Snapshot – Herbert Laumen and the rotten post

A defunct post almost ended up ruining Borussia Mönchengladbach’s championship winning season.

Some players become immortal due to their performances on the pitch, whilst others manage to get into the history books simply because of one single episode. The former Borussia Mönchengladbach striker Herbert Laumen is to be found in both categories.

Laumen’s 121 goals in 267 matches for The Foals is a tremendous strike rate(only Jupp Heynckes has managed to score more goals for the team from Lower-Rhine area), and the hattrick he managed to compile within the first nine minutes of Gladbach’s match against Hannover 96 in September 1967 is still the quickest in Bundesliga history. However, most Bundesliga fans who were around during his days as a player remember Laumen for one particular episode.

Causing historic change

The Foals playing at home at the legendary Bökelberg were chasing a late winner in their match against Werder Bremen on April 3rd 1971. Midfield magician Günter Netzer had one last chance to lift the ball into the area after the referee had awarded a free kick to Borussia Mönchengladbach on the right wing.

Werder’s keeper Günter Bernard managed to get to the ball before the onrushing Herbert Laumen and steered it over the bar. Usually that would have been that. However, the striker continued his flight towards the goal, not being able to stop before hitting the net. What happened afterwards is part of Bundesliga folklore. Laumen still has vivid memories from that moment, he told Welt Online:

Werder keeper Günter Bernard got to the ball before me, but I had so much pace that I flew straight into the net. Suddenly I realised that something was going on. I saw the goal collapsing, I tried to find cover and ended up being caught like a fish in the net. Trapped. There was loads of laughter coming from the Nordkurve. It was a spectacle.

You can take a look at the episode after 20 seconds of this YouTube clip.

Most people who meet Herbert Laumen these days want to talk about the rotten post that broke during the match between Gladbach and Werder. The striker was even nicknamed Pfostenbruch(broken post) after this particular episode.


There were even more far reaching consequences for Borussia Mönchengladbach and German football as a whole. The Foals weren’t awarded a re-match as they had hoped, Werder Bremen were given both points and a 2-0 win. This did almost ruin Borussia’s chances of winning the championship, but the team of Hennes Weisweiler managed to pull past Bayern in the table on the last match day of the season with a 4-1 away win against Eintracht Frankfurt(whilst Bayern lost 2-0 against MSV Duisburg).

To avoid similar mishaps in the future the DFB decided to replace the wooden goals by those that are made from aluminium.

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Header image courtesy of Die Welt.

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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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