Snapshot – Giovanni Trappatoni Gets His Math Wrong

”Dietmar Hamann isn’t Maradonna!”

It’s the 26th match day of the 1994/95 season. A lot has gone wrong for Bayern München under their new coach Giovanni Trappatoni, but today isn’t one of these days it seems. Bayern are leading against Eintracht Frankfurt by 3-2.

Bayern’s Italian head coach decides to strengthen his midfield by taking off the hard-working Marcel Witeczek and bringing on Dietmar Hamann in the 72nd minute. Bayern’s press officer Markus Hörwick is in the stands at the time and he knows that something terrible is about to happen. He tries to get in touch with  Bayern’s assistant coach Klaus Augenthaler by yelling ”Auge” (editor’s note: Augenthaler’s nickname) over and over again. The assistant doesn’t react, so Hörwick makes his way down to the bench. Upon arriving, he realizes that Hamann already has been subbed onto the pitch.

And whilst Bayern’s managing director Karl Hopfner and Hörwick are in state of shock, the game continues. Bayern manage to pull away after Hamann has entered the pitch, and goals by Frey and Ziege give Bayern a comfortable 5-2 win in the end. Or, so it would seem.

Hopfner and Hörwick, on the other hand, had spotted a fatal mistake before those two goals were scored. The rules of the DFB at the time allowed Bundesliga teams to only field three amateur players at the same time. Hamann was fourth amateur player who had entered the pitch for Bayern on that day. Amateur goalie Sven Scheuer and defender Samy Kuffour had started the game for Bayern, and later on Marko Grimm was substituted onto the pitch for Thomas Helmer.

Eintracht’s manager Bernd Hölzenbein was well aware of Trappatoni’s faux pas during the match. The rest of the public knew about Trapp’s math error 30 minutes after the final whistle. The Italian admitted after the match:

This is my fault and my fault alone. I should have known the German rules.

However, Trappatoni was also a bit befuddled by that particular German law, stating:

In Italy I would have gotten a bonus if I had won a match with four amateurs on the pitch.

Klaus Augenthaler, on the other, blamed Marko Grimm for what had happened:

Grimm was the odd man out there, nobody had taken him into account.

Marko Grimm’s appearance against Eintracht Frankfurt was the only ever match he played for the Bavarians.

No mercy from the DFB

Uli Hoeness, however, had his own take on the matter,

Dietmar Hamann isn’t Diego Maradonna!

the Bayern manager stated, adding that his team didn’t gain an unfair advantage by subbing on a fourth amateur.

Bayern’s lawyer Reinhard Rauball (editor’s note: the current boss of the DFL and Borussia Dortmund’s president) used Hoeness argument as Bayern’s line of defence during hearing with the DFB. However, the law clearly stated at the time that a Bundesliga team couldn’t use four amateur players at the same time, and the game’s end result was changed from 5-2 for Bayern to 2-0 win for Eintracht Frankfurt.

Trapp’s Company

Blissful ignorance and being unaware of the German rules were excuses Trappatoni and Bayern could use after their win was turned into a loss by the DFB. However, Trappatoni is far from the only coach who has made mess of a substitution in the Bundesliga.

The first coach to to break the German rules was Köln coach Hennes Weisweiler in 1977. He brought on a third foreign player in the Billy Goat’s away match against Eintracht Frankfurt. At the time the DFB only allowed two foreign players on the pitch at any given time. Both Winfried Schäfer and the legendary Otto Rehhagel made the same mistake in the 90s (editor’s note: The DFB allowed three foreign players on the pitch at any given time at that stage).

And funnily enough, Eintracht’s coach Horst Hesse made the same mistake when his team beat Bayer Uerdingen 5-2 in the Rückrunde of the 1992/93. The DFB turned the end result into a 2-0 win for Uerdingen after the West-Germans had handed in a protest.

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Header courtesy of dpa

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Niklas Wildhagen

Niklas is a 33-year-old football writer and podcaster who has been following the Bundesliga and German football since the early 90s. You can follow him on Twitter, @normusings, and listen to his opinions on @TalkingFussball.

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