Friendly For The Very First Time


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Although the amateur national teams of the two countries actually combined to forge a 1-1 draw at Frechen almost two decades earlier in September of 1969, the very first meeting between the senior sides of the Deutscher Fussball Bund and the Israeli Football Association occurred when the legendary FRANZ “der Kaiser” BECKENBAUER and WEST GERMANY traveled to the Middle East to face ISRAEL in an international friendly on March 25, 1987.

The Israelis were led by highly-experienced captain AVI COHEN of FC Maccabi Tel Aviv, the 30-year-old veteran who had made headlines all across Europe when signed by English powerhouse FC Liverpool in 1979 and would be returning to Great Britain to sign with Scottish giant Glasgow Rangers in just a few months time. 24-year-old defender DAVID PISANTI had only recently left Bundesliga club 1.FC Koeln after a year and a half in West German football to return home and sign with Ligat ha’Al club FC Hapoel Tel Aviv. But Pisanti, who was off again to Europe in the summer of 1987 for two seasons with English First Division club Queens Park Rangers, was not selected to play in the historic international friendly with West Germany by the Israel national team trainer at that time, the Yugoslav import MILJENKO MIHIC.

Meanwhile, it had been less than a year since West Germany had lost to Argentina 3-2 in the Final of the 1986 FIFA World Cup at the enormous Azteca Stadium in Mexico City. Beckenbauer’s squad was re-tooling for the 1988 UEFA European Championships, which the West Germans were scheduled to host. One conspicuous absentee from the visiting squad was veteran goalkeeper HARALD “Toni” SCHUMACHER of 1.FC Koeln, the 33-year-old, two-time World Cup Finalist with 76 caps for West Germany who had retired from the national team after appearing in friendlies with Denmark and Spain in the fall of 1986.

The visiting West Germans, as a result of an early goal from youthful midfielder OLAF THON and a penalty by LOTHAR MATTHAEUS with a mere eleven minutes remaining, shutout the host Israelis 2-0 at Tel Aviv’s little Ramat Gan Stadium in front of a reported 15,000 specatators.

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Israel striker ELI OHANA of FC Beitar Jerusalem was one of three players from the historic side engaging visiting West Germany at the Ramat Gan Stadium in March of 1987 who were headed off to sign with professional clubs in Europe later that summer. Ohana, who remains just inside the top ten among the all-time goal-scorers for the national team, signed with KVV Mechelen in Belgium and paid immediate returns on the club’s investment in his very first season. Ohana scored an important goal for KVV Mechelen in the semifinal round opposite Italian Serie A outfit Atalanta Bergamo and then assisted on the only goal in the Final against storied Dutch side Ajax Amsterdam as the upstart Belgian team lifted the 1988 UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup in the spring of 1988.
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ISRAEL
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GK – 23 – Avi RAN ………………………. FC Maccabi Tel Haifa (9 caps)
DF – 27 – Avinoam OVADIA ………… FC Shimshon Tel Aviv (12 caps, 1 go)
DF – 30 – Avi COHEN ………………….. FC Maccabi Tel Aviv (59 caps, 3 go)
DF – 23 – Menashe SHIMONOV …… FC Maccabi Tel Aviv (19 caps, 0 go)
DF – 30 – Zion MARILI ……………….. FC Maccabi Haifa (6 caps, 1 go)
MF – 30 – Nir KLINGER ……………… FC Maccabi Haifa (83 caps, 2 go)
MF – 29 – Uri MALMILIAN …………. FC Beitar Jerusalem (62 caps, 16 go)
MF – 28 – Daniel BRAILOVSKY …… FC Maccabi Haifa (18 caps, 3 go)
MF – 18 – Shalom TIKVA …………….. FC Maccabi Netanya (23 caps, 6 go)
FW – 22 – Eli DRIKS ……………………. FC Maccabi Tel Aviv (26 caps, 4 go)
FW – 23 – Eli OHANA ………………….. FC Beitar Jerusalem (50 caps, 17 go)

substitutes
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MF – 26 – Moshe SINAI ……………….. FC Hapoel Tel Aviv (47 caps, 7 go)
for Tikva – 46th min

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West Germany midfielder OLAF THON of Schalke 04 Gelsenkirchen
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WEST GERMANY
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GK – 26 – Eike IMMEL ……………….. Vfb Stuttgart (19 caps)
DF – 30 – Thomas HOERSTER ……. Bayer Leverkusen (4 caps, 0 go)
DF – 21 – Juergen KOHLER …………. SV Waldorf Mannheim (105 caps, 2 go)
DF – 26 – Guido BUCHWALD ………. Vfb Stuttgart (76 caps, 4 go)
DF – 26 – Hans PFLUEGLER ……….. Bayern Munich (11 caps, 0 go)
MF – 26 – Andreas BREHME ……….. Bayern Munich (86 caps, 8 go)
MF – 26 – Lothar MATTHAEUS …… Bayern Munich (150 caps, 23 go)
MF – 20 – Olaf THON ………………….. Schalke 04 Gelsenkirchen (52 caps, 3 go)
MF – 24 – Uwe RAHN ………………….. Bor. Moenchengladbach (14 caps, 5 go)
FW – 23 – Herbert WAAS …………….. Bayer Leverkusen (11 caps, 1 go)
FW – 26 – Rudi VOELLER …………….. Werder Bremen (90 caps, 47 go)

substitutes
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MF – 25 – Wolfram WUTTKE ………… 1.FC Kaiserslautern (4 caps, 1 go)
for Voeller – 51st min

Striker RUDI VOELLER, who had scored the second goal for West Germany against France in the semifinal of the 1986 FIFA World Cup, was only months away from being transferred to Italian Serie A side AS Roma for the hefty fee of 7.5 million Deutsche Mark … ANDREAS BREHME, LOTHAR MATTHAEUS and HANS PFLUEGLER were all destined to appear for Bayern Munich in the Final of the 1987 UEFA European Cup even sooner, when the Bavarians would fall to Portuguese side FC Porto at the Praterstadion in Vienna.

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A contemporary Israeli postage stamp commemorates former national team goalkeeper AVI RAN, a rising star for FC Maccabi Haifa by all accounts who was tragically killed in a boating accident while swimming in the Sea of Galilee in the summer of 1987.

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