Eigendorf (left) playing for Dynamo in 1975
|Date of birth||16 July 1956|
|Place of birth||Brandenburg, East Germany|
|Date of death||7 March 1983(aged 26)|
|Place of death||Braunschweig, West Germany|
|Height||1.82 m (6 ft 0 in)|
|–1970||Motor Süd Brandenburg|
|1980–1982||1. FC Kaiserslautern||53||(7)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only|
The talented Eigendorf played for East German side BFC Dynamo.
He made his debut for the GDR in an August 1978 match against Bulgaria, immediately scoring his first two goals in a 2–2 draw. He went on to collect six caps, scoring three goals. His final international was a February 1979 friendly match against Iraq.
Defection to the West
On 20 March 1979, after a friendship match between Dynamo and West German club 1. FC Kaiserslautern, the Dynamo team made a stop in Gießen on their return trip to Berlin. Eigendorf managed to escape from the rest of the team, jumped into a taxi, and fled back to Kaiserslautern, thereby defecting to the west, hoping to play for the football team. But because of his defection he was banned from play for one year by UEFA and instead spent that time as a youth coach with the club.
This was not the first time an East German athlete had fled to the west, but it was a particularly embarrassing defection. Eigendorf's club Dynamo was under the patronage of the Stasi, East Germany's secretive state police, and subject to the personal attentions of the organisation's head, Erich Mielke. He ensured that the club's roster was made up of the country's best players, as well as arranging for the manipulation of matches in Dynamo's favour. After his defection Eigendorf openly criticised East Germany in the western media.
His wife Gabriele remained behind in Berlin with their daughter and was placed under constant police surveillance. Lawyers working for the Stasi quickly arranged a divorce and Gabriele Eigendorf remarried. Her new husband was eventually revealed as a Lothario – an agent of the state police whose role it was to spy on a suspect while romancing them.
Death under suspicious circumstances
In 1983, Eigendorf moved from Kaiserslautern to join Eintracht Braunschweig, all the while under the scrutiny of the Stasi who employed a number of West Germans as informants. On 5 March of that year, he was badly injured in a suspicious traffic accident in which he had driven his car into a tree. Apparently, a large truck had blinded him by turning on its main headlights just as Eigendorf was approaching a curve. He died at the hospital within two days. An autopsy indicated a high blood alcohol level despite the testimony of people he had met with that evening which indicated that Eigendorf had only drunk a small amount of beer. The police ruled the case an accident and Eigendorf was buried without autopsy.
Investigation into suspected assassination
After German re-unification and the subsequent opening of the files of the former East Germany's state security service, the public prosecutor's office in Berlin started an investigation into the possible murder of Lutz Eigendorf by the Stasi, but in 2004, the case was closed, and in 2011, despite public pressure, it was not reopened as the public prosecutor's office did not see any objective evidence of any third-party involvement and the suspicion of a contract killing could not be corroborated, leaving the case unsolved. A summary report of the events surrounding Eigendorf's death was made on German television on 22 March 2000 which detailed an investigation by Heribert Schwan in the documentary Tod dem Verräter (Death to the Traitor).
- "Spielerinfo Eigendorf" (in German). German FA. Retrieved 7 February 2011.
- Petrossian, Shahan. "Tales of Defection: The Cold War's Impact on the Game". theantiquefootball.com. Retrieved 2 April 2019.
- "- Die politische Brisanz falsch eingeschätzt". Deutschlandfunk (in German). Retrieved 14 April 2019.
- Clark Kent (4 December 2016), "Tod dem Verräter" - Der Fall des Lutz Eigendorf, retrieved 14 April 2019
- "Mordauftrag von der StasiDer Fall Lutz Eigendorf" (in German). bild.de. Retrieved 7 February 2011.
- The curious case of Lutz Eigendorf – Part 1 – writer: Uli Hesse, from ESPN Soccernet
- The curious case of Lutz Eigendorf – Part 2 – writer: Uli Hesse, from ESPN Soccernet
- Lutz Eigendorf at National-Football-Teams.com