Germany’s 1954 World Cup winner Schaefer passes away

Berlin: Hans Schaefer, a member of West Germany’s 1954 World Cup winning team, died on Tuesday at age 90, his former club Cologne said.
According to the Bild paper, Schaefer died peacefully in the presence of his family in his life-long home town of Cologne. He had turned 90 on October 19.
Schaefer scored 15 goals in 39 caps between 1952 and 1962, captaining the West German team at the 1958 and 1962 World Cups after the 1954 triumph. In that final he played a key role in Helmust Rahn’s late winner in the 3-2 upset of heavily favoured Hungary. The left winger spent his entire club career, between 1948 and 1965,at Cologne, winning the national title in 1962 and 1964, the second in the inaugural Bundesliga season.
“Hans Schaefer is immortal as world champion and biggest icon of this club,” Cologne president Werner Spinner said in the club statement. “The whole FC (Cologne) family is in deep mourning and our thoughts are with Hans Schaefer’s
relatives.”
German football federation (DFB) president Reinhard Grindel said:”German football loses an outstanding player in Hans Schaefer, a strong and always down to earth personality. He did not only write an unforgettable chapter of football history in 1954, the first World Cup title for the DFB changed the whole of post-war Germany.”
Lukas Podolski, another Cologne star who now plays in Japan, tweeted a picture of himself, Schaefer and the Cologne mascot, a goat, and said “I am very sad and will always remember Hans Schaefer as the greatest Cologne player and a terrific person.”
Forward Horst Eckel is now the sole survivor from the 1954 final which has been immortalised as “The miracle of Bern” in reference to the Swiss venue. “It is a very sad day. Hans was a good mate of mine,” the 85-year-old Eckel told Bild. “Now I am the last one from the 1954 team, and now I feel lonely.”
The popular Eckel shied away from the spotlight and was also not happy with the hero status given to the 1954 champions.
“It is not heroism when I win a game, even if it is the World Cup,”he told Die Zeit weekly in 2006. “Outsiders always have a chance in sport. We used it, there is nothing supernatural about it.” — dpa