The end of November 2021 marked the 50th anniversary of FC Bayern's 11-1 triumph over Borussia Dortmund, the German record champions' biggest-ever win in the Bundesliga. Read here how the BVB keeper at the time, Jürgen Rynio experienced the day.
Sometimes it can be a good thing to forget. Or does anyone still remember the first-round exit in the 1990 DFB Cup against Weinheim? Or the 12th-place finish in the 1977/78 season? Jürgen Rynio has been denied that blessing. He still remembers every single goal he conceded on the evening of 27 November 1971 in the Grünwalder Stadion. The 1-0 in the 11th minute, when Gerd Müller was in just the right place in the six-yard box; the 2-0 by Uli Hoeneß, whose first effort was blocked by the BVB goalkeeper before he finally managed to get the ball over the line with his head; the 6-0 by Franz Beckenbauer: "He went through three men and put it in the far corner." Rynio also remembers the roar of the crowd after conceding the ninth goal. Behind him, they were celebrating and demanding the 10th. "And because they were screaming like that, I turned around and saw the scoreboard. Then I thought to myself: there's no room up there for a double-digit score. Is that even possible?"
It was actually possible, as was evident six minutes later, when Franz "Bulle" Roth scored a 10th Bayern goal. The scoreboard man was obviously a resourceful chap, as the photos from back then show. Somehow he managed to attach the second number panel in a rather lopsided way, but nevertheless firmly. Shortly afterwards, he had to improvise again to display the final result. There weren't three figure 1s available for the 11-1. With no further ado, he changed a seven to a one, so that in the end, if you looked closely, the final score was actually displayed as 71-1. A game - or a scoreline - like that could never have been foreseen.
When I see Barcelona conceding eight against Bayern these days, it wasn't so bad.
Now, at 73 years of age, Jürgen Rynio has long since made his peace with the 11-1 of 50 years ago. "When I see Barcelona conceding eight against Bayern these days, it wasn't so bad," he says with a smile. Of course, when he looks at the footage from back then - the internet doesn't forget anything either - he does wonder whether he could have done anything differently. If he should have been positioned differently, if he could have stopped the ball in a different way. "But I had no chance. My teammates were all standing right in front of me. To see anything at all when 'Bulle' Roth unleashed his shot, I had to look through the legs of three players." Added to that were poor lighting conditions, as the floodlights had partially failed. By the time Rynio could see the ball, it had often hit the net behind him.
Radical changes at Dortmund
50 years ago, Bayern vs. Dortmund wasn't the kind of encounter we know it to be today. "It was a normal game, nothing special," says Rynio. Not a Clásico, but the match between second and 15th in the league. "Back then, there was only a special rivalry with Schalke, like Bayern had with Sechzig (1860 München)," he says. FCB were a top team, BVB were struggling financially. "The club had very few resources and options. Economically, they were always living on the edge," the goalkeeper recalls. There wasn't much left of the team that had finished fifth in the Bundesliga a year and a half earlier (1970). "In the summer there were radical changes. Young players from the Dortmund area were signed," Rynio recalls. "We were nothing more than a talented bunch. Bayern Munich, on the other hand, were a seasoned team with a well-established framework." On the pitch, that much was all too evident. Only one team - the Bavarians - showed up. Beckenbauer, Breitner, Hoeneß, Roth, Müller played with pace.
We were nothing more than a talented bunch. Bayern Munich, on the other hand, were a seasoned team with a well-established framework.
By the tenth minute, the ball had already rattled the crossbar twice, then Gerd Müller opened the scoring after a diagonal pass from Hoeneß. At half-time, the men from Munich were 4-0 up: "We were just overwhelmed. It happened in a flash," Rynio recounts. "We were practically hunkered down in the 18-yard box, we had absolutely no organisation. No one tried to attack, everyone was just standing around right in front of me. When Bayern tried a shot, the ball would get deflected three times." BVB coach Horst Witzler tried to give his team new impetus in the first half with two changes - among others, a certain Werner Lorant had to come off. It was all in vain "After that we were even more open," says Rynio. At half-time, it was a case of pulling ourselves together and trying to close the gap. The coach was still hoping for a respectable result. "But we'd already given up. Bayern were too strong, that much was obvious."
