Making transfers as flashy as they are improbable: Olympique de Marseille in the 1990s made it a specialty. Thus, having just been crowned European champion with Germany and freshly elected best goalkeeper in the world in 1996, Andreas Köpke arrives at OM, back in D1, to everyone’s surprise. A transfer made “by default”, since the doorman had signed up with FC Barcelona before seeing the transaction canceled by FIFA, the fault of the player’s agent, not having a valid license. Double of the German, Jérôme Alonzo also remembers the arrival of his charismatic mentor: “We are in Albertville on a preparation course, and I arrive at the morning weigh-insays the former PSG to the Phocaean. I see a guy and I tell myself that his face tells me something. He comes to me and says: “Hello, I’m Andreas Köpke.” In fact, Robert-Louis Dreyfus had just had him signed. Our coach, Gérard Gili, comes to see me a little embarrassed and tells me that I’m becoming second goalkeeper. If the guy had been a truffle, I would have yelled, but now you shut up and watch. We found ourselves neighbors in Cassis and we became very good friends. » At 34, Andi thus achieved a high-quality 1996-1997 exercise (playing 35 out of 38 matches in D1), despite the sluggish eleventh place collectively won at the end of the season. A successful campaign, but tainted by what remains, even today, the biggest defeat in the history of the club. It was against Lyon (8-0).
The trauma is equal to the disappointment, Köpke not hesitating to speak of the “biggest shame of his life” . Observation shared by David Linarès, opponent of the person concerned that day: “After every goal, I remember Köpke taking the ball in his net and shooting big mines as high as possible. He was swearing in German, shouting “Schiesse”! He was an international goalkeeper all the same, but he felt really abandoned. » Alonzo continues: “I understand the humiliation that Andreas may have felt. Two days before the game, I see him coming out of the locker room with our goalkeeping coach Marc Levy. He was in overalls, with gloves and 16 millimeter studs. I wonder what he’s doing and I see him leave for a specific two-hour session in the middle of a dodger! That was Andreas Kôpke, and this image made me change my approach to the profession. There are no small matches. You wear the club jersey, you represent the supporters, and he was right. This 8-0 conceded in Lyon, we had no right to do that. » A deletion on an ideal copy, confirmed the following season, with the Olympians grabbing a fourth place synonymous with Europe, before the local context definitely derailed the machine german. Indeed, despite a solid start under the orders of Rolland Courbis and an intact starting status during the 1998 World Cup, Andreas Köpke lost the confidence of his coach, preferring Stéphane Porato. A sportingly complex decision, the explanation of which finds its source far from the lawns.
Close to Stéphane Courbis, son of Rolland, the rumors of the corridor thus affirm that Porato benefited from a certain ease of access, to the detriment of his teammate. The already weakened link finally breaks on leaving a mixed performance against Werder in the UEFA Cup (OM won 3-2 at the Vélodrome, but Köpke was guilty of the two Bremen goals) and a dismissal demanded by coach Courbis. Abandoned by an institution that he had nevertheless learned to love and aged 36, Andreas Köpke therefore decided to leave the ship in January 1999, to return to Nuremberg, the love that revealed him. At the end of this southern trip, 68 first division matches in France will therefore have piled up, with absolute respect for the Vélodrome and that of his friends between the posts.
#819: Steve Marlet