Hans-Jörg Butt has also scored three goals in the Champions League: all against Juventus. Source: Wikimedia Commons / Andre Zehetbauer
Hans-Jörg Butt has also scored three goals in the Champions League: all against Juventus. Source: Wikimedia Commons / Andre Zehetbauer

When goalkeepers score: the latest penalty maestro in Europe’s top leagues

Football OlyBet 10.03.2024

Scoring goals is a real art in football, which of course is best done by strikers. However, some midfielders and defenders are undeniably good at it too – we have already introduced you to the latter on Olybet.TV.

However, it can happen sometimes that the goalkeeper’s name also appears on the scoreboard, and it is not connected with an own goal. We’ll now introduce you to these extraordinary goalies as part of another ten-part series.

9th place – Hans-Jörg Butt (33 goals)

The goalie who was the reason why “Butt, Butt, Butt” was always chanted in Bundesliga matches between 1997 and 2012. That’s how the fans of the home team in Hamburg, Leverkusen and Munich – depending on where he played – demanded the 191-centimeter to score a penalty.

More than often, Butt responded to these requests – of course with the approval of the head coach – by hitting the net 26 times in the German Premier League. However, before we can tell the story of Jörg Butt (as he prefers to call himself because Hans sounds a bit badass) we must go back to 1974.

Started his football journey as a striker

It was then that the protagonist of our story was born in the (small) town of Oldenburg with a population of 170,000. He also started his football training close to home, in the TSV Grossenkneten team, but not as a goalkeeper, but as a striker.

However, because of the quality and speed of his reaction, the coaches at the time tried to lure him persistently between the posts, and they finally succeeded in the early 90s: Butt even trained in parallel for a while.

In the matches, he still played the role of a goalie and did it well. So well that the representative team of his hometown Oldenburg decided to invite him to join them in the 1993/94 season. Although it sounds fancy, the game was played in the fourth strongest league at the time – Oberliga Nord.

But it was won. True, Butt’s contribution was minimal: he was mainly a bench-warming young goalie who played only two games after the season. However, in the following season, a step higher (!), he was already the club’s most important goalie, playing 33 games.

He remained loyal to his hometown

With his performances in the third league, he already caught the eye of the future employer Hamburg SV, but first, Butt decided to reject the offer because he wanted to finish his studies as a steel worker in his hometown.

This is largely because his father Jochen was the director of a metal industry company and had already taught the boy at the age of 10 – when he had suddenly announced that he would become a professional soccer player – that one must acquire a profession in parallel with the football path!

As a result of this move, Butt’s stock rose in Oldenburg and he was seen as a leader. And when the team then earned a penalty in one of the league games – in a situation where their main striker was Audis – all eyes were turned to the goalkeeper.

It all started with an interest

“It’s never been about me wanting to score madly or put myself in the limelight. It’s more about taking responsibility. I started penalty training in Oldenburg just to better understand what the goalkeeper feels at the moment of the shot,” Butt himself explained why he practiced 11-meter free kicks at all during training.

However, since he was successful in training, he was entrusted with the right to shoot in the game as well. And the rest, as they say, is history. In the 95/96 season, Butt scored five goals from penalties – one of them in the transition games to the 2nd Bundesliga – and helped his team to the second league level.

He continued as a penalty maestro even higher up the ranks, but when he came up as an underdog, Oldenburg simply had no business getting to the opposing team’s penalty area often. However, one penalty after the season was earned and it was realized by Butt.

This is how he laid the foundation for his own penalty kick phenomenon, which grew even bigger in the following clubs. Although he didn’t earn the trust of penalty kicks in the first season when he moved to Hamburg, he did in the second.

The club’s best scorer

And the result? In the 98/99 season, Butt took seven 11-meter free kicks, including two in one game – in May against Stuttgart – being the only goalkeeper in the Bundesliga to achieve this feat. For comparison, no other goalkeeper has scored more than two goals in Germany (Andreas Köpke and Jens Lehmann)!

