Lehmann bows out after 22 years
Flamboyant ex-Germany goalkeeper Jens Lehmann ended his 22-year career on Saturday as he played his final Bundesliga match for Stuttgart in a 1-1 draw with Hoffenheim. The 40-year-old ex-Arsenal shot-stopper has hung up his gloves and will be a TV pundit for next month's FIFA World Cup™, having grabbed the headlines here for falling out with fans, team-mates and even ball-boys over the last two years.
This was his 394th German league game and he also played for Schalke 04 (1988-98), AC Milan (1998) and Borussia Dortmund (1998-2003). Lehmann made his debut for Schalke in 1988 and won the 1997 UEFA Cup with the Royal Blues and then the Bundesliga with Dortmund in 2002.
He made his name during five years at Premier League side Arsenal and was notably sent off for fouling Barcelona striker Samuel Eto'o after only 18 minutes of the 2006 Champions League final, which Arsenal lost. He won both the FA Cup and the Premier League title with the North London giants.
Lehmann hit the headlines in Germany last October when he scolded a ball-boy at Hanover during Stuttgart's 1-0 defeat at a time when his side were hanging just above the relegation zone. Lehmann asked the boy to return the ball quickly after it went out of play, but when he cheekily threw it over the goalkeeper's out-stretched arms to buy his side more time, the ex-Germany star was enraged.
"What kind of culture is this?" fumed Lehmann after his team's fourth defeat in a row. "I wonder if people want to see these scenes. By faking injuries and pulling stunts like those, Hannover wasted 10 minutes. I find it awful that ballboys are being taught to cheat."
Lehmann won 61 caps for Germany, the last of which came in the Euro 2008 final defeat at the hands of Spain in Vienna, and ousted ex-captain Oliver Kahn from the 2006 FIFA World Cup™ side that finished third.