Helmut Rahn (1929 – 2003)

Helmut Rahn (August 16, 1929 – August 14, 2003) gave West Germany the World Cup title in 1954. Cheerful freebooter, hothead but above all talented right winger.

Rahn was a German football player. The right winger played for Rot-Weiss Essen for years and subsequently for Sportclub Enschede in the Netherlands. He played 40 caps for West Germany and scored the winning goal for his country in the final of the 1954 FIFA World Cup. He was known by the nicknames 'Der Boss' and 'Het Kanon van Essen'. This because he had a devastating shot in both legs.

Helmut Rahn played with several smaller clubs before he was signed to Rot-Weiss Essen in 1951. With Rot-Weiss he won the DFB-Pokal in 1953 and the national title in 1955. Rahn played his first international match in 1951. With West Germany, he played in the 1954 World Cup in the final against Hungary, a team that at the time was known as invincible and was nicknamed Magic Magyars.

Earlier in the tournament, Germany had been beaten 8-3 by Hungary. In the final, West Germany was 2-0 behind, but a goal from Rahn, among other things, leveled the score again before half-time. In the 84th minute, Rahn scored the winning 3-2, bringing about the miracle of Bern and making himself a football legend.

The comment of 'messenger statter' Zimmermann 'became world famous: "Kopfball abgewehrt. Aus dem Hintergrund müsste Rahn schiessen. Rahn schiesst. Toooor. Toor. Tooor! Halten Sie mich verrückt, halten Sie mich für übergeschnappt! "

Rahn played for Rot-Weiss until 1959. He was also present at the 1958 FIFA World Cup, where West Germany lost to home country Sweden in the semi-finals and eventually finished fourth. At the two World Cups in which he participated, Rahn scored ten goals.

In 1959 he moved to 1. FC Köln and a year later he signed a contract with Sportclub Enschede. He played for the Dutch team for three years. During this period, he had problems with the German judicial authorities for repeated drunk driving. When he crossed the border from his hometown of Enschede in January 1963 to Gronau to take his son to school, he was arrested following an earlier conviction and detained for four weeks.

He had missed the 1962 World Cup the year before, because in the eyes of national coach Sepp Herberger he was more than three kilos too heavy, had no fitness and played poorly and too individualistically. This while national coach Sepberger described him earlier: "Ein meister der positiven Improvisation, bei dem man ummer mit Rahn Uberrachungen rechnen muss". Rahn played 40 international matches for West Germany between 1951 and 1960, scoring 21 times.

In 1963 he returned to West Germany to play for Meidericher SV. It was the year that the Bundesliga started and Rahn was the first player to receive the red card in the fourth round. The first season with Meidericher, Rahn still played regularly, but in his second and third season he was barely drafted due to injuries.

In 1965 he decided to end his football career. Helmut Rahn was then active in the car trade. He died, living for years as a hermit in 2003, shortly before his 74th birthday. A year after his death, a statue of Rahn was unveiled at the Georg-Melches-Stadium in Essen. The statue will eventually be placed on the planned Helmut-Rahn-Platz in front of the stadium. The documentary Das Wunder von Bern by director Sönke Wortmann, which was released shortly after his death, is dedicated to Rahn.

(Photo: Wikipedia)

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