Hannover come up short with Franca and 5 Other Botched Bundesliga Transfers

by Niklas Wildhagen

The Brazilian midfielder was presented by Hannover and Jörg Schmadkte as being 1.9 m tall and weighing 88 kilos. The sporting director may have been bang on about the weight. He was, however, wrong about the Brazilian’s height.

Hannover coach Mirko Slomka found out rather quickly that he had been short by a couple of inches the first time he met his new €1.3 million signing in Hannover’s locker room. The Reds coach Slomka stands rather tall at 1.87 m, but his supposed tall holding midfielder was a bit smaller than him when he met him for the first time in the Hannover locker room.

That realization led Slomka to ask his assistent to measure the new Brazilian signing, who, as it turned out, was only 1.81 m tall and not 1.9 m. Slomka was clearly frustrated about the situation, telling Bild:

What can I say? I’m surprised! Height was amongst the criteria we were looking for.

Second time unlucky

This isn’t the first time Hannover were not getting what they were looking during this year’s January transfer window. Earlier Polish midfielder Pawel Wszolek decided to stay at home in Warsaw instead of turning up for his scheduled medical examination. Sporting director Jörg Schmadkte took it upon himself to leave Hannover’s training camp to convince Wszolek to join the 96’ers. The Pole happily agreed to do so, but failed to turn up for his medical once again a few days later, prompting Hannover to call off the transfer all together.

Other botched transfers in Bundesliga history

Whilst Hannover were seemingly unlucky with some of their transfers this time around, they aren’t the only club in Bundesliga history that have made a couple of wrong calls whilst purchasing players. Here are our top five botched Bundesliga transfers.

1. 1. FC Köln’s officials were happy to have signed the Yugoslavian striker Cebinac after he had convinced during his trial at the club. What the club officials didn’t know was that they had signed Srdjan Cebinac, the twin brother of Zvezdan Cebina. It was in fact the far more talented Zvezdan who had attended the trial at the Billy Goats. Köln’s officials didn’t realize their blunder before it was too late. Srdjan ended up playing in three matches during his time in the Bundesliga. His twin brother Zvezdan had a far more succesful career, playing 56 matches for Nürnberg and 38 matches for Hannover scoring 8 goals in the process.

2. Alemannia Aachen had to dish out a transfer fee of 290,000 DM for the Australian midfielder Mark Rudan in 2001.  The player’s adviser, Franco Zelic, picked up the money in a suitcase and left town immediately. Later on Alemannia found out that Rudan’s former club Northern Spirit weren’t interested in charging the club any transfer fee whatsoever.

The documents in question were in fact forged. Rudan, Alemannia’s treasurer Bernd Krings and Zelic were all found guilty by a court in Aachen of defrauding the club, sentencing the three of them to suspended jail time on probation. The board at the club had to take their hats just the same. A costly transfer for all of the parties involved in the deal.

3. Former Schalke president Günter Eichberg was back in his day known as ”The King of the sun” amongst the Schalke faithful. His love for the club prompted him to pump a considerable amount of his private money into the club, almost leading to Eichberg’s own financial demise. His unskilled handling of finances was on display when the Royal Blues tried to sign Radmilo Mihajlović from Bayern München.

After Uli Honess had managed to trick Eichberg into believing that he might pull out of the deal, Eichberg chose to up his offer by 500,000 DM(even though the two clubs already had agreed on a transfer fee). The King of the sun was far from finished though. Upon meeting Mihajlović he asked him to fill in the sums of his sign on fee and his wages into the contract. The Yugoslavian was somewhat befuddled by that negotiation tactic, but managed to fill out the blanks in the end, granting himself a sign on fee for the rather generous amount of 1.6 million DM, a yearly guaranteed wage of 500,000 DM, a rent free house and a Mercedes. The striker stayed at the Royal Blues for two seasons, scoring 12 goals in 58 matches.

4. Werder Bremen manager Willi Lemke and his coach Wolfgang Sidka made the long trip from the Weser to Kiev to make sure that Dinamo Kiev’s Jurij Maximov would sign for the green and whites. Whilst being in the Ukrainian capital Dinamo’s officials offered the two of them to broaden the deal, offering them a young striker by the name of Andrij Schewtschenko. Werder declined the deal, insisting upon signing Maximov only. The Ukrainian midfielder ended up playing four seasons at the club, scoring 9 goals in 69 matches for the River Islanders. Schewtschenko on the other hand went on to better and bigger clubs than Werder.

5. FC Augsburg were rather thrilled to have signed one of their biggest talents, an 18-year-old Bernd Schuster, onto their team’s roster. The young midfield prodigy had however also signed a deal at Borussia Mönchengladbach and 1. FC Köln. Schuster did in the end start his long and illustrious career as a professional footballer at Köln.

Did we forget to mention any particularly dreadful transfers? Let us know and leave a comment below!

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Author:Niklas Wildhagen

Niklas is a 28-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 and on the @AufstiegPod.
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