Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Germany and Hannover 96 goalkeeper Robert Enke has died after being hit by a train in an apparent suicide on Tuesday, police have confirmed.
Enke, 32, was fatally injured at a level crossing north west of Hanover. The German football federation (DFB) said in a statement: "The German team has learned of the death of Robert Enke with great shock."
Germany team manager Oliver Bierhoff added: "We are in a state of shock. It is beyond words." Enke's daughter Lara died in 2006 of a rare heart condition when she was just two.
He leaves behind his wife, Teresa, and an eight-month-old daughter the couple had adopted in May. German police released a statement saying: "The victim is apparently national team goalkeeper Robert Enke from Hannover 96.
The first police indications are that it was a suicide." Enke was struck by a regional train travelling between Norddeich and Hannover at a railway crossing in Neustadt am Rubenberge and died at the scene. Some reports gave the time of his death as "shortly before" 6pm local time (1700 GMT).
He played eight times for Germany and also for clubs Carl Zeiss Jena, Borussia Monchengladbach, Benfica, Barcelona, Fenerbahce and Tenerife, before returning to the Bundesliga with Hannover in 2004. Enke made his international debut aged 29 and became Germany's number one keeper after Jens Lehmann retired from internationals at the end of Euro 2008. He had missed Germany's last four matches with a virus but returned for his club at the weekend. Germany coach Joachim Low had indicated that Enke was in pole position for the number one jersey at next year's World Cup finals in South Africa.
Dr Theo Zwanziger, president of the DFB, said that the football community in Germany "are deeply distressed and in mourning", adding: "All our sympathy goes to the wife of Robert Enke and his family."
The Germany squad is currently in Bonn ahead of a friendly against Chile on Saturday, but Enke had not been called up, having only just returned to action for his club. Hundreds of fans flocked to Hanover's Niedersachsen Stadion on Tuesday night to lay flowers and light candles for the captain of their club.