A Bochum boy turns 50: January 26th is the special day, all the best! The VfL legend played for the Blue and Whites from 1989 to 2001 and was part of the 1996 second-division championship team that entered the UEFA Cup in 1997, who advanced to the round of 16 in spectacular fashion.
Peter Peschel was born in Prudnik, Poland, and his family moved to Germany when he was five. Peschel grew up in Bönen, around 60 kilometres east of Bochum, where he also started his football career. In 1980, he started out at VfL Altenbögge and then moved on to SpVg Bönen and Rot-Weiß Unna before finally joining Borussia Dortmund’s youth team. He played in the black-and-yellow kit until 1989, but then – VfL lured him to Castroper Straße.
As soon as he arrived in Bochum, Peschel took off. In his first Bundesliga match, at Borussia Mönchengladbach on August 11, 1990, the 18-year-old scored his first goal to secure a 2-1 away win – a real rarity, as VfL had only managed this feat once before. This match was to be followed by 152 more games in the German topflight (all for Bochum) and 120 in the 2. Bundesliga. Not all of them for VfL, but most of them (94). When Peschel left VfL in 2001, he had played 270 competitive games for the Blue and Whites.
Peschel & Co were crowned second division champions twice, the first time under Jürgen Gelsdorf in 1994, followed by a repeat under Klaus Toppmöller in 1996. The team of the 1995/96 season still inspires older VfL fans today – a crazy squad. For example, on matchday 1, during the 0-0 draw in Duisburg, there were several players in the squad who had shaved their heads especially for the start of the season: Eric Wynalda, substitute keeper Thomas Ernst, the current VfL head coach Thomas Reis, as well as Peter Közle and Peter Peschel.
The years under Toppmöller were perhaps the most beautiful and successful – after the 2. Bundesliga title, the team rushed through the subsequent Bundesliga season and qualified for Europe after a 6-0 over FC St. Pauli (among the scorers, of course, Peter Peschel) as fifth in the table (more on that in a moment) – for him, Peschel achieved his personal record in the 1999/2000 season, when he was promoted to the Bundesliga for a third time with the VfL and played a significant role in that with 15 goals and three assists. Peschel was Bochum’s most successful second division goal scorer for a long time (28 goals) before he was replaced by Simon Terodde (47) and Lukas Hinterseer (35).
The most memorable things from his time in Bochum are his two derby goals in the 4-0 win over Wattenscheid 09, Bochum’s first local duel in the Bundesliga, and a goal at Bayern Munich that secured a point (1-1) and – of course! – his goal in the 5-3 win over Trabzonspor, in the first UEFA Cup home game in the club’s history is also very memorable.
After his career with VfL, Peschel moved to MSV Duisburg, where – also due to injury – he was unable to match his glory days in Bochum. He was under contract with the “Zebras” for two seasons (2001/02 and 2003/04) and played 28 second division games there. In between, he played 12 games for SSV Jahn Regensburg, which was in the third division at the time. Peschel’s professional career came to an end in 2004/05 when he played for Tennis Borussia Berlin in the top division. After 330 games and 76 goals, he bid farewell to the football business and was only persuaded by his nephew to play together for SSV Mülhausen-Uelzen in the regional league and help the team to promotion to the Westfalenliga (2008).
Since 2016, the likeness of the father of four (two daughters from his first marriage, two sons from his second) has been immortalised on a legend column at the Vonovia Ruhrstadion. Peter Peschel has given post-career football a new lease of life by running schools in Bochum, Dortmund and Recklinghausen and working as a consultant. He also holds a UEFA A license.
We wish him all the best, have a great fiftieth birthday celebration!