Christian averts cruel repeat
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Christian Ziege had good reason to fear for his World Cup place when he limped off against West Ham in April with a nasty looking foot injury. For our German wing-back it could have been a case of history cruelly repeating itself.
Christian missed the World Cup cut in 1994 when, while playing for Bayern Munich, he climbed for a ball against his opponent and tore ligaments on landing. The irony is, the player he jumped against - Martin Wagner - went to the USA jamboree in Christian's place.
So it is no surprise that the elegant German was more than a little concerned when he limped off against the Hammers and the date of the incident hardly improved his frame of mind.
"I was actually," reflected Christian from Germany's World Cup camp. "I was even worried a little bit more because it was a strange pain and, at first, it looked really bad. It wasn't so afterwards and the operation helped, but I was worried.
"The problem was we played against West Ham on the 13th April. When I missed the World Cup in 1994 I got injured on the 14th April!
"So it was the first thing I worried about."
Despite his fears, Christian actually wanted to play on against West Ham - with Glenn constantly asking him if he wanted to come off once he was struggling. He eventually accepted the inevitable and missed Germany's friendly with Argentina and, as it turned out, the remainder of the season.
"It was a tackle I think that caused the problem. It wasn't really bad and didn't hurt me that much. Straight after the tackle I was still walking and running but, three or four minutes later, it started to hurt.
"I could run sometimes even afterwards. I would walk four or five steps normally, but then came the pain which I couldn't resist and I nearly fell down."
Christian went on to explain the sequence of events that led to his 1994 World Cup dream being ended before it began.
"He didn't tackle me. I went for a header and he didn't jump. I headed the ball, came down and landed on his foot and tore my ligament.
"Then he went to the World Cup."
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By Richard Hubbard
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