Horst leupold: the good soul of the 1. Fc nuremberg

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The champion player is 80 years old

Horst Leupold: The good soul of the 1. FC Nuremberg

Hans Boller

Editor of the Nurnberger Nachrichten

His greatest success: Horst Leupold (bottom row, left) as German champion. © e-arc-tmp_20171130-110421-031.jpg, NN

Nuremberg – Horst Leupold experienced the last great high with the club and a turning point – the championship of 1968 was followed by relegation in 1969. The Nuremberg native has been a member of the club for 70 years now. He overcame his greatest struggle after his career: A car driver ran him over on a forest road, and he almost bled to death. His left leg should have been amputated – a doctor saved it.

The 1. November 1999 was a bright autumn day. Horst Leupold got on his bicycle at home in Nuremberg-Falkenheim and rode 20 kilometers through the countryside to Burgthann, where his mother was in the hospital. "I know still, as I have told myself a few times: How beautiful it is, the sun, the autumn colors", he tells "dreamlike, like a gift" this day had seemed to him.

Horst Leupold almost died on this day.

The coat of arms on the bird house

Horst Leupold sits at the living room table, his wife has brought the good doughnuts from the bakery next door. He is a vital, very hearty man, that he was a great footballer, knows, anyone who is even a little bit interested in this sport.

Nature lover: Horst Leupold shortly before his 80th birthday. Birthday at home in the garden. © Hans Boller, NN

In the Leupolds’ house on Schulze-Delitzsch-Weg, there is little to remind us of this; Leupold is not a person who displays trophies, only in the garden – goldfish swim in the small pond – adorns the coat of arms of the 1. FC Nuremberg the roof of a small birdhouse. Horst Leupold smiles, a gift, he says, it was. He likes birds, the garden, nature, long walks along the old Main-Danube canal.

"Home is a gift

"home", üHorst Leupold "This is also a gift", he has to smile once more. "Basically, I have spent my entire life within a radius of five kilometers," he says." He was born at Dutzendteich, the youngest of three children, and played soccer at Valznerweiher – at a time when it was not possible to become a millionaire. For 40 years, the Leupolds ran a stationery store with a lottery ticket office on Frankenstrasse, and for more than half a century they have lived in Falkenheim, less than five kilometers from the stadium.

Entry in the Golden Book of the City 2018: Horst Leupold , Fritz Popp, Franz Brungs, Karl-Heinz Ferschl, Heinz Muller, Georg Volkert and Mayor Ulrich Maly, © Roland Fengler, NN

"I love home, our Nuremberg, our club", says Horst Leupold "I am very grateful for the many beautiful friendships that we were able to make". And that probably also helped him after that first game in Nuremberg. November 1999.

The misfortune of 1999

He was, in the early afternoon, on his way home, when, on a small forest road, a car raced towards him, lurching, at high speed – "like at a rally", This is one of his last memories, it seemed unreal to him. Everything must be done in seconds. The car hit him with full force.

Three from the club youth: Horst Leupold, Jurgen Billmann, Fritz Popp. © e-arc-tmp_20171130-110421-014.jpg, NN

He was lying in a ditch in the woods "his left leg was shredded, the blood was shooting out". The driver – apparently intoxicated or on drugs, that let had only briefly looked around and had raced on, had the second passerby not had a cell phone with him, Horst Leupold would still have died in the forest, bled to death. He was in critical condition for days. "They told me all this when I woke up from the coma", he tells.

The last hope

They told him something else in the Nuremberg hospital: that the leg could not be saved, everything was already prepared for an amputation. Since then, Jorg Grunert has been a friend of the family, they talk on the phone regularly. Grunert, then Professor of Plastic Surgery at the Erlangen University Hospital, today Chief Physician in Sankt Gallen "was the last hope", Horst Leupold tells.

Always fully committed: Horst Leupold at the 1967 game in Bremen. © e-arc-tmp-20130925-174742-001.jpg, NN

Six months he was in the hospital in Erlangen, at least ten operations, exactly knows he no longer does, encompassed the time of suffering. His wife visited him every day "except once, when I had to forbid her to do so because of a black ice warning," he says. Jorg Grunert was able to save the leg, it remained stiff, but Horst Leupold was able to walk – and his first way after being released from the hospital led him to the 1.FC Nuremberg, for the 100th anniversary of the club in the exhibition hall.

