Bernd Schuster was one of the most brilliant playmakers of his time. But he was also argumentative, moody – at times unpredictable. He became European champion and made it into the top three three times in the European Footballer of the Year election. A trained beautician negotiated his contracts. He played as a foreigner in three major Spanish clubs and slept in a room with Diego Maradona. His professional career began at the age of 18 at 1. FC Köln.
To escape the cold winter, 1. FC Köln held its training camp in December 1977 in Tel Aviv, Israel. At the same time an international youth tournament is taking place in Israel. FC head coach Hennes Weisweiler watches a game of the German junior national team together with manager Karl-Heinz Thielen and assistant coach Hannes Löhr. They particularly notice one player. A blond boy, Libero, who serves his long passports with pinpoint accuracy, so unexpectedly because he thinks two moves ahead. His name is Bernd Schuster. He is just of legal age and plays in the youth team of FC Augsburg.
Fascinated by the blonde’s abilities, the FC contacts get in touch with him. A few weeks later, Schuster signed his contract at the Geißbockheim office. What Thielen and Weisweiler did not suspect at this point in time: The much sought-after shoemaker also signs a contract with Borussia Mönchengladbach. Probably out of naivete. Possibly at the insistence of FC Augsburg, which suspects a higher transfer fee for its rough diamonds. But maybe also because the offers become more lucrative from conversation to conversation and Schuster signs the higher-endowed contract until there are two. The case ends up in the labor court and goes in favor of the FC.
It is one of several faux pas that Schuster makes during his playing career. In 1978, FC Augsburg would have become German A youth champions, “if the kid’s head hadn’t been so undisciplined in the sunshine at the Autobahnsee before the game,” said Augsburg’s youth coach Heiner Schuhmann about two years ago on dfb.de. Schuster catches a sunburn and the FCA loses against Duisburg 1: 2.
“Dat Luder has to go”
Soon afterwards, in the summer of 1978, the Augsburg exceptional talent appeared at the start of training at the Geißbockheim instead of the Bökelberg, according to the court order. Coach Weisweiler happily said at the time: “Bernd has everything a top-class man needs.” FC is the reigning German champions and cup winners. Schuster seems shy during his first few weeks in Cologne. Suddenly the youngster was training alongside stars like Toni Schumacher, Bernd Cullmann, Heinz Flohe and Dieter Müller, whom he had only known from television until then. But Weisweiler promotes the young talents – Schuster and Littbarski. “Weisweiler yelled at the stars at every opportunity, but he left us in peace. That gave us self-confidence ”, reported Schuster in October 2011 in the magazine 11Freunde.
Gradually, cobbler becomes an important part of the defense. In his first year as a professional, the 1978/79 season, he reached the semi-finals in the European Cup with FC. In recognition of his convincing achievements, national coach Jupp Derwall called the young whiz kid on May 22, 1979 to the game in Dublin against Ireland for the first time in the senior national team. Schuster plays right away.
Until March 1979, Schuster lived as a sublet in Hürth-Efferen with Mrs. Hammermann, then moved to Rösrath with his new girlfriend Gaby. At the age of 20, he married the photo model, who was six years his senior, a trained beautician, who from then on also looked after him as his advisor. SHE is the first player woman to appear in football in this way. A big bang in the conservative male domain of the eighties. This is a thorn in the side for many. She negotiates persistently, skillfully and causes a great media outcry. When Ms. Schuster poses on the edge of the side during training in lacquer and leather, Weisweiler demands: “Dat Luder has to go.” But Schuster is happy with her. At the age of 23 he already had three children together with Gaby, who is described in newspapers as the “incarnation of a player’s wife”.
Rise to world star
In sporting terms, husband Bernd becomes one of the determining figures in midfield at FC in the 1979/80 season. With his outstanding technique he pulls the strings, jumps – when the need arises – also in the defense, as a libero or even in the attack line. But then in April 1980 Weisweiler left FC for New York Cosmos – and the tablecloth between the shoemaker and the new trainer Karl-Heinz Heddergott tore quickly. An oral mud fight in the media begins. Schuster is said to have called Heddergott a “bottle” and “amateur”, Heddergott counters “snot spoon”. Schuster has to pay a hefty fine. From now on, some add a “B” to his nickname – blond angel. Blond kid.
In the 1980 DFB Cup final, FC lost 2-1 to Fortuna Düsseldorf. The European Championship in Italy begins 16 days later for Schuster and the DFB selection. Germany becomes European champion. Schuster received the silver bay leaf and switched to FC Barcelona for a rumored 3.6 million D-Marks, where he finally became a world star. He shares a room with teammate Diego Maradona, becomes champion, three-time Spanish cup winner and wins the European Cup Winners’ Cup. After eight years in Catalonia, he expanded his collection of titles at Real Madrid. He later played for city rivals Atletico.
Schuster’s career in the national team has already come to an abrupt end at this point. He only made 21 international matches. Judging by its qualities, a worse joke. It should have to be at least four times as many. The last time he wore the German jersey was 1984 – at the age of 24, Schuster had never got along very well with Bayern Munich’s Paul Breitner. The DFB-Elf was divided into groups. Schuster was the only member of the team to stay away from a private inauguration party hosted by national team colleague Hansi Müller, at which there were stories of “a lot of fruit and grain in liquid form”. He did not want to have to get on the early plane to Barcelona the next morning, tired and hungover. But he hadn’t told anyone about this motivation.
“A PR value like Frank Sinatra”
Before the 1986 World Cup, the new DFB team boss Franz Beckenbauer tries to bring the blond midfield virtuoso back. Bernd was basically ready, but Gaby is demanding that her husband take part in the World Cup one million D-Marks – net. A process that shocked the nation and closed the door to the national team forever.
Another return should also fail. In the fall of 1990, Udo Lattek became sports director at 1. FC Cologne. Schuster, who, according to 11Freunde magazine, has meanwhile threatened “Antje, the walrus”, is offered to FC. Lattek cancels with thanks – with the words: “He’s too slow. And he’s too fat. “
But what is a man without his stomach, Rainer Calmund probably thought and brought Schuster to Bayer 04 Leverkusen for the 1993/94 season. Leverkusen finished third, Schuster played a big role and brought glamor to the factory club. “He has a PR value like Frank Sinatra,” enthused Calmund at the time. For two years it went like clockwork, Schuster’s long-range goal against Frankfurt in August 1994 was voted goal of the decade in the ARD sports show. But then he quarreled with coach Erich Ribbek and was deleted from the squad on November 3, 1995. Because he defiantly sits on the Bayer Bank, he also loses the support of his teammate and is deposed as captain. Schuster ended his active career in 1997 at UNAM Pumas in Mexico City.
Real Madrid coach
He then completed his soccer teacher diploma at the Sports University in Cologne and became the head coach of the second division team Fortuna Cologne before taking his exams. It arouses the interest of FC President Albert Caspers, the shoemaker in 1997 for 1. FC Köln lott, who has just been relegated to the 2nd Bundesliga. The direct rise is missed with the historically worst FC season in 10th place in the 2nd Bundesliga and Schuster is replaced by Lienen after just one year. He then coached several Spanish first division clubs. He leads Real Madrid to the championship in 2008. Schuster is now 61 years old and is in his second marriage to a Spaniard. His marriage to Gaby ended in 2011 after more than 30 years.
A lob with a lot of feeling!
– 1. FC Köln (@fckoeln) October 21, 2021