Germany meets Turkey: May friendship win!

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Germany and Turkey will compete against each other on October 7th at the test match in Cologne. The teams have played 25 games so far. A memorable meeting took place in October 1999 in the Olympic Stadium in Munich.

The national soccer teams of Turkey and Germany played an unforgettable European Championship qualifying match in the Munich Olympic Stadium on October 9, 1999. With a victory, Turkey would have qualified directly for the EM 2000. Otherwise, qualification was also possible through a second place in the play-offs. The Turkish national team had arrived five days earlier. Their training camp was located in the Austrian Tyrol.

Friendly reception in Germany

The Turkish team was warmly welcomed in Germany. At the airport, the players could pass through the VIP area without having to wait long at passport control. Turkey was also provided with a team bus from FC Bayern Munich, which could be used until departure.

“Talented Turks”

The then coach of the German national team, Erich Ribbeck, said in an interview before the game that there were extremely talented and promising young people with a Turkish migration background in the youth leagues. For a long time, he said, no attention had been paid to them. But now it was time to open the doors of the national team to these players – so that they would not first be snatched away by the Turkish national team.

The half- Turk Mehmet Scholl attracted a lot of attention at that time. The former FC Bayern Munich player played 36 games for the German national team.

Mehmet Scholl (left) in a duel with Tayfun Korkut.
Reuters

Mustafa Doğan, who played for the traditional Istanbul club Fenerbahçe, also played for the German national team and was substituted in the last minutes of the game.

October 8, 1999: The new coach of the German national team, Erich Ribbeck (right), leaves the field with Turkish-born German player Mustafa Doğan during a training session. The next day, Germany played its European Championship qualifying match against Turkey.
Reuters

Joachim Löw, who had coached Fenerbahçe in the 1998/99 season, praised playmaker Sergen Yalçın, who had been his protégé at Fenerbahçe. During an interview with the Turkish press, he told the press that Turkey was the favorite in the match against Germany.

Germany experienced an away game

At that time, Turkey was still dealing with the devastating earthquake in the Marmara region on August 17. But on October 9, 1999, only the game against Germany was on the agenda everywhere.

The game was kicked off at 18:30. In the live broadcasts before the game, many Turkey fans could be seen running through the streets of Munich with their flags.

Turkey fans in front of the Munich Olympic Stadium.
AA Archives

All the presidents of the soccer clubs from the Turkish Süper Lig had flown to Munich for the match. Zdenek Zeman, the then newly appointed coach of Fenerbahçe, was also in the stands.

Before the game, the famous Turkish singer Tarkan gave a mini-concert on the pitch.

The Turkish singer Tarkan gave a mini-concert before the soccer game.
AA Archives

The stadium was mainly occupied by fans of the Turkish national team. There were reports that many tickets had been sold on the black market.

The Turkish national team delivered a good game, but the attacks did not lead to the goal that had been longed for: the game ended in a draw. Turkey had to go to the play-offs a month later and thus qualified for the European Championship 2000.

Sergen Yalçın attracts the attention of FC Bayern Munich

Before the game, the German press had compared Sergen Yalçın with Maradona. His performance on that day showed that the comparison was justified.

His handling of the ball, his passes, his dribbling, in short his playing intelligence made him the star of the evening. Sergen performed magic with the ball and slid past Lothar Matthäus. With this move, he embarrassed the people who repeatedly claimed that he hardly ever runs.

The German players (from left to right) Christian Ziege, Oliver Bierhoff, Christian Nerlinger, Jens Jeremies and Lothar Matthäus jumped to the free kick of the Turkish playmaker Sergen Yalçın during their European Championship qualifying game in the Munich Olympic Stadium on October 9th.
Reuters

Years later, when Sergen shared his memories of this game with the public, he told them that he had spent the night before the Germany game sleepless due to relationship problems. He had been on the phone with his girlfriend for hours.

Zeman, the then new Fenerbahçe coach, was also among the spectators in the stands. At the time, Sergen was playing for Fenerbahçe. The Italian coach said in an interview at the end of the game that he was delighted with him. But the two were not to get along with each other in the ensuing period at Fenerbahçe.

After the final whistle, referee Pierluigi Collina congratulated Turkish soccer star Sergen on his performance and gave him a hug.

After the game there were rumors in some newspapers that the president of Bayern Munich, Franz Beckenbauer, was interested in Sergen and wanted to transfer him. At that time he was on loan to Fenerbahçe. Years later, the experienced player told about these transfer rumors. After researching his life, Bayern Munich decided not to transfer him.

Mehmet Scholl wears the Turkish jersey

The Turkish and German players exchanged their jerseys after the game. Jens Jeremies swapped his jersey with Sergen, who wore the back number 10.

Mehmet Scholl received the jersey from Ali Eren Beşerler and thus welcomed the stands.

Markus Babbel (left) and Mehmet Scholl wear exchanged Turkish soccer jerseys and celebrate after their qualification match in the Munich Olympic Stadium.
Reuters

Mustafa Denizli, Turkey’s national coach at the time, explained at the end of the game that Turkey and Germany were linked by a close friendship.

21 years after this unforgettable game, Germany and Turkey meet again: this time in front of a limited number of spectators.

May friendship prevail!

TRT German.

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