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Exactly 23 years ago today, Erik Meijer scored to make it 2-0 again Schalke 04 – and that also secured the medal for Goal of the Month on the ARD Sportschau. "Of course, I've still got it. It's in a sports bag where I collect particular pieces of memorabilia," revealed the former central striker on his only strike that was rated as Goal of the Month. "It was brilliant the way the ball went into the net!"
The Werkself's Brazilian player Paulo Sérgio sent in a low cross from the right for Meijer standing on the six-yard box. "We were on the same wavelength. I definitely set him up more than he did me," said the Dutchman with a smile. "To that extent, it was good that it was the other way round this time." By his own admission, Meyer took up a position at the near post too early, "so my only option was to back-heel it. And with my right foot too – I was a left footer… But that makes it even better!"
Thanks to the win against Schalke 04, Bayer 04 remained on the heels of the league leaders from Munich but went out of the title race on the penultimate matchday of the 1996 – 97 season with a 4-0 defeat away to FC Köln. Missing out on the title has not had diminished Meijer’s positive memories of his three years at Bayer 04. "Leverkusen was definitely the best time of my career from a footballing point of view. We had an incredibly great team. It was huge fun working with that group," said the 50-year-old. "If you think about the club almost getting relegated in 1996 then what we achieved in the 1996/97 season was massive."
Meijer came to Leverkusen in the summer of 1996 as did the coaching duo Christoph Daum and Roland Koch. The striker signed from KFC Uerdingen recalls: "They led a strict regime (he laughs). But we were very successful and had every reason to regularly celebrate in style."
In Meijer's second season at Leverkusen, the Werkself were in the Champions League and after that in the UEFA Cup and were twice runner-ups and third once. The likeable Dutchman rounded off by saying: "Oh my word, that was a special time…"
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