After conceding the fifth and sixth goals, the team finally fell apart, says the Dortmund keeper. Even Dieter Weinkauff's consolation goal to temporarily make it 6-1 did nothing to change that. The Bavarians just kept going, especially Gerd Müller. "He was always a nightmare. I don't know how many goals he scored against me," Rynio muses. It was 17 in 14 games, more than any other player. On this evening, too, "Der Bomber" was more ambitious than anyone else. "Every time he took a shot, he followed it up, hoping for the rebound. He was constantly a metre away from me, so we ended up joking around," Rynio recalls. "One of us, I don't know who, said to him: 'Gerd, you can become the season's top scorer today'. He just gave us this look." After 90 minutes Müller had racked up four goals - and at the end of the season he actually was crowned top scorer (40 goals) and lifted the Meisterschale. Uli Hoeneß (2), "Bulle" Roth (2), Willi Hoffmann, Paul Breitner and Franz Beckenbauer were the other FCB scorers. Dortmund, on the other hand, just couldn't get going. "Nothing worked throughout the whole season," says Rynio. "In the end, we were relegated, and rightly so."
A fine line for goalkeepers
It wan't the first time Rynio had been relegated. It had happened to him before with Karlsruher SC and 1. FC Nürnberg, and later still with FC St. Pauli and Hannover 96, making five relegations in total - a record in the Bundesliga. "It's a negative record, but also the reason why I still get talked about," he says. The 73-year-old can handle that tag, he knows he has nothing to reproach himself for. As a footballer, especially as a goalkeeper, you walk a fine line at all times. Sometimes you can just reach the ball with your fingertips, sometimes you're too late. Like in 1968, when he moved to reigning champions Nürnberg - and was promptly relegated with the Franconians a year later. "That was tough," says Rynio, who perhaps knows better than anyone that you can't only have winners.
Nevertheless, week after week, season after season, he stood tall in the face of opposing strikers and passionately charged through the penalty area. Even after he'd actually already retired, he donned the goalkeeper's jersey once more. That was in February 1986 with Hannover 96. Because the regular keeper was injured, coach Jörg Berger ordered Rynio back between the posts. The next game was - of course - against Bayern. "I trained for a week and it actually went quite well. In the game I didn't make any gross errors either - but conceded five again." The 5-0 was at the time the heaviest home defeat in Hannover's history (it's now a 6-1 against Bayern from April 2013). A week later at VfB Stuttgart he conceded no less than seven goals, including three penalties from one player (Michael Nushöhr), yet another unwanted record. At the end of the season, he was relegated for the last time.
Good Relationship with Bayern's Sepp Maier
But Rynio's career wasn't all just relegations and negative records. There was also the second division championship with St. Pauli in 1977. And he almost made an international appearance. If Sepp Maier had had his way, he certainly would have. It was in May 1969, in a 12-0 World Cup qualifier against Cyprus in Essen. "I was the number two keeper and I remember it well: it was eight or nine nil when Sepp came running to the dugout and asked Helmut Schön to bring me on. Sepp wanted me to get an international cap - but Schön didn't want to." He got on brilliantly with Sepp Maier, with whom he even shared a room at the time. Playing against FC Bayern, however, was almost always a painful experience for Rynio. He had to pick the ball out of the net 40 times ("For goodness' sake!") in 15 games, more than against any other opponents, and only once did he come off the pitch as the winner. But he never took it personally. "I'm Dortmund through and through, but you have to recognise how Bayern are run and how they work. It's exemplary. And the club always cares about others," says the 73-year-old, who still lives in Hannover today.
For a long time now, however, his only involvement with football has been as a fan. He's long held a passion for something quite different. For 19 years - just as long as his professional career - Rynio has been running a care home for people with mental and multiple disabilities. He built it all himself from nothing, and found something that won't let go of him. "I had some terrific experiences in football," he says, "but this job is more intense, more sustainable." The residents know he used to be a professional footballer, he says. Sometimes he has a kickabout with them on the lawn outside. In the last two years, however, everything has unfortunately revolved around coronavirus. There was a serious outbreak at the home, but somehow they got through it. It was a major effort. "When things were at their worst, my wife did four weeks of nursing in full protective gear, 11 hours a day. That's when you realise conceding 11 goals doesn't really matter," says Rynio. "Football is nothing more than the best pastime in the world."
Take a look at other legendary clashes against BVB: