As we approach this summer’s World Cup finals in Brazil and reflect on the Nationalmannschaft’s last meeting with Poland in Hamburg – which would see a skeleton C-Elf take to the field – we stay in the Hansastadt for the feature on our ninth One-Cap Wonder, Dietmar Beiersdorfer.
Hannover, 1st May 1991
One of the key players at the Volksparkstadion between 1986 and 1992, the versatile but largely unheralded Beiersdorfer would make his debut for the German national team in the late spring of 1991 against Belgium in Hannover at the age of twenty-seven, slotting into the established Manndecker role. While he would have never expected to have a long international career having started so late, Beiersdorfer would certainly have been disappointed to not have the opportunity to add to his solitary international cap.
Born in the Franconian city of Fürth on 16th November 1963, Beiersdorfer’s youth career would be spent at a number of local lower league clubs – and having started out as a striker he would soon develop into a solid and reliable centre-back. After spells at ASV Herzogenaurach and 1. FC 1901 Bamberg, in 1985 at the age of twenty-three Beiersdorfer would return to play for his home town side SpVgg Fürth, then in the third-tier Oberliga Bayern.
During his first season in Fürth Beiersdorfer would be spotted by scouts from Hamburg, and in 1986 would make his way up north along with team mate Manfred Kastl. It would be a major leap for the young central defender cum Libero, but his quality would immediately be evident. He quickly became a fixture in the Hamburg team, and in his first season of top-flight football at the Volksparkstadion would make twenty-five league appearances, scoring one goal.
Having been playing in the regional league just a year earlier, Beiersdorfer’s dream first season with HSV would end in the best way possible. The club would reach the final of the DFB-Pokal against Stuttgarter Kickers, and after a shaky start that had seen them fall behind in the thirteenth minute Die Rothosen would power through to a 3-1 win. The scorer of their crucial equalising goal would be none other than the young Innerverteidiger.
Consistent showings would earn a call-up to Berti Vogts’ side during the Euro 1992 qualification campaign, and Beiersdorfer would finally make his full international debut against Belgium at Hannover’s Niedersachsenstadion in place of the injured Jürgen Kohler.
After taking the lead in the third minute through skipper Lothar Matthäus, the Nationalmannschaft would huff and puff just a little before seeing the match through to claim the points. Beiersdorfer would do all that would be asked of him in helping the defence keep a clean sheet, but Kohler’s return for the following month’s meeting in Cardiff against Wales would consign Beiersdorfer to the bench.
The HSV defender had gained positive reviews from those that had watched the game in Hannover, but with such a number of quality defenders around at the time it was always going to be a challenge for Beiersdorfer to secure a regular place in the team. Were he around today, it is highly likely that he would have made more than just the one international appearance.
Always on the fringe, Dietmar Beiersdorfer would never advance beyond his one international cap
Beiersdorfer would remain in the coach’s line of sight after the summer of 1991 in being named in the squad for the friendly against England in September, but once again he wouldn’t get any time on the pitch. As the season went on he would slowly drift out of focus, with Eintracht Frankfurt’s Manfred Binz vying for the same slot. Binz would be named in the Euro 1992 squad with Beiersdorfer missing out, and that would pretty much be that.
Having made 174 appearances for HSV Beiersdorfer would make a controversial move to northern rivals Werder Bremen, where he would slot into a team challenging for the Bundesliga title. His first season at the Weserstadion would see him pick up his first championship medal, and the following year he would win a second DFB-Pokal medal with a 3-1 win over second division Rot-Weiss Essen. As in his first cup final with Hamburg, Beiersdorfer would find the back of the net in the final, scoring Bremen’s opening goal after seventeen minutes.
Having been an almost permanent fixture in the Bremen side Beiersdorfer would spend most of the following season out of action through injury, which would also signal the end of his spell in Bremen. A move to 1. FC Köln would follow, and after one season at the Mungersdorferstadion he would move to A.C. Reggiana 1919 in Serie A. His spell in Italy would be short-lived however, as injury would soon catch up with him again. In 1997, Beiersfdorfer would call time on his playing career.
Unlike many of his colleagues who had taken the route straight into coaching, Beiersdorfer would take time out of the game to return to school, studying business administration in Bremen before staying on familiar ground in Hamburg to earn a degree in Business administration at the Hochschule für Wirtschaft in 2001. The following year he would return to HSV in an administrative capacity, and in 2003 would take on the role of sporting director – a position he would hold for six years.
Having succeeded in taking the straight path into the corridors of football administration, Beiersdorfer would take on a similar role at Austrian 1. Bundesliga club Red Bull Salzburg before being released in 2011. The following year, he would be appointed as sports director at Russian club Zenit St. Petersburg.