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“Must remember how crazy I used to be”



The incident in September 2022: Oliver Kahn grabs Thomas Brdaric by the neck.

In 2002 Oliver Kahn attacked his opponent Thomas Brdaric with a hearty grip on the neck. The then Bayer 04 Leverkusen striker made music of the incident and wrote a legendary song. How does Brdaric feel about this today? SPOX and GOAL asked the 48-year-old about his adventurous coaching career during an interview.

As a professional soccer player, Oliver Kahn regularly sought physical contact with colleagues or opponents: he wanted to bite Heiko Herrlich in the neck, he shook Andreas Herzog, he just missed Stéphane Chapuisat with his kung fu kick – and he grabbed Thomas Brdaric by the neck.

It happened during a Bundesliga game between FC Bayern Munich and Bayer 04 Leverkusen in September 2002. Both players received a yellow card for the action, and shortly afterwards Brdaric was sent off with a yellow card for a foul on Jens Jeremies. The result of 2:1 for Leverkusen degenerated into a minor matter.

“I was scared to death when I felt Kahn’s paw on my neck,” Brdaric reported at the time. According to the prosecuting attorney, a “television viewer or game visitor” even filed a criminal complaint against Kahn for bodily harm. Unsuccessful.

Meanwhile, Brdaric processed the incident with a fairly legendary song – and not only dealt with Kahn, but also with two other German national keeper at the time. Jens Lehmann from Borussia Dortmund and Frank Rost from FC Schalke 04. The name of the song “Die Wilde 13” was based on Brdaric’s shirt number.

Thomas Brdaric: The lyrics to “Die wilde 13”

Dear Frank, I’m sorry, so I’ll take a break.
It’s only now that I really realize that I was angry with you.
You cried in the interview and Mom took you home.
Football is so mean and you often feel alone in goal.

Why did you become a goalkeeper, why, why?
Why didn’t you listen to your parents?
Now the balls are flying around your ears.
And you’ve already lost.
When the zero is gone.

Cat Kahn, thank you for shaking me awake.
Yes, I was afraid of you. You’re just a lovable animal.

Dear Jens, I miss you very much, there was always something to laugh about with you.
I’d be happy to shoot you one, because you could be so wonderfully angry.

Thomas Brdaric on the song and Oliver Kahn

How does Brdaric feel about this today? “More than 20 years later I say: Maybe I shouldn’t have done it better. I can’t change it anymore, but you should be able to smile about it,” explains Brdaric in an interview SPOX and GOALS. “When I throw a party at home and play the song, I have to laugh and think about how crazy I used to be. With the song I processed this situation with Oli Kahn.”

Although Brdaric has played many games against Kahn since then and has been in the squad with him several times for the German national team, he says he has “never spoken to him about it”. After positions at Hannover 96 and VfL Wolfsburg, Brdaric ended his active career in 2008 at the same time as Kahn.

Then Brdaric advanced to coach globetrotter. Kahn first tried his hand as a TV expert and in the private sector before returning to his former club FC Bayern Munich as a board member in 2020. In 2021 he took over the position of CEO, but is now up for grabs in this role.

“Oli has learned to be more diplomatic over the years,” says Brdaric. “His style may not go down well with one or the other. But he brings incredible expertise and is an outstanding guy.”