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Germany Unity Series: From Messiah To Judas - Christoph Daum And The Cocaine Scandal

In the mid-90s, Bayer Leverkusen began to establish themselves as the nearest challenger to the dominance of Bayern Munich at the top of the Bundesliga. The man behind their success was Christoph Daum, who began his managerial career with Koeln in 1986 and turned out to be a great success. Zwickau-born Daum missed out on winning the Bundesliga title on both sides of the Rhein, as the term "Vizekusen" (in reference to Leverkusen being perennial bridesmaids but never the bride) became a derogatory term towards die Werkself. Daum would lift the Bundesliga title in 1991 with Stuttgart though. The man who on the touchline made life difficult for Bayern Munich in the championship race was also involved in a memorable on-air scrap on German television with Uli Hoeness, which gave the particular show its highest ever ratings figures. 

Daum shone on the touchline, not just in his light-blue suit but as a great motivator with new, innovative training methods, which made the players walk over hot coals for him. "Sometimes, we didn't even realise how exhausting it was," Pierre Littbarski recalls. After Germany's Euro 2000 debacle, there was only one candidate to bring die Nationalmannschaft back to its feet and restore its pride - the Messiah. However, Leverkusen were not prepared to let go of their prized asset immediately and so instead offered up Rudi Voeller as a stop-gap. As far as the top brass at the DFB were concerned, Voeller would keep the seat warm for Daum to take over.

As far as Daum's nemesis Uli Hoeness was concerned, the DFB had chosen the wrong hero. "The matter must be reopened," he said on September 30, 2000 and a few days later the avalanche began as the German evening paper Abendzeitung published the first allegations, which set out why Daum would be unfit to become the new national team boss, although Hoeness did retract his allegations of prostitution and extortion against Daum. Paul Breitner hit the nail on the head when he remarked that "at the end of this affair, one of the two will be finished." Franz Beckenbauer was initially unsure whose side he should take but he did initially refuse to support Hoeness, leaving the Bayern supremo as a lone figure. However, when Daum, who was insistent that he would still become national team coach, refused clear the air talks with Hoeness, Beckenbauer added fuel to the fire by advising Daum to prepare his defence against the long list of allegations levelled against the prospective Mannschaftstrainer.

In order to attempt to clear his name against the allegations of cocaine use, Daum voluntarily offered a hair sample to the forensic investigators in Koeln with the words: "I am doing this because my conscience is completely clear." The German nation counted down the days, waiting for Daum's innocence to be officially proclaimed and that the unsympathetic character who was a loudspeaker for FC Bayern would be discredited as the "asshole of the nation". For his part, Hoeness insisted that "many people will apologise to me". Daum's unambigious and clear statement was to become the greatest own-goal in history as the outcome shook the football world to its very foundations. The bombshell came on October 20 when Professor Kaeferstein informed Bayer Leverkusen president Rainer Calmund that Daum's sample had tested positive for cocaine use. The stunned Pharmaclub (owing to its links with German pharmaceutical company Bayer) immediately dispensed with Daum's services and the DFB followed suit. It suddenly became clear why then Koeln president Dietmar Artzinger-Bolten had sacked Daum during the 1990 World Cup without official explanation. However, that is now water under the bridge.

In retrospect, Daum cited the break-up of his family as an excuse for his indiscretion. "I made a terrible mistake in not taking full responsibility. But I cannot eradicate it." Explaining his decision to offer that hair sample, he said: "I lied to everyone and I didn't want to admit my weakness. I thought that I would somehow get away with it." Daum fled to the United States, buying a one-way ticket and even submitted a second hair sample before he finally showed remorse in January 2001 and admitted himself for therapy. "Yes, I did take cocaine. Yes, I have lied. I want to apologise to all those who have stood by me." The fact that Daum would face a fine and community service played no role. "I have been sentenced to the maximum sentence in the court of public opinion. I have to live with the fact that the finger will always be pointed at me." The missed opportunity of taking charge of the Nationalelf burned a hole in him. "It would have been the greatest, especially when I think now of my idea for DFB Performance Centres. Now it is back on the agenda thanks to DFB Manager Oliver Bierhoff."

Though he went to lick his wounds and receive therapy in the United States, Daum would make a comeback to coaching. He made his first steps back into the world of football with Austria Wien and Fenerbahce. During a rather bizarre press conference, which took place in a hospital, Daum ruled out returning to his former club for health reasons. However, he later broke his word and took over in 2006, restoring the second-tier side to the Bundesliga. In a cloak and dagger operation, he again left his employers in the lurch and decided to swap Koeln for a more lucrative post in Turkey with Fenerbahce. Once more Daum had gone from Messiah to Judas.

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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