In between the arguably less important matter of the international fixtures being played around Europe this week, a charity match was played in Frankfurt on Sunday 14th October between two sets of former players from Germany and Italy, billed as the “Match of the Century”.
Wisely perhaps, former Nationaltrainer Rudi Völler opted out of on-field time by taking up the post of the German team coach – taking charge of a team that included past team-mates such as Lothar Matthäus and Andreas Brehme, and more recent members of the Nationalmannschaft including the recently-retired Michael Ballack.
Played in front of an excellent crowd of thirty thousand at the Commerzbank-Arena, the game would finish 1-1 in normal time, with Christian Vieri’s 23rd minute strike for the Italians being cancelled out by a 77th minute own goal from Roberto Mussi – only for the Germans to go down 5-4 in the resulting penalty shootout.
In his first match as a “veteran” Ballack would score from his kick in the shootout, only for Euro 96 winner Fredi Bobic to miss and hand the victory to the Azzurri. So, even as oldies, the Germans still cannot beat the old foes.
The biggest winners of course would be the charity “Ein Herz für Kinder”, for which a six-figure sum would be collected. 🙂