But Butt didn’t stop there. A year later, i.e. in the 99/00 season, he took as many as nine penalties – including two in one game against Stuttgart – and by the end of the season, he was the club’s best scorer along with Roy Präger and Tony Yeboah.

Although the time in Hamburg was successful for Butt on an individual level, it was not as a team: the best results were third place in the 99/00 season and reaching the final of the Intertoto Cup. So he decided to move on to Bayer Leverkusen in 2001.

The curse of Neverkusen

In their ranks, he then experienced an unprecedented season and was still stuck in three gold medals in mid-April. But what happened then is the reason why we know Bayer Club as Neverkusen: they lost in the cup final, twice in the league in the space of two weeks – due to which they ended up finishing second with a point – and last but not least in the Champions League final as well.

However, according to the then head coach Klaus Toppmöller, it was Butt who was one of the key players and the reason why Leverkusen got so far. In the following seasons, the titles were unfortunately even further away from Butt and Leverkusen.

On an individual level, though, Leverkusen’s stint went well for the goalkeeper: he was a constant front-runner – a total of 255 games in six seasons – and also converted eight penalties over the years.

However, one of them, the shot into Schalke’s net, clearly stands out from the rest. At this point, we’ll spare the words and let the video speak for itself. This is still one of the most peculiar sequences in top football:

The fatal red card

However, everything changed in his career on February 10, 2007, when Butt, who had missed a total of four league games in ten years, received a red card against Eintracht Frankfurt. As a result, 22-year-old Rene Adler stood between the posts of Leverkusen in the next match, but he performed so impressively that Butt was left on the bench until the end of the season.

Realizing that his time at Leverkusen had come to an end, Butt wanted to move on and looked abroad for the first time in his career. Lisbon and its top club Benfica became the destination, but this move did not turn out to be successful. The captain played only one game for the Portuguese giant.

In the summer of 2008, Butt was a free agent again, and then, at the age of 34, he finally decided to go hunting for what he didn’t have: trophies. Yes, the German moved to the domestic giant Bayern Munich.

Rise to become Bayern’s main goalie

Although it was not stated publicly, everyone understood that it was a move to become a backup goalie. So, Butt first watched how Michael Rensing worked between the posts. However, in the decisive phase of the season, the compatriot suffered a finger injury, thus opening the door for the old champ.

And the champ intervened firmly. Even so firmly, that he became Bayern’s main goalie for the next two years! In the end, Butt’s balance for the big club in Munich was 89 matches and also 1 (!) goal.

The latter happened in the 09/10 Champions League against Juventus. Even though it was a group match, Bayern had their backs against the wall: they needed a win to progress.

Things got off to a terrible start that night, however, with David Trezeguet putting the Torinos ahead in the 19th minute. In the 30th minute, however, a ray of sunshine appeared for Bayern when Ivica Olic was pulled down in the opponents’ penalty area. The result? A penalty.

Goal scored for Buffon

And of course, it was Butt who was given the right to strike in the decisive situation. “In previous clubs, when no one felt confident, I took responsibility,” the goalkeeper recalled that evening in Turin.

“When I set the ball, I didn’t know which way I was going to hit it. I decided to watch the goalkeeper’s reaction. Gianluigi Buffon decided to jump to the right, but I shot to the other side, making the score 1:1.”

“In the end, we won that game 4-1 and all the tension was lifted from our shoulders: both on and off the pitch. At the end of the season, we managed to do a golden double and also reach the final of the Champions League,” Butt recalls the most successful season of his career, which, admittedly, ended with a 0:3 loss to Milan Inter.

Interestingly, these two gold medals were the only ones of Butt’s career. He had a chance to reach the Champions League final with Bayern in the 11/12 season, but then Chelsea’s superiority had to be recognized in the penalty shootout. Then, of course, Butt was on the bench and Neuer was already doing the work on the field.


P.S. If you’re interested in our “When Defenders Score” series, you can check them out here:


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