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Bulgarian footballer-turned-mayor Yordan Lechkov jailed

Former Hamburg star Yordan Lechkov, who scored the winning goal against Germany in the 1994 World Cup quarterfinals, has received a two-year jail term. He was charged with mismanagement and abuse of power while mayor.

Lechkov was handed his sentence Monday by the Stara Zagora regional court. He was found guilty of signing an unprofitable water and sewerage deal and pressuring a tax official while in office. It is the first ruling in a string of court cases against the former Bundesliga star.

The decision is still subject to appeal for the 45-year-old Lechkov, who served two terms as Mayor of Sliven in eastern Bulgaria.

Lechkov also faces several mismanagement, abuse of power, document fraud and corruption-related trials for decisions he made while in office.

The former mayor says his political opponents are behind the accusations and that he himself tried to fight corruption during his tenure.

Germany's heartbreaker

Along with his four-year-stint at Hamburg from 1992 to 1996, many German football fans will remember Lechkov for his 78th minute headed goal that gave Bulgaria a 2-1 victory over Germany in the quarter finals of World Cup 1994 in the US (pictured celebrating above).

He helped his talented national side, spearheaded by legendary striker Hristo Stoichkov, to an impressive fourth-place finish in that tournament.

After starting out at his hometown club of OFC Sliven 2000, Lechkov went on to play for CSKA Sofia, Marseille, and Besiktas, along with making over 100 appearances for Hamburg in a career that lasted two decades.

dr/kms (AFP, dpa, SID, Reuters)
dw.de/news