Women’s football pioneer Gero Bisanz has died of a heart attack aged 78. He was manager of the German women’s national team between 1982 and 1996.
The architect of countless painful drubbings for England’s WNT, Polish–born Bisanz played for FC Cologne and coached Bayer Leverkusen in the early 1970s.
He was the West German FA’s director of coaching when he was tasked with putting together a women’s national team in 1982.
In 1981 an invite to the Taiwan Tournament caused red faces at German soccer HQ because they had no women’s national team to send.
Bisanz was the top coach in the country — an indication that the Germans meant business with their new venture.
From a standing start the Germans quickly challenged the Scandinavians and Italians, seen as the leading lights of the day.
Meanwhile England have NEVER beaten Germany since the first ever meeting, a 2–0 reverse at the ‘Mundialito’ in August 1984.
English counterpart Martin Reagan could only dream of the fairly mild backing Bisanz got from his association.
Bisanz cracked it in 1989 — winning the Euro Championship on home soil. Rivals Norway were seen off 4–1 before 22,000 fans in Osnabrück.
Notoriously, each member of the winning squad was rewarded only with a naff tea set by the West German FA.
Miffed Gero later saw the funny side and donated his to the German football museum.
He stood down after the inaugural women’s football tournament at the 1996 Olympics. Sidekick Tina Theune was anointed his successor and continued German domination of women’s football into the 21st Century.