BVB legend Reinhold Wosab, who was born in Marl on 25 February 1938, has turned 80 today. It's hard to believe that the 1.74m-tall football fiend, who featured when the first-ever Bundesliga campaign kicked off on 24 August 1963, is now entering his ninth decade – the energetic octogenarian was still playing the beautiful game until recently.
The "Bundesliga pioneer", who has been happily married to his wife Doris for 52 years, is both a proud father – to two children, Carsten and Maren – and grandfather. For almost three decades, he ran the company "Goly" in the town of Alzey, Rhineland-Palatinate, a trade for which he became known as the "King of the Cups" by his customers. Whether it was the "Golden Shoe" awarded to Miroslav Klose at the 2006 World Cup or the "Player of the Month" awards presented by Sport 1 and kicker, Reinhold Wosab was the man who provided the finishing touch. "World Footballer of the Year" or "Footballer of the Century" award-winners such as Pele own trophies produced at Wosab's workshop, located between Worms and Bingen.
When Wosab arrived at BVB in 1962, the club's then-Chairman Herbert Sandmann believed he had discovered a gem. Schalke had been chasing him – but not hard enough – and the two-footed wing-forward became a German champion with the Black & Yellows in his debut season. Not only did he set up the second goal in the 3-1 victory over 1. FC Köln in the final in Stuttgart, but he delivered an outstanding display against world-class defender Karl-Heinz Schnellinger as well.
Two years later he received a DFB Cup winner's medal after Borussia Dortmund claimed a 2-0 victory over Alemannia Aachen in the final in Hanover. At European level he was one of the brilliant forwards, finding the net in the 5-0 victory over Benfica on 4 December 1963 – one of BVB's finest hours – and in a 4-0 win against Dukla Prague, the club of the Czech army. And yet perhaps the biggest disappointment of the ambitious Westphalian's career came in continental competition. In the 1965/66 European Cup Winners' Cup campaign, he was a regular fixture until a combination of illness and injury prevented him from playing in the 2-1 final victory over Liverpool.
"It's tough when you can't participate directly in the greatest success," said Wosab, who made a total of 257 appearances in the Bundesliga, scoring 70 goals. Having spent a decade plying his trade with his beloved Borussia, Wosab then spent two largely successful years lacing his boots for VfL Bochum, before completing a switch to Rot-Weiß Lüdenscheid where he would see out the final two years of his career.
As Chairman, he was at BVB when they gained promotion in 1976 and the emotional connection between man and club endured. Reinhold Wosab would often make the 600-kilometre round-trip from his home to Signal Iduna Park to be reunited with familiar faces from the past.
The fact that our honorary member and title-winner has not been sighted as often of late is, in his own words, because: "I had a minor stroke. But now everything is okay again. I'll be back on the ball soon!" We send him our heartfelt best in those endeavours, as well as wishing him many happy returns on his 80th birthday this Sunday!