Bernhard Wessel, the goalkeeper in the 1963 title-winning team, passed away this Saturday at the age of 85. Wessel also helped BVB to win the DFB-Pokal in 1965 and the European Cup Winners' Cup in 1966. The agile shot-stopper made 134 appearances for the Black & Yellows between 1959 and 1969.
Wessel, who was born in Sendenhorst on 20 August 1936, came to Borsigplatz aged 22 as the goalkeeper for the Westphalian XI. He compensated for his small stature of 1.75m with an outstanding leap. "That's how he came to be nicknamed Flieger," BVB president Dr. Reinhard Rauball said of Wessel, whom he described as a "reliable and consistently loyal goalkeeper. Bernhard Wessel played a major role in Borussia Dortmund's great successes in the 1960s, even though he didn't always play. That's because we had outstanding strength in depth in the goalkeeper position."
In World Cup winner Heinrich Kwiatkowski (until 1966) and runner-up Hans Tilkowski (from 1963 to 1967), Wessel had outstanding competition in his position. Nevertheless, he made regular appearances and kept the BVB goal in the 1963 German Championship final round and final against 1. FC Cologne (3-1 win). In addition, he made a significant contribution in the 1965 DFB-Pokal victory, only missing the final (2-0 win against Alemannia Aachen). During the triumphant European Cup Winners' Cup run in 1966, he kept the BVB goal in the 8-0 win over La Valletta and 3-0 victory against CSKA Sofia in the last 16. Wessel played his last of 87 Bundesliga games on 8 February 1969 – a 2-0 loss in Hamburg. Due to a long-term groin injury, he called time on his career at the end of that season at the young age of 32. He later worked as a coach for VfL Schwerte and TuS Neuenrade, among others. "Our thoughts are with his family and we shall always honour Bernhard Wessel's memory," declared Dr. Rauball. (br)