Werder Bremen mourns: club legend Horst-Dieter Höttges died at the age of 79.
They called him the “iron foot” out of affection, almost love. “Eisenfuss” was an honorary title for Horst-Dieter Höttges. The defender didn’t play elegantly, but he had infinite power. Höttges rolled up his sleeves for Werder Bremen and the national team, he worked football, he fought, digged, bit, wanted. He threw himself in the dirt. Now Werder mourns the club idol – Höttges died at the age of 79.
“Horst-Dieter Höttges helped shape a successful era and won the biggest titles with the German team,” said DFB President Bernd Neuendorf: “In teams that, in retrospect, are praised primarily for their playing strength, he was the hard worker who no way was too far, no job too difficult – and he made his colleagues shine. Without players like him, no team can be successful. His commitment was exemplary, as was his passion and dedication. Horst-Dieter Höttges has rendered great services to the acquired German football.”
66 international matches, German champion in 1965, European champion in 1972 and world champion in 1974 – Höttges is one of the absolute Werder legends, was one of the great footballers in Germany – but didn’t take himself too seriously. “No one felt like a star or tried to stand out from the team. There was a tremendous team spirit,” said Höttges once about the time of his career. With 420 Bundesliga appearances, it is still at the top of all Bremen outfield players.
And his reputation always preceded the uncompromising defender, who always earned him the respect of attackers. “He never avoided a duel, but always fought with an open mind,” said Uwe Seeler once. And Bayern striker Gerd Müller once said: “He was one of the most unpleasant opponents I had to play against.”
However, there were also players who disrespected the “iron foot”. Dieter Müller from Cologne scored six goals (Bundesliga record) on a memorable Wednesday evening on August 17, 1977 in a 7-2 win over SV Werder as Höttges’ opponent.
The Werder icon could not leave football and Werder Bremen after his career, he was a regular guest at the Weser Stadium for a long time. But years ago, Bremen’s honorary captain fell ill with dementia and lived with his wife in a retirement home near Bremen. Recently, his health is said to have deteriorated sharply. Höttges, the “iron foot”, died on June 22nd.