The happy couple
Metro at the Millennium: Lothar and Maren
September 27, 2007

Sadly, our story archives on MetroFanatic only go back to 2001. The first five years of Metro history were left over on the previous website. But we still have our memories, and some of them deserve recording. Last year, we flashed back to 1996. Now, let's take a look at another memorable year in Metro history, 2000, in a new series we call Metro at the Millennium.

Where do we begin? Well, first let's bring the Crime of the Century article under this new umbrella. Then, let's start with... love. That's right, the story of Lothar and Maren.

He was Lothar Matthaus, German soccer superstar. She was Maren Muller-Wohlfahrt, German model. He was playing for Bayern Munich. She was the daughter of the team's doctor. He was in his late 30s. She was in her early 20s. It was natural.

Maren worked in London at Christie's auction house. But that was not enough for the aspiring beauty. She had her eyes set on the big prize. Something every model strives for. New York. And, conveniently, she had Germany's greatest soccer player on her side.

So when Lothar made overtures to come play for the MetroStars in 1999, the MetroStars listened. Then-GM Charlie Stillitano traded and cut, clearing out the roster, acquiring a massive allocation and enough cap room to fit Matthaus. Never mind the fact that Metro was in the middle of one of the worst slumps in team history. Who needs marginal players like Arley Palacios, Roy Myers, Eric Wynalda, and Welton (the last two acquired only to be shipped out), when the German superstar is coming to save the day?

Only Lothar never came in 1999. Bayern, in the midst of a Champions League campaign, suddenly realized they needed Matthaus. So Lothar pulled out and stayed in Germany. Bayern reached the final, losing to Manchester United on two late goals. Stillitano was left to scramble, signing three retreads, as Metro spiraled into the worst slump in team history.

But then 2000 came. And with it, came Lothar, but not before the German paper "Bild" called the MetroStars "The worst team in the world". But Lothar would have none of that. Not with his Maren wanting to be a model in New York.

So here Lothar was, being introduced at ESPNZone before the season, with German journalists capturing his every side. There he was, with his million-dollar paycheck and his Metro-sponsored Trump Plaza apartment, painting Manhattan red at night. And there he was, with Metro on the field.

Lovers at St. Tropez
Except... he wasn't. For after an indifferent start to the season, he hurt his back and asked for rehab time. When the team granted it to him, he fled, only to be photographed relaxing at the beach at the French resort of St. Tropez, with Maren on his side.

New GM Nick Sakiewicz and coach Octavio Zambrano fumed, and were ready to sever ties; Metro was 3-6-1 with Lothar but 9-1-1 without him, speared by the acquisition of Clint Mathis. Nevertheless, an agreement was reached. And Lothar came back.

He came back and played well, anchoring the Metro defense through the best season in team history. In one famous sequence, after being floored with a sorry tackle, he tried to explain to DC's Ben Olsen that the ball is round. As the season was winding down, Lothar even said that he'll "play for sure next year".

But of course, he didn't. We don't know whose decision it was, Lothar's, Metro's, or mutual. But one season in New York was all Matthaus got. Which mush less fanfare than on his arrival, he was gone.

What happened since then? Lothar quickly moved on from girlfriend Maren to a third wife. He is currently unemployed after a roller-coaster managing career in Serbia, Hungary, Brazil, and Austria. Maren? By 2002, she found herself an Italian beau and was pregnant with his child. Who knows (or even cares) what she's up to now, but we're sure Maren is doing fine for herself. Even if she is no longer in New York.

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