

There was much interest in Schumacher’s comments on the Battiston incident. Schumacher maintained that his actions did not constitute a foul and that he was only trying to get the ball. The reason he did not go over to check on Battiston’s condition was that several French players were standing around Battiston and making threatening gestures in his direction.

The book achieved its own measure of controversy for entirely different reasons; it included graphic accounts of alleged but unproven improprieties by German football players, including substance abuse. This resulted in Schumacher’s exclusion from the German national team and his long-term Bundesliga club, 1. FC Köln.