60 years of Bundesliga

Broken posts lead to match abandonment in 1971


In 1971, the game between Borussia Mönchengladbach and Werder Bremen had to end prematurely after the posts collapsed.

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In football, the important thing is for the ball - not a player - to hit the back of the net. On 3 April 1971, however, it was Herbert Laumen from Borussia Mönchengladbach who, while trying to score with a header, clashed with the Werder Bremen goalkeeper, stumbled and fell backwards into the goal net. The impact caused the wooden post of the Bremen goal to snap and collapse.

“When the post leaned sideways, I thought: 'Uh-oh, you'd better take cover now; who knows what else will happen,” Laumen said of the incident looking back. What happened was strange. Players, fans and officials tried to set the goal up again for 12 minutes, but to no avail. The situation was ultimately unresovable and the referee had to halt the game with the score at 1-1.

A worried Herbert Laumen (r.) was unsure whether the broken goal would in fact fall on him. - imago sportfotodienst

The question remained as to what outcome the game should have. Wolfgang Kleff, who was at Borussia at the time, recalled years later: “We wanted to be champions, 1-1 wasn't enough. The thoughts went in the direction of: 'Perhaps there will be a replay,' but the rules said otherwise.”

The DFB (German FA) came to the conclusion that Gladbach were obliged to repair the damaged posts in a timely manner. Since they were unable to do that, the game was awarded as 2-0 for Bremen while the Foals had to pay a fine of 1,500 Deutschmark. In the end, however, Gladbach were still crowned champions.

A further consequence of the broken post incident was that wooden goal frames were abolished. Although still referred to as the 'woodwork' in English, aluminium posts have been the standard in the Bundesliga since 1971.

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