Andreas Brehme: From World Cup hero to minimum wage job, and back to mega-riches

Richard Bevan
Richard Bevan
4 Min Read

Here, we delve into the remarkable journey of Andreas Brehme, a celebrated German footballer known for his memorable World Cup-winning goal, who later faced financial struggles and the prospect of bankruptcy. Despite his adversity, Brehme’s determination and resilience eventually led him to overcome his challenges and succeed again.

Andreas Brehme, a versatile attacking full-back with a keen eye for goal, was born on 9th November 1960 in Hamburg, Germany. He began his football career with HSV Barmbek-Uhlenhorst before playing for 1. FC Kaiserslautern from 1981 to 1986. He then moved to Bayern Munich, where he won the Bundesliga in 1987. His talents caught the eye of Inter Milan, where he played from 1988 to 1992, winning the Serie A in 1989 and the UEFA Cup in 1991. Brehme also had a spell at Real Zaragoza in La Liga before returning to 1. FC Kaiserslautern in 1993, where he played a pivotal role in their immediate promotion to the Bundesliga. He eventually retired as a footballer after playing 301 matches and winning the German Cup with Kaiserslautern in 1996.

On the international stage, Brehme represented the (West) Germany national team at several major tournaments from 1984 to 1994. He was a crucial part of the German squad that reached the semi-finals of Euro 88 and Euro 92, earning a runners-up medal. However, his most memorable moment came in the 1990 FIFA World Cup final against Argentina when he scored the only goal from an 85th-minute penalty kick, securing Germany’s victory and earning himself a spot in the competition’s best XI.

Brehme with his compatriots Klinsmann and Matthaus at Inter Milan

Despite his illustrious career and World Cup triumph, Brehme faced challenging times. Reports from Germany revealed that he was on the brink of bankruptcy and saddled with a debt of approximately €200,000.

However, a glimmer of hope emerged when Olivier Straube, who had played under Brehme at SpVgg Unterhaching, extended a helping hand. Straube offered Brehme a job at his company, a bathroom cleaning business, hoping to provide the former football star with an opportunity to rebuild his life and improve his image. Despite the offer not being glamorous, Straube believed that hard work and real-life experiences could be the stepping stones to Brehme’s resurgence.

Legendary German coach Franz Beckenbauer, who had guided the 1990 German team to World Cup success with Brehme’s winning goal, also rallied support from the footballing community for his struggling compatriot seeking support from anyone who could potentially help.

Brehme is widely regarded as pioneering the modern-day left-wing back role.

Fortunately, Andreas Brehme’s determination and resolve shone through. After a few years of hard work, he overcame his financial challenges and succeeded in a new venture. He ventured into a company specialising in building hybrid fields, an innovative approach to sports turf. His dream project was to implement such a field at the prestigious Bernabéu stadium, home to Real Madrid.

The former German international also revealed that his company had already installed two hybrid fields at Valdebebas, and he was optimistic about achieving his dream of placing one in the Bernabéu stadium soon.

Brehme now runs a business that provides cutting-edge hybrid pitch technology.

From World Cup hero to facing bankruptcy, he never gave up, working hard to rebuild his life and ultimately finding success once again. As he continues pursuing his passion for the game through innovative turf technology, Brehme’s legacy will always stand the test of time, and he will always be considered the pioneer of the modern-day full-back.

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