King Kahn Bows Out in Kolkata | Sports| German football and major international sports news | DW | 27.05.2008
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King Kahn Bows Out in Kolkata

Goalkeeper "Titan" Oliver Kahn bid an official farewell on Tuesday, May 27 amid a standing ovation from the biggest crowd he ever played for at the Kolkata stadium in India.

Oliver Kahn waves goodbye to the fans

Oliver Kahn waves goodbye to the fans as the curtain comes down on his illustrious career

The Bayern Munich captain left a Kolkata pitch in the 55th minute of Bayern Munich's 3-0 victory over local club Mohun Bagan as the 120,000 fans got on their feet to salute one of the best men between the posts.

Indian football officials heaped gifts on Kahn at the end of the halftime break, ranging from a scooter to silver plates, a silvery boat model, trophies and diplomas.

"I want to say thank you for this great moment in my career. This is very special. Thank you for this great night," Kahn told the fans in the stadium.

Kahn left the pitch in the 55th minute after keeping a clean sheet, applauded by the fans who gave him a massive roar before he headed straight into the dressing room as the most visible sign that his career is over -- with only a testimonial match between Munich and Germany's national team wrapping up the farewell on September 2.

Kahn, who turns 39 on June 15, played 557 Bundesliga games for SC Karlsruhe and Munich, with only Karl-Heinz Koerbel (602) and Manfred Kaltz (581) playing more matches in the top flight.

A titan loved in the Far East

Oliver Kahn

Kahn signed off his career as a winner

The 86-time capped Kahn almost single-handed led Germany into the 2002 World Cup final, only to blunder there as Brazil won 2-0. He saved three penalties against Valencia in 2001 to give Bayern the Champions League trophy, one of 16 titles he won with Germany's number one club.

Kahn became immensely popular in Asia for his 2002 heroics at the World Cup in Japan and South Korea.

He is named "King Kahn" and "Titan" in Asia, banners Tuesday in Kolkata's Salt Lake arena read "Kahn't get any better" and the match itself was dubbed "Oliver Kahn's Farewell Match."

The stadium was sold out for the first time in more than a decade to mark the special occasion.

Bayern arrived in Kolkata on Monday, the last stop of a 10-day swing through Asia which wrapped up their season. Among other activities, Kahn and other players visited a youth tournament in the city.

Winning end to an illustrious career

Kahn signs autographg for supporters after a practice session at the Yokohama International stadium, Japan,

Kahn's heroics in 2002 made him a legend in the Far East

Munich won their last match of the season on Tuesday from a double by Jan Schlaudraff in the 18th and 51st, and a curling 37th-minute free-kick from Ze Roberto.

Mohun Bagan, who famously held Pele's Cosmos New York to a 2-2 draw in 1977, were too harmless to create serious danger, with Kahn saving from P C Lalampuia shortly before halftime and another effort bouncing off the bar.

The match ended on a sour note as Branko Cardozo from the hosts and Munich's Breno were sent off in the closing stages, Cardozo for a ruthless tackle on Breno and the Brazilian for kicking Cardozo in the aftermath.

Neither team was at full strength, with Munich missing its various international players on Euro 2008 duty, and the hosts without their four India internationals and injured Brazilian striker Barreto.

Kahn was not the only famous Munich man to bid farewell. Coach Ottmar Hitzfeld was also on the Bayern bench for the last time as he takes over the Swiss national team after Euro 2008.

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