In Regensburg, a city immersed in Bavaria, a special football team was born: the Team Bananenflanke.
Under the motto of “Fußball kennt keine Grenzen” (football knows no boundaries), the players took the field against the most tenacious opponent: their disability.
At the end of March 2011, two educational pedagogies, Stefan Plötz, and Ben Rückerl started a project that aims to help children and young people with learning difficulties and intellectual disabilities to develop their personality and social skills through play. of football.
Thus was born the Bananenflanke Team, which owes its name to Manfred “Manni” Kaltz, a former player of Hamburg and defender of the German national team of the Eighties, who became famous for the particular effect he was able to give to his crosses, drawing an orbit a banana.
“Because in the lives of our kids it is not always right, we chose the banana as a mascot”
In a few years, this project has met with great unexpected success, leading the two designers to create the Bananenflankenliga (BFL), “the real heroes championship”, a championship with professional teams in imitation of the Bundesliga.
Players are asked to sign a contract, press conferences are called, there are important guests, professional equipment and qualified instructors.
The team members are then placed at the center of the scene where they can forget about their disabilities and live a truly professional experience, thus increasing their courage and self-esteem.
Many players from Regensburg, the professional team of the fourth German series, join the boys by spending time with them. These include many famous names, such as the 2014 world champion Per Mertesacker and Tobias Schweinsteiger, Bastian’s brother and coach of the Bayern Munich youth sector.
Even professional clubs, in turn, enthusiastically joined the project. Among the first to support him, in fact, there is Bayern, who has invited the boys several times to attend the training sessions, where Pep Guardiola has given them secrets and advice to ensure victory.
Another great victory was obtained last February when the Team-Bananenflanke received from the President of
the Federal Republic of Germany, Joachim Gauck, the “Großen Stern des Sports” (the great star of the sport), a recognition with which they are rewarding those companies that manage to stand out for their social commitment.
On the official Team-Bananenflanken website you can find all the contact details to support the Team or to participate in upcoming events.
In fact, given the success achieved in the first edition of the Bananenflankenliga held in the central square of Regensburg last July, Stefan and Ben would like to play next season also in other German cities, to challenge new opponents and really show that football knows no boundaries.