This work is a premature birth.

It comes nine months early because the night of Seville once happened on July 8th.

And yet the author Stephan Klemm, born in 1967, made a good decision to be successful with the “Franco-German football drama”.

The “Night of Seville 82” is hard work - just as it was the birth of the German virtues that led to the victory over France at the time.

Ralf Weitbrecht

Sports editor.

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July 8, 1982, semi-finals of the Soccer World Cup in Spain, France against Germany. For the selection of Jupp Derwall, led by substitute captain Manfred Kaltz, who represents the injured captain Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, it is the chance to make the "shame of Gijon" forgotten a bit. That ball attachment in the non-aggression pact against Austria, which brings with the 1-0 exactly the result with which both teams survive the bumpy group stage.

Klemm, sports editor at the Kölner Stadtanzeiger and tried and tested, precise and to the point, describes in his 192-page book knowledgeably and in great detail what happened back then. Long-time observers, but also those who are curious, immediately feel (back) transported to the hot days of Andalusia, to which Derwall's eleven set off from the unsuccessful training camp at Schluchsee in the Black Forest.

One player is particularly in focus, the author visits him several times: Harald "Toni" Schumacher. The goalkeeper is the man who will never forget this July 8, 1982. It's the day he storms out of his gate, leaps in the air and knocks down French defender Patrick Battiston. Battiston, who lost four teeth in the attack and was brought unconscious from the field on a stretcher, no longer has an exact memory of that Thursday evening at 10.15 p.m. in the Sánchez-Pizjuán stadium. Later he talks about what is perhaps the worst foul in World Cup history - just as all 13 German national players used have a detailed say.

Klemm travels across Germany and Europe, visits German and French protagonists from the Night of Seville, holds various conversations, looks with Schumacher, Rummenigge, Horst Hrubesch, Klaus Fischer, Pierre Littbarski, the Odenwälder forester brothers Karlheinz and Bernd, Paul Breitner and all the others back.

Above all, he gives a lot of space to the French, for whom Seville marks the turning point and the dawn of a new era in football, the "Les Bleus".

French feel betrayed

"Sevilla changed my life," said Battiston of the scene in the 57th minute of the game. At this point the score is 1: 1. Littbarski gave Germany the lead, Michel Platini, the great captain, equalized with a penalty for France. Schumacher's foul is not whistled by the Dutch referee Charles Corver. No card, no warning, nothing. The French feel cheated and are horrified - even years later, as can be read.

It goes into overtime. Marius Tresor and Alain Giresse increase to 3: 1. The way to the final, where Italy is waiting, seems to be only a matter of the last few minutes of the game. Then comes Rummenigge. Not from the depths of the room, but from the bench. The injured Bayern professional, then Europe's best striker, for whom the French had great respect, had taken a glove from substitute goalkeeper Bernd Franke after kick-off, filled it with ice and massaged his damaged thigh. Rummenigge no longer feels any pain.

In extra time, he gives Derwall a sign - and lets himself be substituted on. In the 102nd minute he scored the important connection goal. Fischer, the German inventor of the fall retractor, equalizes six minutes later. Penalties shoot. HSV “monster” Hrubesch is the one who converts the decisive penalty. The German team is in the final - and can hardly believe it.

It is also hard to believe Schumacher's behavior. On that night in Seville, the Cologne resident lets go of all opportunities to inquire about Battiston and to show something like empathy. Klemm sits for a long time in Schumacher's house in Sürth to come to terms with this misconduct, this trauma. It wasn't until almost two years after the dramatic night in Seville that Schumacher and Battiston were playing against each other again in Strasbourg. Before that there was a handshake between the two - in the offices of a newspaper office in Metz.

Exciting, entertaining, profound material is offered around the night of Seville.

The studied historian Klemm does not miss a historical classification, enriched by conversations with writers, journalists and professors.

"France's current football upswing began with a terrible defeat and with tears of despair," says Klemm's conclusion.

“Seville was an act of mental football training that helped the French team to emancipate themselves in sport.” In January 2021, the French magazine France Football ranked Seville night almost forty years ago as number one of the 50 best games of all time.

Stephan Klemm: The night of Seville.

A Franco-German football drama.

Eriks book shelf.

192 pages.

24.90 euros.

Keywords: birth.it, patrick battiston, seville, german, karl-heinz rummenigge, night of seville, virtues, klemm, stephan klemm, foul, goalkeeper, focus, football drama, manfred kaltz, sports editor