Manfred Burgsmüller (1949 – 2019)

'Oldie mit 29, Goldie mit 39', the career of the German Torjäger Manfred 'Manni' Burgsmüller (22 December 1949 – 18 May – 2019) can be best described. In 1978 too old for the German Nationalmannschaft. Ten! years later he shined in the shirt of Werder Bremen. 

Burgsmüller grew up in Essen and was a street footballer pur sang. A lightweight who enjoyed fooling his opponents and, preferably, playing through the legs at a young age. That gave him a big kick, which caused him to break his tibia and get into the cast. Manni was forced to sit at home and watch other children play football on the street through the window. For a long time he didn't last, and when it was somewhat possible, he just joined in again. With his leg still in plaster…

In his younger years, Burgsmüller commuted back and forth between Rot Weiß Essen and Bayer Uerdingen, until he was contracted by borussia Dortmund in 1976. At the BVB, the top marksman played mainly as a midfielder. Still, he had his most productive season of his career.  In the football year 1980/81 he put no less than 27 balls in the net. That was only two fewer than Bayern Munich's Karl Heinz Rummenigge.

In 1983 Borussia found Manni well in Dortmund and moved to the 1. FC Nuremberg. He stayed there only one season and then returned to his childhood sweetheart Rot Weiß Essen. In Essen he continued to do what he was good at: scoring goals. He made 29 in one season, prompting his then-coach to remark, "Jewels funkeln auch im Alter!"

In November 1985, something remarkable happened in Burgsmüller's career. At the age of 36 he made his comeback in the Bundesliga. Werder Bremen was looking for a stand-in for Rudy Völler who was regularly injured and coach Otto Rehagel dropped his eye on Burgsmüller. Football-loving Germany doesn't understand the transfer. Rehagel bringing a Fußball grandfather to Werder. The fact that Burgsmüller does not mince words is also cited by the German press for making fun of Rehagel's choice. "Ein Spieler, der mir keine Schwierigkeiten power, macht auch dem Gegner keine", parry der Otto the journalists.

And Rehagel was right. In 1988 Werder became champion and the 39-year-old Manfred Burgsmüller had a large share in the Meisterschaft. Two years later, Burgsmüller announced his end of his career. He'll be 41.

Burgsmüller knew no luck international. He was summoned only three times. In 1978, Bundestrainer Helmut Schön thought he was too old for the national team. Moreover, Manni's big mouth could have a negative effect on younger players within the team.

After his active football career, Burgsmüller continued to kick a ball, although it was far from complete. In 1996 he joined the American football team Düsseldorf Rheinfire as a kicker. In 2002 he retired at the age of 52. The body doesn't want any more. The osteoarthritis in both legs, sustained by the many spades and – according to his own words – in particular an attack by Georg Schwarzenbeck in 1975, make the exercise impossible.

From 2004 he was coach of an amateur club away from Dortmund for some time. He caused a stir by letting his team play friendly against Tibet and against the ladies team of Bad Neunahr who play in the Bundesliga. A German TV crew followed Manni during his coaching and released a DVD that sold out in no time.

Manfred Burgsmüller died on Saturday, May 18, 2019. He's 69 years old.

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