BERLIN: Some 21 years on mystery still surrounds the death of Lutz Eigendorf. The East German international had taken advantage of a friendly match to stay in the West in 1979, to the fury of East Berlin.

It was not only that Eigendorf was such a talented defensive midfielder he had been labelled a potential ‘East German Beckenbauer.’ Eigendorf was also a key player for the Dynamo Berlin, the secret police team protected and promoted by all-powerful security chief Erich Mielke.

Eigendorf left behind his parents, wife and daughter who all came under intense pressure from the secret police, the Stasi, to persuade him back. Instead Eigendorf stayed in the west, playing for Kaiserslautern and then Eintracht Braunschweig.

In March 1983, late at night, his car veered off a road, side-swiped a tree and crashed. He died two days later, without regaining consciousness.

Suspicions have always lingered that the Stasi played a vengeful role but  – though Eigendorf was tracked intensely in the west by the Stasi – no hard evidence has ever emerged that his death was anything but an accident.