The name Helmut Schön is well known among German Football fans. He is, after all, the most successful coach of the German national team. Under his direction the team became World champions in 1974 and European champions in 1972. He was also a great player, however, this is less well known since his playing days came before the end of World War Two. He is one of the only players to have scored more goals for the international team than caps gained. He scored 17 times in 16 games. Nicknamed “Der Lang”, Schön played centre-forward for Dresdner SC with whom he was a league champion twice (1943, 1944) and twice cup champion (1940, 1941). Schön is the holder of a Pokal record that still stands to this day: most goals scored in a game.
The Bundesliga record for most goals stands at six and was set by Dieter Müller of 1. FC Köln. In cup competition, however, the record stands at seven. A feat achieved not only by Schön, but also Ernst Willimowski and Dieter Hoeneß. Schön got his seven playing for Dresdner SC in an away game to second-division side Preußen Greppin in Saxony-Anhalt. However, the exact result of the game is controversial. The official score is recorded as 13-0 to the Dresden, but some stubborn Internet sources insist Greppin did save some face and scored one goal.
The press did not normally report much on the unpopular ‘Tschammer-Pokal’ which was founded in 1935 (the forerunner of the modern-day DFB-Pokal). The readers of Germany’s national papers were stumped by the staggering scoreline. The magazine ‘Football’ published the following: ‘VfB Greppin were mistaken thinking they could challenge Dresdener SC. The previous year’s Pokal favourites took the score into double digits and won 13-0. Centre-forward Helmut Schön played the starring role.’
That’s one way of putting it. Schöngot seven goals. The match report read as follows: ‘His knee injury was nowhere to be seen as the silm striker from Dresden showed masterful form, scoring seven times”. The then 20-year-old Schön caught the attention of football experts throughout the country. The young centre-forward soon became Germany’s big hope. Even a week before Schön’s famous seven-goal game, the sports magazine Reichssportblatt reported: “Germany’s striker is called Helmut Schön (…) but will his knee hold up?”
After his international debut in Hamburg in November, 1937 where he scored twice in a 5-0 win over Denmark, Schön had to undergo a second knee operation. After the surgery in January 1938, Schön’s career was put on hold due to what he called a ‘six months sports ban’.
Schön had the record all to himself until 30th August, 1942 when his Germany teammate Ernst Willimowski also got seven goals for TSV 1860 München in a 15-1 win over Alsace champions SG SS Straßbug. Willimowski scored four times in the first half. He could have got more, but he was temporarily sidelined on 32 minutes after picking up a knock. The referee also disallowed one of his goals.
However, Willimowski enthusiasm did not wane. After 55 minutes he had already scored six times. The record came on the 89th-minute mark. Willimowski was aided by the fact the opposition were completely overwhelmed. In the football magazine ‘Kicker’ the title read ’60 on their way to the final’. A predication which came true when they went on to be cup champions. Willimowski scored in the final when the Munich side overcame Schalke 2-0.
Hoeneß became the third player to share the record. He is, however, the only to do it in the DFB-Pokal, a competition formed in 1953. Many statistics mistakenly report Dieter’s brother Uli as the record breaker. However, whilst Uli assisted many of the goals, it was Dieter who was the real goal-getter. In 1978, wearing VfB Stuttgart colours, Hoeneß got seven in a 12-0 DFB-Pokal first round win against Spandauer SV.
Hoeneß got a hat-trick in the first half (scoring in the 4th, 19th and 20th minutes). He then set up a goal that was to be finished by Karl-Heinz Förster. Hoeneß went on to get three more for himself (37th, 51th and 57th minutes). His seventh goal came in the 68th minute and took the score to 9-0. However, he did not score anymore, meaning Hoeneß shares the top podium spot with Schön and Willimowski. 10 years later no one else has joined the seven-goal Pokal club.