BERLIN: Andreas Brehme, whose 85th-minute penalty sealed victory for West Germany over Argentina in the 1990 World Cup final, died overnight into Tuesday at the age of 63, his former club Bayern Munich said.
“FC Bayern is deeply shocked by the sudden death of Andreas Brehme,” the club said in a statement.
“We will always keep Andreas Brehme in our hearts. As a world champion and as a very special person.”
A versatile left-back, Brehme spent two seasons with Bayern Munich between 1986-88, winning the Bundesliga in 1987.
Brehme left a mark for teams across Europe, playing for Kaiserslautern and Inter Milan, as well as Bayern, Saarbruecken and Real Zaragoza.
But the defender’s footballing journey began in his hometown of Hamburg at HSV Barmbek-Uhlenhorst, a small club from a working class neighborhood.
Brehme’s remarkable ability with both feet was down in part to the influence of his father and coach, Bernd.
In Italy, Brehme will be remembered for the partnership he formed with compatriots Juergen Klinsmann and Lothar Matthaeus at Inter Milan.
“Ciao Andi, forever a legend,” said the club for whom Brehme made more than 150 appearances, winning the Serie A title and a UEFA Cup.
The Nerazzurri will wear black armbands in honor of Brehme during their Champions League clash against Atletico Madrid later on Tuesday at the San Siro.
Brehme’s closest sporting connection is arguably with Kaiserslautern, where he played for 10 seasons over two stints, later going on to manage the club in the early 2000s.
The Kaiserslautern legend was moved to tears when the “Red Devils” were relegated from the Bundesliga in 1996.
But the team immediately bounced back to the top flight, and marched straight to the title in 1998 with Brehme as captain.
Brehme played 86 times for his country, although nothing would top his exploits in the 1-0 victory over Diego Maradona’s Argentina in Rome.
The goal, a coolly taken penalty, atoned for West Germany’s 3-2 loss against the very same Argentina side in the 1986 World Cup final in Mexico.
Four years later, Brehme stepped up to the spot instead of team captain Matthaeus, who did not want to take on the responsibility after changing his boots at half-time.
“No matter where I am, at the airport, out shopping, I am always asked about it,” Brehme had told SID, AFP’s sports news subsidiary.
“I didn’t think about the significance of this penalty. I didn’t think anything,” said Brehme, who slotted the ball to the goalkeeper’s right.
Brehme’s World Cup-winning teammates reacted with shock at the passing of the goalscoring hero.
“Andi was always positive and radiated pure life. He was a great person, a great friend,” defender Guido Buchwald told SID.
Brehme’s passing comes shortly after the death of another German footballing legend, Franz Beckenbauer.
Beckenbauer, who died in January, was the manager when West Germany won their third World Cup title.
“Unfortunately, the sad news doesn’t stop,” midfielder Pierre Littbarski told SID.
“This is very, very sad for German football and especially for us, the 1990 world champions.”
Rudi Voeller, another of Brehme’s national team colleagues, said the death left him “infinitely sad.”
“Andi was our World Cup hero, but for me even more — he was my close friend and companion.”