40 years ago football Germany held its breath – and closed its eyes. The pictures of the shocked Ewald Lienens, who looks at his injured thigh in disbelief, get under the skin and have a nasty aftermath – for Werder coach Otto Rehhagel.
On August 14, 1981, a picture went around the world. Bielefeld Bundesliga professional Ewald Lienen was lying on the floor and looked completely stunned at his slit thigh. Immediately afterwards, his face contorted with rage, he called out to the opposing trainer Otto Rehhagel: “It’s your fault, you get a complaint from me!”
The Werder coach, said the shocked Lienen, is said to have vehemently urged his player Norbert Siegmann several times to “go harder” shortly before the foul. And indeed: When Lienen wanted to hurry back on the outside lane, the Werder professional jumped at Arminen with his leg outstretched – and hit him on the side of his right thigh with his pointed studs. The pictures of the white muscle that peeked out of the gaping, almost 30 centimeter long wound, and the completely horrified Ewald Lienen, who did not want to trust his own eyes, like millions of viewers of the “Sportschau” later that evening, are up to football fans remained present today.
Incredible, but true: The rabid Norbert Siegmann was only presented with a yellow card by referee Medardus Luca for his over-hard entry with direct injury. Perhaps the referee was irritated by Lienen’s first act of affect. Because the Bielefeld man had actually jumped up with his gaping wound and – completely beside himself – first insulted Siegmann and then Otto Rehhagel. Only then did he go back to the ground before he was finally transported from the square on a stretcher with a bandaged thigh.
Death threats against deer hail
And Lienen kept its word. While still in the hospital, he hired a lawyer who was supposed to file a lawsuit for “willful bodily harm” beyond the DFB sports jurisdiction. However, going to court was ultimately unsuccessful. A disappointment not only for the Bielefeld native. But in all seriousness of the situation: Lienen is still laughing today at the Werder lawyer’s seat in Bremen at the time. He actually resided at 14 Bonehauerstraße.
At the return match on the Alm, the police force was about four times as large as usual – and guest trainer Otto Rehhagel was not only equipped with a bulletproof vest for his own safety, but was also accompanied on the field by SEK bodyguards. The special security precautions were indeed not out of thin air. “As much as I live, if I catch Siegmann in the stadium, I’ll beat him to death,” a man at the Bielefeld office had previously said and another at the newspaper “Neue Westfälische” called the local editorial office and shouted into the receiver: ” Rehhagel will be shot at 4 p.m. ”
But the Werder coach was well aware of the special situation and preferred to leave Norbert Siegmann in Bremen as a precaution. And Rehhagel admonished his team to stay calm in every situation and to act cautiously: “Apologize to your opponents, even if you accidentally step on their feet.” It worked. The game went smoothly.
“In a white robe across the square”
But the Lienen case had an impact on the entire league. In the first game after his injury affair, the opposing coach Karl-Heinz Feldkamp wanted to do everything right in his Lauterer game against Arminia: “Basically, I could have put any man against Lienen, but with the experienced Briegel the risk was the least for me, that just something happens. Well, when he played against Lienen, it really doesn’t work anymore. ”
But soon even Ewald Lienen’s teammates were pissed off by the excessive sparing of their teammates. Kees Bregman said: “He shouldn’t believe, he can only pray and walk across the square in a white robe.” And Ewald Lienen also thinks in retrospect that it was above all the terrible images of the slashed thigh that caused the emotions to boil up back then. Because the injury itself was more of a harmless nature. Exactly four weeks after the most spectacular foul in the history of the Bundesliga, the Bielefeld player was back on the pitch at the encounter on the Lauterer Betzenberg.