Embarrassing but true, this match was fixed. At least Bayern Munich All Stars captain Paul Breitner said so after a 10-3 drubbing of the East Bengal All Stars during a charity match at the Yuba Bharati Krirangan on Wednesday.
Asked if the organisers had requested the German team before the match to not score more than 10, Breitner — after a brief pause — said: “Yes, They did.”
“Also, when we scored nine goals, we said we had had enough. But there were so many chances that we could not help but score another,” Breitner said.
Though Breitner had on Tuesday given clear signals that they wouldn’t concede an inch to their “unknown” rivals, this certainly caught the Who’s Who of East Bengal unprepared. Visibly distraught, former India captain Debjit Ghosh said:
“Never in my life have we been beaten so comprehensively. We have played against the best of Asia and conceded maybe five goals, but never ten.”
“But you have to confess to the sea of gap between us and them. They are academy-bred athletes who still have the stamina to play 90 minutes even at this age,” he said.
Champion is the key word. And this Bayern Munich team has five of them — all World Cup winners. They also had European champions or Bundesliga winners.
Pitted against them was a bunch of yesteryear stars, most of them happily leading retired lives, doing desk jobs or selling football opinions on regional television.
In short, being as far from playing football as Breitner, who is 59 but played 75 minutes, is from goalkeeping.
Not the Germans.
“Four-five years ago, we decide to play matches like this. This is our sixth match of the year,” said Breitner.
What was the result of the last match? “We won 8-1,” said Breitner, “against a team of former Luxembourg internationals.
Wednesday, thus, continued the embarrassment that started with the senior India team being thumped 1-9 by Kuwait in a friendly, the U-23 squad losing 0-5 to Japan in the Asian Games before this.
Breitner though wasn’t ready to be judgmental.
“I will be entitled to an opinion only when I come here for the fourth or fifth time, not after two days.”
But as he made his way out of the conference room, the Yuba Bharati Krirangan was plunged in darkness. It summed up the evening.