The life of a Bundesliga professional is a privileged one, earning thousands of Euros and enjoying the high-life of a top level sportsman. However, not all of them have the perfect attitude expected, and one or two down the years have fallen foul of the law.
Just this week Uffe Bech was found guilty of biting a Schalke fan inside Hannover’s stadium after being charged with actual bodily harm. A fine of €50,000 has also been levied. The Dane is going to appeal claiming he was acting in self-defence
From robbery, to assault, from arson to drink-driving, we have a criminal charge sheet as long as the list of problems at Hamburger SV.
Here we look at a Bundesliga XI of players who have fallen foul of the long arm of the law. We present the Bundesliga rogues eleven…
1 Pavel Macak
The Czech goalkeeper made 16 appearances for Schalke between 1983 and 1987 as a back-up. However after retiring he took the wrong path and in 2005 the district court of Amberg sent him to prison for six months after the former Königsblauen custodian had notched up 15 criminal offences including cigarette smuggling, washing powder theft (!) and fraud.
2 Christian Lell
The ex-Bayern Munich and Hertha Berlin defender has had a number of run-ins with the law. In November 2007 Lell was arrested following an assault in a nightclub in Munich and was forced to pay a fine of €160,000. In January 2014 he was once again in trouble after his girlfriend had him arrested in Spain for assaulting her. He has also made the headlines for drug possession.
Bayern Munich’s Brazilian defender was arrested in September 2011 on suspicion of the arson of his own rented villa, which caused an estimated €1.5 million worth of damage.
Breno Vinicius Rodrigues Borges was convicted and sentenced to three years and nine months in prison. He was released in August 2013 and taken in by Bayern being given a role as coach of the U-23 squad.
4 Marcelo Pletsch
Brazilian-born defender Marcelo Pletsch made some 142 appearances for Borussia Mönchengladbach between 1999 and 2005. He left the club after being suspended for calling the Fohlen a “shitty club” and director of football Christian Hochstätter a “backstabber.”
In November 2015, Pletsch was arrested for drug trafficking after police seized his truck carrying which was carrying 793.3 kilograms of marijuana near Toledo. In October 2016, he was sentenced to a prison term of nine years and two months.
5 Thomas Hajto
In January 2008, former Duisburg, Schalke and Nürnberg defender Thomas Hajto was found guilty of manslaughter after speeding in his car and killing a female pedestrian at a zebra crossing on a street in Łódź.
He pleaded guilty to the charge and was handed a suspended two-year jail sentence, while also ordered to pay a fine of 7,000 Polish złotys and given a one-year driving ban. Hajto had previously been in trouble with the police in 2004 for dealing in smuggled cigarettes
6 Maurizio Gaudino
While playing for Eintracht Frankfurt back in 1994, midfielder Maurizio Gaudino was forced to confess to police that he was a member of a crime ring who stole expensive cars, which were sold in Eastern Europe, while the owners falsely claimed on their insurance.
The five times capped German international was later charged and sentenced to two years in prison, which was suspended for three years on probation. In addition, Gaudino had to pay a fine of 180,000 marks.
7 Jürgen Sobieray
The former Borussia Dortmund and Schalke midfielder was found guilty of fraud in Germany in 2001 and sentenced to three-and-a-half years in prison. In the mid 1990’s Sobieray cheated a number of investors out of around 2.2 million marks when he set up a company to supposedly profit from lucrative transfers. The only person who actually profited was Sobieray until the long arm of the caught up with him and he was put behind bars.
8 Marco Reus
Back in December 2014 Borussia Dortmund star Marco Reus was fined a whopping €540,000 (the maximum penalty allowed) for a series of driving offences including driving without a licence and a host of speeding tickets.
Reus had been driving since 2011 without a licence, but did finally pass his test in August 2016 having been hit heavily in the pocket by the German authorities. Insert your own Rolls Reus joke here…
9 Thorsten Legat
He may have impressed as a midfield hard man for Bochum, Werder Bremen, Eintracht Frankfurt, VfB Stuttgart and Schalke, but Thorsten Legat made just as many headlines off the pitch.
On New Years’ Eve 1997 he put a man in hospital following an altercation in a Bochum nightclub. Ten years later he was once again on the wrong side of the law when he threatened a group of youths with a samurai sword in a car park. He was charged with attempted dangerous bodily injury and settled for a €1000 donation to a charity.
10 Willi Kraus
Bundesliga striker Willi Kraus was seemingly better at breaking the law than he was at playing football. In two seasons with Schalke between 1966 and 1968 he did score an impressive 16 goals in 36 appearances, but his slide into crime ended his career.
Having previously been fined by the club for attacking a barman at a local café, Kraus had his contract terminated in February 1968 when police stopped his car and found stolen goods from a burglary, a loaded gun and propane gas used to open vaults.
Twelve months later he was arrested for the robbery of a host of kiosks in Osnabrück and in 1969 he was sentenced to seven years in prison for a bank robbery. He died in October 2008 while waiting to be charged for further weapons offences.
11 Gerald Asamoah
What is it with Schalke players and the law? Another Knappen star to find himself in trouble was Gerald Asamoah. The then 35-year-old crashed his VW Phaeton Limousine into a tree in 2014 while driving under the influence of alcohol.
He had his driving licence seized by the authorities and received a three-month driving ban as a result.
Sub: Michael Ballack
When Michael Ballack bought his girlfriend a designer handbag in Dubai back in 2006, he probably thought he was making a romantic gesture. However, by not declaring the £1,350 Fendi handbag to customs when he landed in Munich, he was hit with a charge of tax-evasion.
Ballack appealed against the €50,000 fine, but when he failed, was forced to pay an additional €20,000 in costs. That was one expensive romantic gesture!
Sub: Marco Russ
The Eintracht Frankfurt defender found himself in double trouble back in 2015 when he was caught speeding in his car near Limburg. Rather than attending the court as requested, Russ concocted a medical exemption that stated he was unfit to appear.
However, when the courts realised that he was actually playing in a test game for Frankfurt on the same day, they hit him with a €160,000 fine.
Sub: Takashi Inui
Another Frankfurt player makes the subs bench with Japanese Takashi Inui falling ‘foul’ of the law back in 2013. The Adler midfielder was detained at Frankfurt airport for not declaring
The paper claimed that on January 2nd, the midfielder was detained for not declaring the €3000 euros he had on him as well as an expensive watch. Upon being escorted by customs officers, he apparently dropped the f-bomb a few times and “intentionally farted” in a supposed act of defiance. For the flatulence, he was fined €250.
Coach: Christoph Daum
A team of law-breakers really should be coached by a fellow bad boy, and in the infamous Christoph Daum we have just the trainer.
After Germany’s abysmal display at Euro 2000 Bayer Leverkusen trainer Daum was hotly tipped to become the next Bundestrainer. However when the Bild newspaper published shocking allegations of using both drugs and prostitutes, it all went wrong for him.
He threatened the press and gave hair samples to the authorities to convince everybody about his innocence. The samples showed that he was a cocaine user but he told the press that the hairs were not his. However, one year later, facing the prospect of jail time, Daum admitted he had used cocaine.
The DFB subsequently withdrew their offer of the national team job and handed it to Rudi Völler instead.
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