EXPIRED: 11/10/09 – Robert Enke, 32, played soccer goalie for the German club Hannover. He was a pretty good goalkeeper, too, debuting for the national team in a 1-0 loss to Denmark in 2007 and played eight matches for Germany. After Jens Lehmann retired following the European Championship in 2008, he was promoted to No. 1 for Germany, but was set back by a broken hand. His last international game was a 2-0 win over Azerbaijan on Aug. 12.
But then he was diagnosed with a bacterial stomach ailment and missed nine weeks before returning 11 days ago and playing two Bundesliga games.
He had not been selected for Germany’s exhibition games against Chile on Saturday and Ivory Coast on Wednesday. His coach, Joachim Loew, had said Enke remained the leading candidate to be Germany’s goalie at next year’s World Cup in South Africa.
Missing so many games this year and not getting picked up for the exhibition games is pretty depressing. Add to that that Enke had been secretly suffering from depression since his daughter was born with a heart defect in 2004. He and his wife lost their daughter 2 years alter and although they adopted another girl, now 8 months old, in May, he never really recovered.
It might have been all too much. Enke was fatally struck by a train Tuesday night in what police are indicating was a suicide.
The train crossing was not far from Enke’s Hannover home. His car was found near the scene, unlocked, with his wallet on the seat. The two train drivers reported seeing a man on the tracks and applied the brakes while traveling at about 100 mph but could not stop in time, police said.
“We are speechless,” German soccer federation president Theo Zwanziger said. Hundreds of fans lit candles and placed flowers outside the Hannover stadium on Tuesday night.