(ffm) "In a staggering 602 Bundesliga games, Karl-Heinz Körbel was on the pitch for the Frankfurt Eintracht from 1972 to 1991 (and as a hard-hitting front stopper, not infrequently unnerved opposing offensive lines from the first to the last minute). This sheer number of appearances for ‚his Eintracht' most likely makes Körbel the undisputed Bundesliga record player for all eternity," Eintracht fan and Lord Mayor Peter Feldmann praised the new award winner.
Actually, Körbel could rest on the successes of his active career and enjoy retirement. But even after the end of his career, the now 65-year-old Eintracht veteran is committed to his fellow men off the pitch: As director of the Eintracht Frankfurt Football School, he promotes young footballers in this city and imparts moral principles to the up-and-coming players. In addition, Körbel is an integral part and manager of Eintracht Frankfurt's traditional team and has organised numerous charity matches in this capacity. The restless retiree has also been on the ball for years as patron of the Frankfurter Rundschau's Schlappekicker campaign, which supports athletes and clubs in need through no fault of their own.
"Your work is an important contribution to this society, especially in such a fast-moving football business, where an injury can make the difference between a contract worth millions and the end of your career, particularly in social terms. Because young athletes look up to you and are impressed not only by your sporting successes, but also by your fine moral sense," praised Lord Mayor Peter Feldmann Körbel's achievements during the presentation of the city's plaque of honour on Monday, February 10.
"Jürgen Grabowski's wife told me about the honour in the stadium during the last home game against Leipzig. I didn't believe it at first. But it's a cool thing, I have to say," the honoree recounts how he learned of the upcoming honor. Unlike the numerous sporting awards Körbel has already received, he says the badge of honour is something very special, as it puts his voluntary commitment and social work in the spotlight.
"I help where I can. That's how I was brought up and that's how I was as a player. I never had any problems with journalists or fans because of that. Because I think they have always felt that even if I had a bad day, I gave everything for my club, This feeling was also a very important reason why I stayed with Eintracht," explains the self-confessed Christian.
Körbel stresses that it is an important concern for him to pass on ideals and values that he got from idols like Fritz Walter to the next generation. Even though he will receive his retirement notice in April, he feels that the urge to volunteer has grown stronger over the years and continues to grow.
"The football school you founded will celebrate its 20th anniversary next year. So far, you have helped around 50,000 children develop here on and off the pitch. This is not only a huge benefit for Frankfurt, but also testifies to the straightforwardness with which you pursue your goals and projects. On behalf of the city, I would like to thank you very much for this," said the city leader. Feldmann also emphasised that Körbel was one of the few sportsmen to receive the City of Frankfurt's Badge of Honour. For this is only awarded to personalities who have rendered outstanding services to the city in the fields of local politics, culture, economics, social affairs or urban development and who have contributed to enhancing the reputation of the city of Frankfurt am Main through their work.
Körbel, meanwhile, passed on the thanks immediately and referred to his "good team", which was a great help to him. It also gives him a lot of energy when young players from Eintracht's professional squad ask him for advice.