60 years of Bundesliga

Friedel Rausch and the Revierderby dog bite


The Bundesliga has witnessed a number of interesting happenings over the 60 years of its existence. An eyebrow-raising incident occurred in the 1969 Revierderby when Schalke's Friedel Rausch was bitten on the backside by a German shepherd!

Find many more memorable moments and records in the Bundesliga's 60-year history!

It is one of football's most intense rivalries: Schalke versus Borussia Dortmund in a coming together known as the Revierderby. The Royal Blues and the Black-and-Yellows have faced off in many games that will go down in Bundesliga history. Just one such example came in the so-called Derby of the Century back in 2017, when Schalke come back from 4-0 down at the Signal Iduna Park to rescue a point in the fourth minute of injury time.

But there have been, and still are, derbies that don't necessarily focus on the result, or even the sport itself - and yet these games continue to make history too. That was the case in the Revierderby of 6 September 1969, which fell on the fourth matchday of the 1969/70 season.

Schalke's Friedel Rausch (l.) in action. - IMAGO / Rust

The game was played at the Rote Erde stadium in front of 39,000 spectators, and had real bite to it, just not in a figurative sense. 

The fans in the sold-out stadium packed almost onto the touchline and so had to be kept in check by law enforcement and their police dogs. When Hansi Pirkner gave Schalke the lead in the 37th minute, there was no stopping the exultant fans invading the pitch.

Chaos ensued on the playing surface as players, fans, police and dogs ran in all directions. Schalke's midfielder Gerd Neuser was bitten on the thigh while defender Friedel Rausch took a nip to the rear end as the police dogs confused players for fans.

Watch: Legendary Revierderby moments

It was assumed that a dog called Rex was responsible for Rausch's agony but there are some eager historians who insist that the pooch's name was Blitz. Rausch wasn't all that interested in what the dog was called at the time. “I didn't even know what was happening to me. Suddenly someone shouted, 'Be careful, the dogs are loose,' the Schalke man reported. "That was when this hellish pain started. Susbtitutes weren't allowed in those days so I was given a tetanus shot and soldiered on,” Rausch continued.

The game between Dortmund and Schalke ended 1-1. Because of the bite, Rausch received 500 Deutschmark in compensation as well as some flowers from BVB. “But for the next few nights,” Rausch recalled, “I could only sleep on my stomach.” In the following games, too, he was repeatedly ribbed by opponents due to the incident in the derby: “In almost every game thereafter, someone came up to me with a 'woof woof'”, he concluded.

Schalke's President Günter Siebert (l.) and Friedel Rausch (r.), who was also Schalke coach. - IMAGO / Rust

In the return Revierderby in the second half of the 1969/70 campaign, there would be no more biting. In order to instill fear in the Dortmund fans, Schalke's then president, Günter “Oscar” Siebert, decided that lions would be posted on the sidelines. He picked up some small, tame lion cubs from Löwenpark Westerholt, had them released by law enforcement and before kick-off, paraded them through the Glückauf-Kampfbahn until they arrived at the centre circle.

The bite also had official consequences as the DFB decided that dogs could only be used with muzzles from then on.

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