14.11.2019Bayer 04

‘Rudi wholeheartedly embodies the history’

The nerves have disappeared but fun remains: On Wednesday evening (13 November), the Werkself's record appearance maker Rüdiger Vollborn invited Bayer 04 supporters for a fifth time to hear him talk about the history of the Werkself. "I was very nervous the first time, today I'm relatively relaxed," said the 56-year-old at the end of a "successful evening", which he rounded off with a very special video.

In the end, 111 fans, most of them wearing Werkself shirts and pullovers, followed Vollborn's call to the Schwadbud in the heart of the BayArena. The words "I'll talk about…" were shown on the screens as the guests were admitted – until the former goalkeeper took to the microphone at exactly 19.04 CET. As in previous lectures, Vollborn started by talking about the time the club was founded and historical images were shown of the city of Leverkusen, the first teams and the playing venues. "It was another very enjoyable evening," said Werkself fan Marc. The 50-year-old lives in Leverkusen and once again he was keen to hear Vollborn's tales: "Rudi wholeheartedly embodies the history of our club!". That statement was confirmed by one anecdote.

Intensive research work

As part of his thorough and time-consuming research, Vollborn spent three-week stints in the city archives from morning to night to discover the reasons for the change of shirt colours from the original black and red to orange and blue between 1929 and 1932. "I was able to identify the exact timescale with the help of newspaper articles but I wasn't able to find out the reasons for the change," explained Vollborn. After the lecture it’s back to the day-to-day work: The Berlin-born former keeper works for Bayer 04 in fan liaison and during and after work he likes to immerse himself in the subject of Werkself history.

"I start crying"

Vollborn is all the more happy about the uniformly positive feedback: "Of course, you like to hear that. The club is very close to my heart. In two years I will celebrate my 40th anniversary at the club." Then there should be a lecture where Rudi talks exclusively about his experiences under the Bayer Cross. At the end of the two and a half hour lecture, the Bayer 04 legend provided a taster of the emotion he might well feel: The screens showed a video of the second leg of the UEFA Cup final of 1987/88. Bayer 04 lost the first leg against Espanyol 3-0 but in the return match the Werkself won 6-2 on penalties at the BayArena to lift the UEFA Cup for the first time with the speaker at the lecture in goal. "It's a very emotional film for me and even today I sometimes start crying," Vollborn said quietly as he completed the tour through the "history of our Werkself".


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