After 1058 days, another district derby between Borussia Dortmund and FC Schalke 04 will take place in front of spectators on Saturday. The hit in the Ruhr area has already written many curious stories – including in December 1988 when BVB player Frank Pagelsdorf spoke to you picture-Reporters who blew fuses.
“You’re welcome to write the story,” says Frank Pagelsdorf on the phone. But the 64-year-old doesn’t want to describe them in detail from his point of view: “After all, it wasn’t the smartest idea I had.”
Even almost 34 years later, Pagelsdorf seems uncomfortable with what had gotten into him on December 10, 1988. His actions at the time were not a knee-jerk reaction. There had previously been a lot of frustration with Borussia Dortmund’s replacement libero at the time. In the training camp, he therefore “thought for a long time” about what to do, as he once admitted.
What happened? It was a district derby between second division club FC Schalke 04 and BVB, this time in the round of 16 of the DFB Cup. On a Saturday, 47,300 spectators roamed the Parkstadion in Gelsenkirchen and saw five goals in 30 minutes.
With a hat-trick between the 60th and 71st minute, Michael Rummenigge, Norbert Dickel and Michael Zorc put Borussia on the road to victory, Schalke’s connecting goals from Jürgen Luginger and Ingo Anderbrügge came too late. Dortmund won 3-2 and should not lose a game in this competition afterwards. In the end there was the cup victory and thus the first trophy in 23 years.
BVB player Frank Pagelsdorf with a coke shower for reporters
The game itself was largely calm and unspectacular in that it would not have made it into the lavishly filled cabinet of curiosities in Derby history. But not only things that happen on the pitch qualify for this. And Pagelsdorf, who came on as a substitute 16 minutes before the end, still had a score to settle. At least from his point of view.
Jürgen Meyer was 50 years old at the time and a BVB reporter at the picture. After the end of the game he was sitting with other journalists in the press conference room at the Park Stadium when a sticky surprise suddenly overcame him. Pagelsdorf had sneaked into PK and poured a coke over Meyer behind his back. The journalist turned around at first, puzzled. Pagelsdorf grinned and said: “That was my thanks for your good reviews over the past six months.”
Meyer didn’t put up with that and launched a prompt counterattack. There was a commotion. The then 30-year-old Pagelsdorf had to take “at least two hits to the chin”, as he put it on record. Of the table football even wrote about three punches. Pagelsdorf suffered a bruised jaw and a slight concussion. And that despite the fact that Meyer, according to his own statement, “didn’t even hurt his hand”.
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Pagelsdorf did not want his act of revenge to be understood as solely selfishly motivated due to previous journalistic “blows”. “I wanted to wake up the public,” he said, citing the fact that as a player you have “zero” chances to defend yourself against the journalists’ regular assessments. “I put my head up for it.”
In the end, however, Pagelsdorf did not start a serious discussion about it. His case certainly caused a stir. In the subsequent media exploitation, the Dortmunder was often given the role of the victim. You could read about previous “insults” by Meyer, and the BVB board members were also outraged by the journalist.
President Gerd Niebaum explained that Meyer was already an enemy of Borussia, because he had already “broken” precious technician Marcel Raducanu. Head coach Reinhard Saftig, who resigned before the season, was also a victim of Meyer’s reporting, according to Niebaum.
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Nevertheless, Pagelsdorf received a penalty from BVB, because this background noise came at the wrong time. In fact, he “deserves a memorial,” was Pagelsdorf’s reaction. The Black and Yellows had summarily banned Meyer from the house and stadium, so in his eyes Pagelsdorf had “freed the club from a plague”.
But in Dortmund there was unrest at the time about striker Frank Mill, who was dismissed as captain in the summer and even dropped from the squad against Schalke. There were rumors about him moving. Things turned out differently in the end: Mill stayed and six months later was the best Dortmund player in the cup final against Bremen, while Pagelsdorf played his last game for Westphalia at Schalke.
He toyed with a move to Switzerland. However, the contract that was ready to be signed, which he already had from FC St. Gallen, burst due to the episode with Meyer. For 300,000 marks it went to ex-club Hannover 96 in January 1989. At the end of the year Pagelsdorf had to end his career due to a herniated disc.
And Meyer? He described his punches as an “affect action” and was later allowed to report back on BVB. The journalist had also apologized – “to the Dortmund team, but not to Pagelsdorf”.