Germany World Cup winner Andreas Brehme dies aged 63 after cardiac arrest

Defender scored winner in 1990 final against Argentina from the penalty spot

Tributes have poured in after Andreas Brehme, the scorer of the goal that won West Germany the 1990 World Cup, died on Tuesday morning at the age of 63. The left back was a Bundesliga winner with Kaiserslautern and Bayern Munich and won the Scudetto with Inter Milan.

“I can’t believe it,” Brehme’s former international team-mate Rudi Völler said. “The news of Andreas’s sudden death makes me incredibly sad. Andi was our World Cup hero, but for me he was much more. He was my close friend and companion to this day. I will miss his wonderful love of life.”

Another West Germany team-mate, Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, added: “The news has hit me hard and I am shocked. We played at the 1986 World Cup in Mexico together and Andi was a great team player, extremely loyal and reliable. His joy of life was always infectious and the fact that he has left us at the age of 63 is very sad.”

Brehme’s partner Susanne Schaefer confirmed the news of his death in a statement, saying he died “suddenly and unexpectedly” in the night from a cardiac arrest. Apart from Kaiserslautern, Bayern and Inter, he also represented FC Saarbrücken and Real Zaragoza. He went into coaching, notably with Kaiserslautern, from 2000 to 2006.


The defender was part of the West Germany team that lost the 1986 World Cup final to Argentina but scored the 85th-minute penalty that decided the game when the teams met again four years later at the same stage of the tournament in Rome. On Tuesday, reacting to Brehme’s death, ­newspapers in Germany referred to the spot-kick as a “penalty for the ages”.

Remarkably he took the penalty with his supposedly weaker foot, his right, although he was extremely two-footed. On Tuesday the German newspaper Bild recalled the story of how Brehme was not even supposed to take the penalty but that Lothar Matthäus was playing in his replacement boots and “did not feel comfortable taking it”.

To increase the pressure even further Völler walked up to his team-mate just before he was taking the penalty and said: “If you score this we are world champions.” Brehme was unaffected, though, and dispatched the spot-kick to the right of the Argentina goalkeeper Sergio Goycochea.

Brehme was born in Hamburg and played for Barmbek-Uhlenhorst throughout his youth. “My dad [Bernd] made sure I was two-footed and when your dad is your coach you have to do more than the others in the team,” he said.

His death comes less than two months after that of Franz Beckenbauer, who coached West Germany to that 1990 triumph and had also won the tournament as a player. One of Brehme’s former clubs, Bayern, tweeted: “FC Bayern are extremely saddened by the sudden passing of Andreas Brehme. We extend our deepest sympathies to his family and friends. Andreas Brehme will forever be in our hearts, as a World Cup winner and, more importantly, as a very special person. He will for ever be part of the FC Bayern family. Rest in peace, Andi!”

Kaiserslautern also paid tribute to their former left back, saying: “He wore the Red Devils’ shirt for a total of 10 years and became German champion and German Cup winner with FCK. In 1990 he fired the German national team to the World Cup title with his penalty and became a football legend. The FCK family is in deep mourning.”

The German football federation president, Bernd Neuendorf, said: “He was one of Germany’s greatest and best players of all time. German football owes him a lot.” – Guardian