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Honour the memory: Germany want to succeed at the World Cup in tribute to late goalkeeper Robert Enke who tragically died last year 
2:08 AM on 13th June 2010

WORLD CUP 2010: Germany aiming to honour memory of tragic keeper Robert Enke

According to the stereotype, German success is built on efficiency rather than emotion. But on Sunday night will be different.

When Joachim Low’s side make their World Cup entrance against Australia in Durban, it will be hard for any of their players to suppress a lump in the throat as they think about tragic goalkeeper Robert Enke, who should have been walking out with them.

Injuries to six key players, including captain Michael Ballack, mean Germany are not as strongly fancied as usual. Yet it would be hard to think of a team with a stronger bond following the untimely loss of Enke, who walked into the path of an express train last November after secretly battling depression for many years.

At 32, Enke was regarded as a gentle giant by team-mates and opponents alike. They were unaware of his private suffering, which had worsened following the death of his two-year-old daughter Lara from a rare heart condition in 2006.

One of Germany’s players involved against Australia tonight, Piotr Trochowski of Hamburg, played against Enke’s Hannover 96 team 48 hours before the keeper killed himself.

‘It was an absolute shock,’ said Trochowski.

‘I had given Robert a hug after our game and had no idea he was suffering from depression. You didn’t get any idea about it from meeting him.

‘I remember the game ended in a 2-2 draw. After, we were both called for a press conference (in Germany it is usual for rival players and managers to share the same platform) and when we saw each other, we gave a hug and chatted as normal.

‘When I heard what happened a few days later, I could not believe it. Robert would have been with us for the World Cup. But he is still with us here in spirit.’

The reaction in Germany to revelations about Enke’s depression has been a turning point in a country which prides itself on a reputation for methodical success. Bundesliga games were cancelled and Ballack represented the players at Enke’s memorial service. It is now thought healthy, even in the macho world of football, for players to talk about their feelings.

With Ballack absent – he sustained an ankle injury in the FA Cup final, his last game in a Chelsea shirt – Bayern Munich defender Philipp Lahm will captain the team and try to make them perform in a way that would have made Enke proud.

Four years ago, Lahm provided an instant feelgood factor at the 2006 World Cup held in Germany by scoring the first goal of the tournament, a cracker in a 4-2 win against Costa Rica. It will be more difficult for Germany to repeat their semi-final showing of four years ago.

Injuries have forced Low to pick the third-youngest squad in the World Cup and they are still looking to veteran Miroslav Klose for goals, even though he is no longer a first-team regular at Bayern Munich.

Even so, as Lahm prepares to wear the armband made famous by Franz Beckenbauer, Lotthar Matthaus, Oliver Kahn and Ballack, he knows a drop in German standards will not be accepted.

‘The expectations from our fans and media are always immense,’ he said.

‘After all, we are Germany even if the pressure will be different to 2006 when we were the hosts. This is a country that has won the World Cup three times, reached the final seven times, and the semi-finals 10 times! Any German team must be in the final at least.

‘We won’t forget Robert. Our team has grieved a lot for him because he was a great person and a fantastic character.

‘Memories of him will re-appear to us during the World Cup. We will continue to think about him.’



Robert Enke was born on August 24th, 1977 according to

August 24th

8 + 24 +2+0+0+9 = 43 = his personal year (from August 24th, 2009 to August 23rd, 2010)

43 year + 5 (May) = 48 = his personal month (from May 24th, 2010 to June 23rd, 2010) = Sky.  Heaven.  Remembering.  Tribute.


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