Amateur German club follow Bielsa, allows opposition to score

2020-10-18 12:05:17 GMT2020-10-18 20:05:17(Beijing Time) Xinhua English

By Oliver Trust

BERLIN, Oct 18 (Xinhua) -- The German fifth-tier club Stuttgarter Kickers provided a football oddity this weekend when its club's coach, Ramon Gehrmann, ordered his team to concede an own goal - and the side duly complied.

In an act that follows the example set by Leeds United and Marcelo Bielsa in the English Championship in 2018. The incredible gesture won plaudits from around world football with Leeds and the inspirational coach receiving the FIFA Fair Play award that year.

In the 45th minute of the home game against FC Noettingen (4-1), midfielder Lukas Kling ran up the pitch to plant the ball in his own net. Though initially totally confused, everybody in the stadium quickly acknowledges the player's unusual gesture of fair-play.

A Noettingen player had deliberately kicked the ball into touch to allow treatment for an injured team-mate with Stuttgart 1-0 up at the time.

An unwritten law of football now expects the other team to return the ball to the opponents in keeping with fair-play.

In this case, the Kickers didn't follow the unwritten code and claimed not to have recognized the action's meaning. Instead, the host-team started a counter-attack and scored to put them 2-0 up.

Their coach told them to put through their own net after first consulting with the referee. The ref told him the ball was deliberately played outside to allow treatment.

From deep in the Kickers' half, Kling kicked the ball back in the direction of his team's goal, and the ball passed the line without further contact.

An excellent performance in the second half saw the Kickers eventually run out 4-1 winners in the games between the league's second and third-placed teams.

"It was a great gesture of the Kickers. You don't see fair-play like that in football too often. Especially in turbulent times like today, it tells us there are more important things in life than sport. It is important to make important decisions," Noettingen coach Marcus Wenninger commented.

The Kickers coach spoke about a "Kharma account" that they had just made a deposit." Last weekend, he continued, "we were the lucky ones by scoring the winner in the last minute. Now we have been paid back and might enjoy credit on our account."

He admitted not all of his players were happy about the action at half time but later understood the meaning.

Kickers manager Lutz Siebrecht praised his team's and coach's action as something "unique." He admitted to having never before experienced something similar. "I am full of respect for team and coach for reacting like that."

In 1992, the Kickers were relegated from the Bundesliga and have since dropped down to the fifth-tier. In 1987, the Stuttgart club lost the German Cup final against the Hamburger SV 3-1.

Several well-known German internationals such as Juergen Klinsmann, Guido Buchwald, and Karl Allgoewer all started their career at the Kickers. Enditem