What is your dirtiest confession

The dirtiest chapter in Bundesliga history

They will certainly not be celebrating the anniversary at Schalke, where they currently have little reason to be happy anyway. Not this year and not the next, when the perhaps deepest turning point in the club's history would have been an "anniversary". 49 years ago today, on April 17, 1971, Schalke 04 participated in the dirtiest chapter in Bundesliga history.

The players postponed a game in the relegation battle for money. The 0: 1 against Arminia Bielefeld was just one of many, it was almost commonplace in the spring of 1971. But none kept the courts busy any longer, none more ruined careers. No club damaged his reputation more than Schalke, whose players went down in history as perjury sinners. All because of 2300 D-Marks.

Relegation battle manipulated by half the league

What was it about? On our journey through time, we have come to the most criminal days in Bundesliga history. The relegation battle 1970/71 is manipulated by half the league. Much will never be proven.

Teams like RW Oberhausen and Arminia Bielefeld actively bribe their opponents, while Kickers Offenbach pays bonuses to third parties. Everyone is afraid of relegation, because as early as 1971, the path from the 1st division to the then four-pronged 2nd division (regional league) was a plunge into the abyss. Prussia Münster, Tasmania Berlin or Borussia Neunkirchen never came back, Alemannia Aachen only after 37 years.

Rumors have been wafting through the league since March that some clubs would bribe players to get points in the relegation battle. Money is handed over at dark service areas, in coaches' apartments or in the stadium.

Honorable merchants are involved in the dubious interests of their club, dubious backers get into the lucrative business with fear. Like the Cologne master hairdresser who works as an intermediary for several clubs and, in view of the lavish commissions, raves about "opening a real agency for the next season".

Arminia Bielefeld buys three wins

Which club actually started remains a mystery. At a crisis meeting in March 1971, Bielefeld's coach Piechaczek reported on the alleged customs of the league and so Arminia jumped on the bandwagon. Manipulation by board resolution!

Three wins are bought, only the first attempt fails: because not enough players have been bribed in Duisburg. Arminia gets her money back up to 2500 Marks, which Duisburg's Gerd Kentschke has already cheered.

But there seems to be no alternative to the path: If you don't take part, it is believed in 1971, you are stupid. At least 18 games were manipulated in the last eight match days, i.e. more than one in four.

Teams that are no longer about anything like Cologne, Braunschweig, Stuttgart, Duisburg, Hertha BSC or Schalke 04 are ideal for bribing. There are far more bribes than bribers. An ideal game for these machinations takes place on the 28th matchday in the old Schalke Glückauf-Kampfbahn.

Only Schalke goalkeeper Burdenski knows nothing

Newcomer Arminia comes to the Westphalian duel. The opponents of the day are accomplices, but the 15,000 spectators do not suspect that. The stadium magazine "Schalker Kreisel" also pretends normality: "Arminia comes as an outsider".

The newcomer won before the kick-off. The ex-Schalke Waldemar Slomiany, now an Armine, offered his old buddies 40,000 DM for a defeat on the board of directors.

Schalke strike, player Klaus Senger takes the money - and everyone is playing noticeably badly. The spectators instinctively shout "shift", only the goalkeeper Dieter Burdenski, who was briefly called up for the knee injured Norbert Nigbur, knows nothing and keeps the 0-0 like a madman. Until a teammate calls out to him: "Man Budde, now go to the side."

Nevertheless, he voluntarily does not let Gerd Roggensack's low shot (83rd) through. It will be the gate of the day. A completely normal embarrassment of an unmotivated elf or more? Coach Slobodan Cendic is outraged and demands "1000 Marks fine for each of my players".

The Kicker does not want to believe what must not be. Reporter Dieter Ueberjahn writes: "But that wasn't a postponement, it was simply inability, resignation, bad luck and a lack of commitment, all united in one game." He doesn't know what's going on after the game.

Even in the dressing room, every Schalke player receives 2,300 DM. Burdenski too, but he doesn't know what for. He takes the money anyway. Then the disaster takes its course.

Offenbach President Canellas exposes the scandal

In June, the famous tape recordings of telephone calls made by Offenbach's President Horst-Gregorio Canellas made the first rumors public. He triumphantly plays it off in front of dignitaries and journalists at the garden party on the occasion of his 50th birthday. There is still no talk of Schalke.

First of all, Hertha BSC and 1. FC Köln are in the pillory. In October 1971, when Bielefeld came into focus, this game too became the subject of investigations by the DFB and the public prosecutor's office. The latter even found a receipt for the DM 40,000 at the Arminen office, but incorrectly labeled as "Holland Transfer".

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The Schalke are stupid and deny violently. Civil courts are also dealing with the scandal, after all, it is also about embezzled club funds.

On January 31, 1972, the former Bielefeld board member Franz Greif swore before the Essen district court: "Yes, I gave Waldemar Slomiany 40,000 DM on April 17 before the game in Schalke to buy the victory." The also summoned Slomiany, a Pole, radebrecht: "I don't know anything. I don't get any money from Mr. Greif, so no money was passed on either."

One of the many lies in this scandal. Eight Schalke players even have the forehead to sue Jürgen Neumann from Bielefeld for defamation. Their names: Klaus Fischer, Rolf Rüssmann, Herbert Lütkebohnert, Heinz van Haaren, Klaus Fichtel, Jürgen Sobieray, Reinhard Libuda and Hans-Jürgen Wittkamp.

Schalke professionals fear lifelong bans

Years later they explain their motive. Since the DFB banned Hertha BSC's first scandalous sinners, who were also bribed by Bielefeld, for life, they fear the same fate - and so they continue to lie. Nevertheless, the structure of her lies shattered when Dieter Burdenski unpacked on May 18, 1972 in front of the DFB sports court.

He confesses the handover of money to him that has long since been granted by Arminia. "I didn't ride the others in and only tell the truth," he asserted decades later. But with that the conclusion is permissible that the confession of the Bielefelds corresponds to the truth.

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And so it is: All of Schalke has been bribed, which is why Arminia stayed there. The DFB cannot tolerate that. Although Schalke swore perjury at the Gelsenkirchen District Court on April 12, 1972, the first players were banned by the DFB in June. Initially "for a limited period", then for two years, after appeals and injunctions they are released in the meantime, then the next bans come.

The problem is that match fixing in sport is not a criminal offense that justifies a professional ban. Which is why the DFB is gradually forced to reduce fines and lazy compromises.

Fischer: "You can't be more stupid"

It's a mess. Beginning in a season in which Schalke almost become champions. The Arminia, on the other hand, was forced to relegate in 1972.

The DFB decided not to let the scandalous sinners play in the national team from March 17, 1972 before they were convicted. The hopeful careers of Rüssmann and Fischer were suddenly put to a halt. It was not until December 22nd, 1975 (!) That the defiant eight admitted to having sworn perjury.

"We all took money from Bielefeld, we all swore perjury," said Hans-Jürgen Wittkamp on behalf of everyone. Finally, what nobody doubts is being spoken out. The last day of the trial is January 8, 1976, and the fines of up to DM 10,000 benefit the German Cancer Aid.

It's the only positive thing about the affair that Schalke plunged into on April 17, 1971, just to improve their vacation pay.

"You can't be more stupid," admits Klaus Fischer, whose international career began in 1977, to anyone who wants to hear it.