WEMBLEY: Gerhard Tremmel emulated the great Bert Trautmann as a domestic trophy-winning German goalkeeper at Wembley as Swansea defeated fourth division Bradford 5-0 in a League Cup Final which epitomised English football’s ‘knockout’ tradition writes KEIR RADNEDGE.
Swansea manager Michael Laudrup had retained and rewarded Tremmel because the 34-year-old as his only man to have played every minute of all six matches on the way to Wembley, rather than Premier League regular Michel Vorm.
‘Gerry’ had a comparatively untroubled time on the greatest occasion of a 15-year professional career which had brought him to South Wales via Unterhaching, Hannover, Hertha, Energie Cottbus and Red Bull Salzburg. He collected a winner’s medal 57 years after fellow German Trautmann won the FA Cup at Wembley with Manchester City.
This was also the greatest occasion in the history of Swansea who, 10 years ago, saved themselves from relegation out of the fourth division with a last-game victory.
Since then they have climbed up into the Premier League and attained the sort of status which attracted Danish legend Michael Laudrup to become manager last summer. Currently they sit ninth, 70 places above Bradford in the leagues ladder.
Bradford lost, predictably for a club so far below the level of their opponents, but were not disgraced on the grand stage. This was also a poignant occasion ahead of which club honoured the memory of the victims of a stadium fire in 1985 when 56 fans were killed and 270 injured.
Bradford had won four of their previous seven games in the competition after extra-time including the two ties won, famously, on penalties against Premier League Wigan, Arsenal and Aston Villa.
But Swansea, celebrating their centenary this year, were not to be denied and did not even miss injured Spaniard Chico Flores who has been outstanding at the heart of their defence this season.
Winger Nathan Dyer struck after only 16 minutes with Michu scoring his 19th in all competitions this season in the 40th. Further goals from Dyer (47) and Jonathan De Guzman (59 penalty and 90) wrapped it up in the second half. Bradford finished with 10 men after keeper Matt Duke was sent off in conceding the penalty.
Swansea will thus enter the Europa League next season, their first appearance in international competition for 20 years, since the days when they qualified – rather more easily – as winners of the Welsh Cup.
The trophy was presented to Tremmel and his team-mates by Fabrice Muamba, former Bolton midfielder who suffered an on-pitch cardiac arrest in March 2012.
Swansea: Tremmel – Rangel, Williams, Ki (Monk 61), Ben Davies (Tiendalli 84) – Dyer (Lamah 78), De Guzman, Britton, Routledge – Hernandez – Michu.
Bradford City: Duke – Darby, McHugh, McArdle, Good (A Davies 46) – Atkinson, Jones, Doyle, Thompson (Hines 72) – Wells (McLaughlin 58), Hanson.
Referee: K Friend. Attendance: 82,597
**Jens Lehmann won the FA Cup with Arsenal in 2005 but the final was played at Cardiff; Andy Kopke won Euro 96 at Wembley with Germany.