The Nationalmannschaft’s tournament in France ended as quickly as it had begun, with elimination in the first round. Drawn against a solid but not unbeatable Swiss team, Sepp Herberger’s men took the lead through Jupp Gauchel only for the opposition to pull level two minutes before half-time. The score remained 1-1 after ninety minutes, which sent the match into extra time.
Six minutes into the first period, Switzerland were handed a one-man advantage when Rapid Wien’s Hans Pesser was sent off by Belgian referee John Langenus – thus becoming the first player wearing the Schwarz und Weiß to be dismissed from the field of play in a World Cup finals match. Despite being a man down Germany managed to stay in the game – the score remained deadlocked until the end of extra time, which meant that a replay had to be scheduled.
The replay five days later at the Parc des Princes saw Germany get off to an even better start, racing into a two-goal lead with just twenty-two minutes gone on the clock. However that was as good as it got for the Mannschaft – the Swiss pulled the score back to 2-1 just before the break, and scored three more unanswered goals in the second half to secure a well-deserved and not at all flattering 4-2 victory.
The ignomony of the team’s first-phase elimination was a slap in the face for the Nazi regime, and was the perfect summation of all their efforts to manipulate the team for their own political ends; in their vain and ultimately futile attempt create a new Supermannschaft, they had only succeeded in destroying two great ones.
First Round v Switzerland, Parc des Princes, Paris, 04.06.1938
1-1 aet (1-1, 1-1)
Gauchel 29. / Abbeglen 43.
Germany: Raftl – Janes, Schmaus – Kupfer, Mock (c), Kitzinger – Lehner, Gellesch, Gauchel, Hahnemann, Pesser
Switzerland: Huber – Minelli, Lehmann – Springer, Vernati, Lörtscher – Amado, Trello Abegglen, Bickel, Walaschek, G. Aeby
Referee: John Julien Langenus (Belgium)
Assistants: Paul Marenco (France), Johannes van Moorsel (Netherlands)
Dismissals: Pesser 96. / –
First Round Replay v Switzerland, Parc des Princes, Paris, 09.06.1938
Hahnemann 8., Lörtscher og 22. / Walaschek 42., Bickel 64., Abegglen 75., 78.
Germany: Raftl – Janes, Streitle – Kupfer, Goldbrunner, Skoumal – Lehner, Stroh, Hahnemann, Szepan (c), Neumer
Switzerland: Huber – Minelli, Lehmann – Springer, Vernati, Lörtscher – Bickel, Trello Abegglen, Amado, Walaschek, G. Aeby
Referee: Ivan Eklind (Sweden)
Assistants: Louis Baert (Belgium), John van Moorsel (Netherlands)
Dismissals: – / –