Germany Unity Series: When Giovanni Trapattoni Lost It - "Was Erlauben Struuunz?"

Seldom before has a single speech made so many neologisms for the German language... "Ich habe fertig" (I'm finished) and "Schwach wie eine Flasche leer" (weak like an empty bottle) are now firmly established and form many cultural references - even among the protagonists themselves, and all stem back to Giovanni Trapattoni's legendary outburst just over 12 and a half years ago. This we discuss in today's edition of's "20 years - 20 Moments" series for German unity.
Flashback: March 10, 1998, the reigning German champions Bayern Munich were still reeling from their 1-0 Bundesliga defeat to Schalke. The gap to leaders Kaiserslautern was already a whopping seven points, a reality that resonated at the Bavarians' Saebener Strasse training ground. Bayern coach Giovaani Trapattoni, a gentleman with a passionate heart and the soul of a professional, took part in a mandatory press conference. What then ensued is, even today, one of the most memorable scenes in the history of German football.

Player Criticism And Media Scolding...

After the Schalke game, Mario Basler and Mehmet Scholl had been critical of the fact that they were not in the starting XI and furthermore there were complaints from Thomas Strunz, who objected to being substituted. FC Hollywood seemed to be back in bloom. In addition, the common media criticism of the Italian coach was that his Bayern played too defensively. Under Trapattoni, who in terms of titles was the most successful coach in the world and who was nicknamed 'Il Tedesco' (the German) because of his strong emphasis on discipline, the tension had been building up. And yes, it had to be let out.

'Il Trap' Celebrates The DFB Pokal Victory In 1998

... The Source Of The Outburst

The 'Mister' began calmly before suddenly breaking out in a burst of emotion: "A coach is not an idiot! A trainer sees what happens on the pitch," he bellowed in the press room before his now legendary words followed. "In this game, there were two, three or four players who were weak like an empty bottle!" Trapattoni said of his players following the Schalke match. The voice of the then nearly 59-year old became more jittery and one could sense from his body language his excitement: He slammed the desk with his hand and his arms were swinging around. Mark Hoerwick looked equally confused, as if embarrassed to find him erupting like a volcano. Bayern's press officer was happy to remain calm, well aware of the coverage that would follow over the coming days.

A Word On Everyone's Lips

Then a name echoed through the room: "STRUUNZ! Strunz has been here for two years, has played 10 games, and is always injured - what right does he have to speak?" Trapattoni distinctly pronounced "Strunz," which sounds very similar to an Italian swear word. A little later he closed his speech with his equally famous "I'm finished!" After just over three minutes, the press conference was over. Among the journalists present there was only incredulous silence, then, when Trapattoni left the room, a round of applause. Even news programs such as the ZDF daily news opened that day with excerpts from the outburst.

Farewell With Cup Success

By the end of the season, Bayern were beaten to the league title in sensational fashion by the promoted Kaiserslautern, but managed to win the DFB Pokal final against MSV Duisburg. However, despite this success, 'Trap', who, had already left Bayern once at the end of the 1994-95 season, ended his second spell at the club even though his players cheered and celebrated with him after the final game at the Olympiastadion in Berlin. The 'Mister' was finished.

20 years - 20 moments,” this is the series for German football unity. 20 November 1990 was a historic day in German football: the Association of the German Democratic Republic was dissolved, and born as a new member of the Northeast DFB German Football Association (NOFV). The unity of German football was complete. recalls the greatest triumphs, the most tragic moments and most notorious scandals over the last 20 years.

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