The trial against Jens Lehmann begins in the district court in Starnberg: He is said to have damaged a neighbor’s garage with a chainsaw. It is the next chapter in an endless series of misfires by the ex-national keeper.
From Friday morning, Jens Lehmann, former German national goalkeeper and 2006 World Cup hero, will have to answer before the district court in Starnberg. The Munich II public prosecutor’s list of charges is impressively long: Insulting police officers, damaging property, trespassing and attempted parking fee fraud. According to the prosecutors, Lehmann was guilty of a number of things.
A second day of negotiations is therefore scheduled for December 22nd. A dozen witnesses are expected to testify and numerous journalists will follow the trial. Lehmann and his lawyer actually wanted to avoid so much public attention, but the court decided in October to allow the prosecution’s lawsuit without restrictions.
Jens Lehmann wanted to trick the surveillance camera
Perhaps the court does not take the accused’s prominence into account because this is not the first time Lehmann has appeared before the Starnberg district court. He had already been sentenced to a high fine there in 2016. More on that later.
Lehmann is currently accused of sawing through a roof beam in his neighbor’s garage shell in June 2022. According to the prosecution, Lehmann wanted to get a clear view of Lake Starnberg from his property. The crime scene was the small community of Berg on the eastern shore of the lake. Anyone who lives in an expensive villa here wants to enjoy a clear view of the beautiful landscape.
The 54-year-old ex-professional is said to have carried out the crime with a chainsaw. The indictment states that the saw-happy perpetrator also felled a small tree. Before he took action, he tore off the power cable from a surveillance camera in order to remain undetected. But Lehmann’s plan didn’t work. The camera switched to battery operation and recorded the incident in detail. The police then spoke of a kind of “live broadcast”. So the evidence is clear.
Even as a young goalkeeper he revealed an idiosyncratic character
An exciting question will be whether the recordings will be played in court and the public will get an impression of “Chainsaw Jens” in the act – if it even comes to that. Lehmann’s lawyer Christoph Rückel has announced a statement at the start of the trial.
His client will be keen to put the unpleasant story behind him quickly. The process is a hit for the public. It continues the never-ending saga of Lehmann’s misfires and oddities, which the Essen native has regularly delivered since the beginning of his career, on and off the pitch.
Even as a young goalkeeper he revealed an idiosyncratic character. When he was substituted as Schalke 04’s goalkeeper in 1993, he took the S-Bahn home in an insulted manner during the game. According to his own statement, he had to borrow the money for the ticket. His coach Jörg Berger wanted to sell him afterwards, but Lehmann stayed with the club until 1998 and was part of the great Schalke team that won the UEFA Cup in 1997.
The quarter-final against Argentina was his masterpiece
He continued his career extremely successfully, even if he often got in his own way with his quirky and impulsive behavior. With Borussia Dortmund he became German champion in 2002, with Arsenal London he became English champion in 2004 (without a single defeat in the season!), and he won the English Cup in 2005. In the national team he prevailed in the competition against Oliver Kahn and was one of the heroes of the World Cup. Summer fairy tale 2006.
His two saves in the penalty shootout in the 2006 World Cup quarter-finals against Argentina are unforgettable. The piece of paper with the information about the Argentine shooters that Lehmann pulled out of the neck made history. Lehmann later made the historical piece available for auction to benefit the “A Heart for Children” campaign. It brought in a million euros. The second iconic episode of the legendary game is captured in a famous photo: Lehmann sits on the pitch before the penalty shootout while Oliver Kahn holds his hand and encourages him.
Four years later he ended his career at VfB Stuttgart (except for a one-off appearance as a substitute keeper for Arsenal in 2011). In the Swabians’ jersey, Lehmann delivered one of his more amusing stories when he jumped behind the boards to relieve himself during a Champions League game.
He threw the opponent’s shoes onto the goal net
Lehmann behaved in an unsportsmanlike manner just as regularly. He quickly threw Hoffenheim’s Sejad Salihovic’s shoe, which he had lost, onto the goal net. He once received a yellow-red card after rushing across half the pitch to crush his own center forward Marcio Amoroso in Dortmund. His worst mistake happened in the 2006 Champions League final with Arsenal London. In the 18th minute, Lehmann received a red card after an emergency stop and Arsenal lost the game. The English media had already given Lehmann the nickname “Mad Jens”.
Even fans weren’t always safe from the impulsive keeper. The anecdote in which Lehmann stole a supporter’s glasses on the way to the Stuttgart team bus after being thrown off the pitch in the previous game is legendary.
After his career, the father of three consistently continued the series of embarrassments and failures. As a TV expert, he made disparaging comments about today’s national team captain Ilkay Gündogan (“Is intelligent and speaks great German”), he irritated with statements about the coming out of homosexual footballers (“Football is a man’s business”), and presented himself as a Corona trivialized and made racist comments about ex-professional Dennis Aogo in a WhatsApp message (“Is Dennis actually your quota black?”). The latter faux pas cost him his seat on the supervisory board of Hertha BSC Berlin and his job as a TV expert at the pay channel Sky.
And now the neighborhood dispute that brings him to his second court case. Seven years ago, the district court in Starnberg had already fined him 42,500 euros. Lehmann behaved in traffic like he sometimes did before on the pitch. He had threatened another driver and, in another case, aided and abetted a hit-and-run. He received a penalty order for the latter point.
One can assume that the controversial Lehmann will be convicted again in the current proceedings. By the way, it is said that in recent years he… is said to have repeatedly had arguments with his neighbors. Other garages were also damaged. We’ll continue to hear from him, that’s for sure.