Borussia Dortmund is mourning the passing of one of the most important players of their promotion-winning team of 1976. Goalkeeper Horst Bertram passed away last night at the age of 74. "We're all very saddened by the news. I personally was a great admirer of this wonderful sportsman," explained BVB president Dr. Reinhold Lunow.
Horst Bertram was the only player who stayed loyal to BVB in the four Regionalliga and Zweitliga years that followed relegation in 1972. He turned down an offer from FC Bayern Munich in the twilight of his career because the former president Dr. Reinhard Rauball asked him to stay on, as his chosen successor Eike Immel was only 18 years old and therefore an experienced man was needed to sit on the bench.
Horst Bertram kept goal for Borussia Dortmund in 258 competitive games between 1971 and 1983. He was the No. 1 from 1972 to 1979 and even captained the team from 1976 to 1978.
During this time, a BVB team sheet without his name on it was unfathomable. Bertram, who had a very big hand in the promotion of 1976, gave everything for his Borussia. When the team became stuck in a relegation battle in the spring of 1979, he played despite an injury. "I couldn't run another metre. Before games, I was sent to Düsseldorf to see masseur Deuser so that I'd somehow be able to play." His 258th and final game – most of which were played in a light blue goalkeeping shirt – came at Frankfurt's Waldstadion on the last day of the 1978/79 season. On that day, 2 June 1979, Borussia made it mathematically certain that they would stay up.
Bertram ended his professional career in 1983, then spent many years working as a coach at amateur level and at the same time opened a stationery shop – first in Scharnhorst, then in Wickede – which he ran well beyond his actual retirement age. "Now I'm retired," he said just a few weeks ago.
Horst Bertram had celebrated his 75th birthday on 16 November. "There's great sadness," declared Dr. Lunow. (br)