Going With The French Flow

A frantic West Germany defender HANS-PETER BRIEGEL of Italian Serie A side FC Hellas Verona is too late to prevent Argentina midfielder JORGE BURRUCHAGA (7) of Independiente from slipping the ball underneath advancing netminder HARALD “Toni” SCHUMACHER of 1.FC Koeln and netting the dramatic winning goal in the Final of the 1986 FIFA World Cup at the Estadio Atzeca in Mexico City.

With English professional clubs now suspended from UEFA competition as a result of the infamous disaster at the Heysel Stadium in Brussels just prior to the start of the Final of the European Cup in 1985, several French sides set their sights quite high and targeted continental glory thereafter. Following the conclusion of the 1986 FIFA World Cup in Mexico, no fewer than 20 competing players — including five participants in the Final between Argentina and West Germany — were snapped up by a dozen French first division outfits willing to pay lucrative wages on an unprecedented scale. Headlining this bunch was new FC Nantes midfielder JORGE BURRUCHAGA, the still-only 23-year-old who scored the critical breakaway goal late that allowed Argentina to lift the coveted gold FIFA World Cup Trophy.


86/87 – MATRA RACING CLUB PARIS … sitting at far left in the front row is West Germany World Cup winger PIERRE LITTBARSKI, who was purchased at a cost of 2.75 million Deutsche Mark from Bundesliga side 1.FC Koeln but posted just four goals in 32 league matches during his one and only season in France … second from left in the last row is Uruguay World Cup striker ENZO FRANCESCOLI, the pricey acquisition from powerful Argentine side River Plate who finished tied for fourth in the French first division with 14 goals his first term in the French capital city … fourth from right in the middle row is France World Cup midfielder LUIS FERNANDEZ, who was recruited from defending Ligue 1 champion and intra-city rival Paris Saint Germain in the summer of 1986 … despite the massive expenditures to bring in star players, Matra Racing Club Paris failed to draw significant crowds and recoup its investments while finishing an unimpressive thirteenth place out of twenty clubs in the French top flight.

1986-87 French First Division
Jorge BURRUCHAGA, Argentina … Independiente to Nantes
Julio OLARTICOECHEA, Argentina … Boca Juniors to Nantes
Jose Luis BROWN, Argentina … Atletico Nacional Medellin (Col) to Brest
Karl-Heinz FOERSTER, West Germany … Vfb Stuttgart to Marseille
Pierre LITTBARSKI, West Germany …. 1.FC Cologne to Racing Club Paris
Jean-Pierre PAPIN, France … Club Brugge (Bel) to Marseille
Erwin VANDENBERGH, Belgium … RSC Anderlecht to Lille
Philippe DESMET, Belgium … KSV Waregem to Lille
JULIO CESAR, Brazil … FC Guarani Campinas to Brest
Soren LERBY, Denmark … Bayern Munich (WGer) to Monaco
Soren BUSK, Denmark … MVV Maastricht (Hol) to Monaco
John HELT, Denmark … IF Broendby to Sochaux
Enzo FRANCESCOLI, Uruguay … River Plate (Arg) to Racing Club Paris
Ruben PAZ, Uruguay … SC Internacional (Brz) to Racing Club Paris
Wilson CABRERA, Uruguay … CF Valencia (Spa) to Nice
Boycho VELICHKOV, Bulgaria … Lokomotiv Sofia to Le Harve
Georgi DIMITROV, Bulgaria … CSKA Sofia to St. Etienne
Peter HANNICH, Hungary … Honved Budapest to Nancy
Antal NAGY, Hungary … Honved Budapest to Nancy
Andrzej ZGUTCZYNSKI, Poland … Gornik Zabrze to Auxerre

FC Girondins Bordeaux, who had been the champions of Ligue 1 in 1985 and would go on to capture the first division title again for the 1986/87 campaign, brought in the twins who had both represented Yugoslavia at the 1982 FIFA World Cup final tournament in Spain, not to mention the 1984 UEFA European Championships hosted by France, previously :

Zlatko VUJOVIC, Yugoslavia … HNK Hadjuk Split to Bordeaux
Zoran VUJOVIC, Yugoslavia … HNK Hadjuk Split to Bordeaux


A pair of veterans who each featured in the West Germany squads which reached the Final of the FIFA World Cup in both 1982 and 1986 face one another professionally in France as Olympique Marseille defender KARL-HEINZ FOERSTER (left) keeps track of Matra Racing Club Paris winger PIERRE LITTBARSKI in a top flight contest during the 1986/87 campaign.

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