The special birthday

It was and is a familiar path, the path of his life. On Sunday, the 30. January, Horst Leupold became 80 years old, it is a very special day of honor – for exactly 70 years he has belonged to the 1.FC Nuremberg to. At the age of ten, one was allowed to join the club at that time, little Horst Leupold did not want to wait a day longer, and so he set off on 30. January 1952, his tenth birthday, on the short way to the Zabo, on a cold Wednesday in the good Sunday shoes. He signed up and trained right away. He only told his parents about it in the evening.

With the championship trophy: Horst Leupold 1968. © e-arc-tmp_20180430-172932-006.jpg, NN

His father was a railroad worker, and his parents weren’t particularly interested in soccer "but they understood that it was my most fervent wish to wear this wine-red jersey, says Leupold. His first soccer shoes, brown with yellow laces, were a belated birthday present from his parents, and he played his first game on the seventh school team.

The happiness of the 1960s

Whether he realized that he is good? "Every one of us was a good footballer, otherwise you wouldn’t have made it into the club youth team", says Leupold. The 1. FC Nuremberg was the most important soccer club in the country at that time.

Today, Horst Leupold stands for his last great era "I was lucky to be allowed to play during this time", he says. He is asked again and again, by newspapers, clubs or educational institutions, to tell about it, he does it gladly, but Leupold then does not tell about heroes, but about friends, and less about pride than about gratitude, gratitude for the love of the many people for their club. You wrote to him when he was in the hospital for half a year "I really cried once", he says.

Master luck: Horst Leupold with right winger Zvezdan Cebinac © e-arc-tmp_20171130-110421-030.jpg, NN

At the age of 18, coach Herbert Widmayer had brought him into the first team, and for two years he had to fight for his place as a right defender – against Paul Derbfub and Helmut Hilpert, who should become his brother-in-law. "After all, it was a club where everyone belonged together.", he says, soccer player, handball player, tennis player, boxer.

His first salary: 120 deutschmarks

Almost all of the players at that time came from the club’s own youth, all of them had learned professions. "Getting money for playing soccer was wonderful, but not the deciding factor," he says, says Horst Leupold. His first basic salary was 120 D-marks, paid out in cash, for soccer he gave up his job as a technical draftsman at MAN with a heavy heart, the stationery store was later mostly run by his wife. "We all put a lot of effort into it, and in terms of effort we were already professionals," says, he says.

Sayings about FCN: Stuhlfauth, life and the club!

Sayings about FCN: Stuhlfauth, life and the club!

Those watershed years, when soccer began to become a different sport and soon a big business, were already imminent. Horst Leupold was an attractive young man when the Bundesliga started in 1963, he became a modern full-back when the term had not yet been invented.

Just a few years later, he would have been a star. "But I wouldn’t trade the experience of winning the highest thing you can win in Germany with friends for anything in the world.", says Horst Leupold.

Leo did not miss a minute

The championship title of 1968, the last for the club so far, is now more than half a century ago; Horst Leupold, fighting name Leo, was on the pitch from the first to the last minute in all 34 games of the season back then. His father came to the stadium for the first time for the last game, the championship ceremony. Yes, says Horst Leupold with a smile, "he liked it" – and he can still see the faces of the many happy people "how proud they were, how it was all one, us, the city, the club, the people who still had to experience the war and the post-war period".

Forever an FCN legend: Fritz Popp turns 80

"Today", he says at the living room table "it’s still so hard to understand that we never managed to play consistently in the Bundesliga again". The 1968 champions were relegated in 1969 because coach Max Merkel wanted to build a modern club, with new players. Friendship, camaraderie, club loyalty, all that, says Leupold, seemed suspicious to the Viennese.

When Bayern came up

But modern soccer and the club did not go together; in the same year, 1969, FC Bayern Munich won its first Bundesliga championship title; sometimes Horst Leupold thinks about how everything would have turned out if Merkel had not broken up the Nuremberg championship team and if the club had remained a competitor.

His career ended after 1972 with ASV Herzogenaurach in the regional league, as Horst Leupold says, Adidas patron Adolf Dassler liked to invite privately for coffee in his villa on Sundays. Later, Leupold was coach at Sudwest and Katzwang "Clubs where there was cohesion", As he says, "For me, it was always most important to have a connection to the people beyond soccer.

Four weeks in Asia

Horst Leupold still played alongside Nuremberg’s world champion Max Morlock and, 110 years ago.000 spectators at the Bernabeu Stadium, missed out on a place in the final of the European Cup Winners’ Cup by just one goal against Atletico Madrid. On behalf of the German Foreign Office, he traveled with the club through Asia for four weeks as an ambassador for German soccer culture. In the European championship competition, Leupold’s international career ended in the fall of 1968 against Ajax Amsterdam with the up-and-coming player of the century Johan Cruyff. "They were great experiences", he says.

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