Sometimes a spectator’s joy is the player’s sorrow. Blunders and mistakes can still drive Bundesliga stars to despair when they see them again. But for everyone else their gaffes, fails and missed shots are an absolute treat.
When goalkeepers make a mistake the route to the end-of-season highlights programme is a short one. After all, a teammate is rarely in a position to iron out a goalkeeping error. It’s especially funny – at least for everyone not involved – when a goalkeeper forgets something. The case of Oliver Kahn is a prominent example. In the 2000/01 season against Hansa Rostock he forget that he was not in his own penalty area – but the opponents’ instead – when he used both his fists to put the ball into the net. Instead of a goal, the referee gave the Bayern Munich netminder a second yellow card and then a red.
Mainz goalkeeper Robin Zentner was at the heart of a legendary scene in the 2017/18 campaign. He received the ball at his feet, then lost sight of it and only realised when he kicked thin air while trying to play a pass that it was behind him and travelling towards an empty goal. It could have been a nightmare moment for Zentner but he recovered just in time - with some help from defender Stefan Bell.
Oliver Baumann, meanwhile, had a day to forget while playing for Freiburg in 2013/14. In a 3-0 defeat against Hamburg he made three major mistakes and was ruthlessly punished each time. Sometimes you have a bad day at the office and Baumann – now at Hoffenheim – is an excellent goalkeeper. But the fact that he has since passed 500 Bundesliga appearances is no doubt partly down to the reaction of Freiburg supporters against Hamburg. After the final whistle they tried to pick up their usually reliable but crestfallen netminder by singing his name from the stands.
Goalkeepers aren’t the only ones who have costly lapses in concentration of course. Just ask former Borussia Dortmund players Frank Mill and Jakub Blaszczykowski, who both infamously missed an open goal. Thomas Helmer of Bayern and Stefan Kießling of Bayer Leverkusen both scored goals that weren’t – known as a ghost goal or “phantom goal” in German – while Jürgen Klinsmann kicking a hole in some pitchside advertising is also the stuff of legend.
Here’s to another 60 years of days to forget and unforgettable moments!