Santo Andre: Oliver Kahn, who once nibbled on the neck of a Bundesliga opponent and went after another with a kung-fu-style kick in the same game, believes he understands what is going on inside the head of Luis Suarez.
The former Germany goalkeeper escaped punishment for the twin outbursts against Borussia Dortmund in a 1999 Bundesliga match. A decade later Kahn admitted he was under so much strain at the time that he lost control.
“That kind of behaviour is usually associated with animals,” said Kahn of the Uruguay striker, who is being investigated by Fifa for apparently biting Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini during a World Cup match on Tuesday.
“In my mind, that’s the wrong way to channel your internal tensions,” added Kahn, who is now working as a pundit for Germany’s ZDF television at the World Cup in Brazil.
“We saw in the last match (against England) that he was nearly crying. Perhaps that behaviour was a last desperate attempt to release some of the enormous pressure building up inside him and it was the only way to let some of the tension out. For me, there’s no other explanation.”
Kahn is remembered in Germany not only for his heroics for Bayern Munich, whom he led to the 2001 Champions League title, and his 86 caps for Germany, but also for nibbling on the neck of Dortmund’s Heiko Herrlich and going after Stephane Chapuisat in the same match.
It took more than a decade for Kahn to admit that he made a mistake.
“That was the zenith of my aggression and it erupted inside of me,” Kahn told the Sueddeutsche Zeitung in 2010. “That was some kind of internal force inside me signalling: I can’t go on like this.”
In his first comments on ZDF on Tuesday after watching the Suarez incident, Kahn at first raised doubts about whether Suarez had actually bitten Chiellini.
“Did he really bite him?” Kahn said. “Did he really bite?”
Herrlich, who in that 1999 Bundesliga match had scored a goal that gave Dortmund a 2-0 lead moments earlier, later said in an interview with Der Spiegel magazine that he was surprised Kahn had nibbled on his neck.
“Kahn didn’t bite me, he just nibbled,” Herrlich said. “In any case there was nothing missing from my neck.”