German footballer

Born: July 12, 1935;

Died: January 5, 2020.

HANS Tilkowski, who has died aged 84, was a German international goalkeeper who will always be associated with the epic 1966 World Cup final. With the game in extra time, tied at 2-2, Geoff Hurst sent in a powerful shot, parried by Tilkowski, which was adjudged to have crossed the line after rebounding from the crossbar.

Swiss referee Gottfried Dienst consulted his Azerbaijani linesman, Tofiq Bahramov, who ruled it legitimate although the German goalkeeper always maintained it was not, fuelling various theories about the decision in England’s favour. The controversial goal was a crucial turning point in the match. When asked later how being world champion might have affected him, he responded that “he would have not been a different person, but credibility, humanity, justice and respect were always his cornerstones in life.”

Disappointed though he was, Tilkowski did not allow it to sour relations with his opponents, and later became good friends with Hurst, fellow ‘keeper Gordon Banks and Alan Ball, among others. His death occurred shortly after that of England’s Martin Peters, who scored the host nation’s second goal in the final.

Other highlights of his career included 39 international caps, a European Cup Winners’ Cup medal with Borussia Dortmund in 1966 (they defeated Liverpool in the final at Hampden), German Footballer of the Year 1965 and domestic Cup and League successes with Borussia and Westfalia Herne.

His life was infused with a strong social conscience and he did much highly praised work for many charities including UNICEF, leukemia and multiple sclerosis organisations, and the International Peace Village as well as organising fundraising charity football matches. His contribution was recognised with several awards.

Born the son of a miner in Husen, a suburb of Dortmund in the industrial Ruhr valley, he experienced hard times during and after the war. Despite difficulties, football in Germany mostly continued then and Tilkowski began as an outside-right with local side SV Husen19 between 1946 and 1949.

Latterly he played some games in goal, which became his permanent position once he joined SuS Kaiserau in 1949, and for whom he played till 1955 while qualifying as a steel fitter and technical salesman.

He signed for Westfalia Herne, and while there he gained his first West German cap in a win over Holland in Amsterdam on April 3, 1957. His second cap was less successful, a 3-1 defeat by Scotland in Stuttgart a month later, thanks to two goals by Bobby Collins and one by Jackie Mudie, in front of 80,000 unhappy home fans, when the hosts were reigning world champions.

By 1959 he had established himself as his country’s no. 1 ‘keeper. Renowned for his calm and composure, he often played in black, earning the nickname ‘Shwarzer [black] Hans’. By 1963 he had joined Borussia, with whom he became an iconic player, winning the German Cup in 1965 and playing an important role in their 1966 European success, the first German club to win a European trophy.

Later he played for Eintracht Frankfurt, hanging up his boots in 1970 after about 350 top-level games. From then till 1982 he coached such teams as Werder Bremen, TSV 1860 Munich, Nuremberg, Saarbrucken and A.E.K. Athens.