The arrival at Juventus of Sami Khedira reopened the doors of the Old Lady to German players after nearly twenty years. Almanacs report two ghostly presences almost from the early twentieth century such Füller of whom we don’t even know the first name (11 appearances between 1910 and 1914) and Hans Mayer Heuberger who put together just two appearances in 1909-1910.
But the first real kraut in the history of Juventus is “Helmuttone” Haller.
Born in Augsburg (Augusta) in 1938, truck driver as a boy, after his apprenticeship in his hometown team and the national team moved to Bologna of Fulvio Bernardini, Bulgarelli, Pascutto and Nielsen, to invent and inspire contributing to a Scudetto missing since the heroic Bologna team “that maked the world tremble” in the ’30s.
After six seasons in rossoblu he moved to Juve’s Heriberto Herrera, then the Bonipertian transition: moved from the center to the right, in cohabitation with the Baron Causio, Haller enjoyed his time in the pitch and he enjoyed also off the pitch, as frequent visitor of night clubs despite surveillance of wife Wartraud and Italo Allodi’s, who had often fined him and even put him out of the team before a derby (then lost) for a wild night in Wolverhampton.
With Juve he won two league titles and the first of many cup finals champions lost: he passed away in 2012.
After failing to sign Briegel the summer before Boniek then Platini, Juve went back to the German market in ’90, when the unfortunate Montezemolo management gave the no less unfortunate coach Maifredi Thomas Hässler, right wing and pocket desired reincarnation of Haller.
Unfortunately, despite the similarity of name, he will not be up to expectations, and left after one summer heading to Rome.
A year later, with Boniperti and Trap back on the saddle, Stefan Reuter and Jürgen Kohler arrive: if the first will prove to be little more than an honest player (who will inaugurate the long line of transfers to Borussia Dortmund and the long line of terrible ex, scoring against us in UEFA semi-final first leg 94-95), the second will leave an affectionate remembrance in fans.
Among the last (before Ciro Ferrara and Giorgio Chiellini) members of a glorious tribe of stoppers tough and surly to the point that “either the man goes or the ball, never both”, Kohler sometimes scores important goals too, and is fighter who did not betray.
Unlucky with physical problems in his last year, in which he still contributes to the league title and the Italian Cup, in 1995 he greets with destination Dortmund, and will be in the field in the unfortunate Monaco 1997 final.
Finally, year 92-93, here’s Andreas Möller. He joins an ambitious and money spending Juve, with Vialli and Baggio but also with many duplications and tactical misunderstandings.
Möller, playmaker with formidable shot, would be one of those misunderstandings, only that unlike the phlegmatic English Platt or Vialli himself, engages immediately and scores great goals, securing his place in the team. The first season is first class (10 league goals, four in the Italian Cup, four in the UEFA Cup win), confirmation for next season obvious, but the performance will not be repeated. At the halfway point of the following season, in a team that also stutters, good Andy seems to pull the oars, perhaps thinking of the World Cup at end of the season, and adding another fifteen goals to his CV will not affect much.
So when the following year Luciano Moggi takes over the reins of the mercato, he sends him – you guessed it – in Dortmund, where Andy will show no mercy, scoring against Juve both in the UEFA Cup in ’95 and in the Champions a year later, and of course attending the final lost at Olympiastadion.
Ultimately, we will not be the Eldorado of the Germans but we can not complain: Khedira has good chances of entering into a German story that may not be triumphant yet but that can still grow…