The “Miracle of Bern” of 1954

Group F / 3rd day. Germany – Hungary, first reunion in competition.

For the Germans, it will forever be “the miracle of Bern”. For the Hungarians, the historical pain of a world champion title lost against all odds: Germany-Hungary, this Wednesday in Munich (9 p.m.), is the repetition of the 1954 World Cup final, made history soccer.

The genius Ferenc Puskas

A revenge ? Almost, since this is the first competitive game between the two teams since that epic encounter in Bern, Switzerland, won 3-2 by West Germany. In the meantime, 14 friendlies pitted the two countries against each other, but no official (not counting Hungary -RDA at the time of communist East Germany).

Hungary in 1954 was even stronger than the All Blacks of the 2010s in rugby: before this final, the brilliant Ferenc Puskas and his teammates had been undefeated for four years, and had achieved the feat of beating the English 6-3 in their Wembley temple. Their system, a flexible 4-2-4, was revolutionary. It would then serve as a basis for the tactical evolutions of Pelé’s Brazil and Johan Cruyff’s Netherlands.

In the group stage at the World Cup, these Hungarian ogres had devoured Germany 8-3. No one would have bet a Deutsche Mark on their loss in the final. In ten minutes, Germany came back to 2-2. And after a tough match, Helmut Rahn, in the 84th minute, achieved the goal of the “miracle”: a left-footed shot at the entrance to the box, which always goes on loop at the Dortmund Football Museum, with the commentary period!

Mythical “Golden Eleven”

This July 4, 1954 became a major date in the history of post-war Germany. “This victory filled a void”, explains Kristian Naglo, professor of sociology at the University of Marburg and specialist in sport. “ For a relatively short time, Germany has returned to the world stage, it has shown that it is returning to the concert of nations “. In 1950, Germany, which was clearing its ruins, was not even allowed to send a team to the first post-war World Cup in Brazil.

Behind the veil of the miracle nonetheless emerges doping: a study by the German Olympic Committee revealed in 2010 that the use of methamphetamines had helped the Mannschaft.

In Hungary, memories of what was called the “Golden Eleven” have turned into a myth. “This past is still present in all the country, and it is heavy, because we constantly compare the new generation with that of Puskas”, analyzes the former German coach of Hungary Bernd Storck. Peter Gulacsi, the current goalkeeper, says he does not feel this pressure because “we are more successful than previous generations and we are making progress”. Still, a victory this Wednesday on German soil would look, for the heirs of the “Golden Eleven”, to a small “Munich miracle”.

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