Sören Lerby spent successful years at FC Bayern. The Dane will probably never forget a day in November 1985, he had to play twice.
Uli Hoeneß is known for getting his way. He proved that at regular intervals, especially during his time as a decision-maker at FC Bayern Munich – whether in transfers, the future of the coaching position or when it came to making a sweeping public statement.
Sören Lerby also felt how stubborn Hoeneß can be when it came to which team the Dane should play for on November 13, 1985. What happened?
That day was an important game for both Bayern and the national team of Denmark. “Inconceivable these days,” recalled the former midfielder 11 friends return. A point win against Ireland would qualify the Scandinavians for the 1986 World Cup in Mexico, while Bayern were up against Bochum in the round of 16 in the DFB Cup.
“Hoeneß finally had the crazy idea that I should just play both games,” Lerby explained. “After the game, we could fly directly from Dublin to Bochum. Of course, that was only conceivable because of the different kick-off times and the time difference.”
International match, private jet, DFB Cup: That’s how the crazy Hoeneß plan went
Lerby liked the plan, said he felt “really wanted” and felt physically capable of it. As a result, national coach Sepp Piontek and FCB coach Udo Lattek were spoken to and both were willing to compromise.
Lerby should be substituted immediately in Dublin if the score was favorable – but the score was only 1-1 at half-time. So he had to keep playing. “Hoeneß stood on the sidelines and desperately looked at the clock,” Lerby reviewed the events. “Now every minute counted.”
After the change of sides, the Danes took the lead early on, in the 58th minute it was 3:1 and the first part of the working day was over. “I sprinted into the dressing room and showered faster than I’ve ever had before. I ran out of the stadium with wet hair and jumped into the car to see Uli, the engine was running,” Lerby continued.
An Irish police motorbike escorted them straight onto the airport tarmac, it seemed possible to be there in time for the starting formation. Hoeneß and his protégé had to land in Düsseldorf, from where they drove to Bochum.
“We raced in the Porsche on the autobahn towards Bochum, the clock was ticking,” he said. They got stuck in a traffic jam near the stadium. “I went insane in the cart.” Lerby got out of the car and ran the last two kilometers to the stadium.
When he got there, the team was already in the players’ tunnel, Lattek made it clear to Lerby that he would now have to wait until half-time to play. “At that moment all the tension was released and I was just disappointed, you can imagine that,” said the 67-time international in retrospect. “But what the heck? I later won the cup with Bayern and I was in Mexico with Denmark. And two games in one day, you only do that once in your life.”
Lerby, who made his breakthrough at Ajax and played for the German record champions from 1983 to 1986, won more titles with the Munich team. He won the DFB Cup in 1984 and was German champion in 1985 and 1986. He then left the club for AS Monaco.