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International Eagles: Remembering Marco Reich

3 July 2018

Throughout the World Cup, we are looking back at some of Palace's past internationals. Germany may have exited the World Cup already, but here we look back at the Eagles' only ever player from the nation, and his brief time with Die Mannschaft.

Reich was signed by Iain Dowie in September 2005 from Derby County, after initially impressing on loan, to bolster the team’s attempt to get back into the Premier League at the first time of asking, having been cruelly relegated at Charlton Athletic.

The attacker had spent the formative years of his career at Kaiserslautern and aged 21 he was promoted from the German under-21 side to win what would prove to be his only international cap against Colombia in February 1999.

Lining up alongside national team legends such as Olivier Khan, Lothar Matthaus and Andreas Moller, Reich played 78 minutes of the 3-3 draw in Miami before giving way to Lars Ricken.

He continued to develop at Kaiserslautern and then had spells at Cologne and Werder Bremen, before crossing to England and joining Derby in 2004 and then Palace a year later.

He certainly made an instant impact in SE25, as he scored the only goal debuting in a 1-0 win over Coventry City in the League Cup, following up a fortnight later with a well-taken brace away at Queens Park Rangers in Championship action.

His first strike that Monday night was shortlisted for Palace’s Goal of the Decade. A clinical ball from Dougie Freedman found Clinton Morrison on the left, who crossed for Reich. Without breaking stride, he let the ball across his body and side-foot volleyed into the top right corner of the net in what was a sublime finish. Just four minutes later, he also curled in a low free-kick.

With the wind firmly in his sails, three weeks later he had arguably his finest hour in red and blue by scoring a volleyed winner at home to Liverpool to seal a 2-1 win and knock the then-UEFA Champions League holders out of the League Cup. Frustratingly however, that was to be the end of his goal contribution for the rest of the season, despite a total of 26 appearances.

The next campaign did not start well, and with only seven appearances by January, the writing was on the wall for the then 29-year-old, and he departed in the next transfer window back to Germany to join Kickers Offenbach, who at that time were in the Bundesliga. Yet, a year later, he was back in England, joining Walsall in League One.

After a strong start at the Saddlers with two goals in five games, he only scored once more that season and was released at the end of the campaign. Joining Polish side Jagiellonia Bialystok, he won the Polish Cup, and then finished his career at lower league Austrian clubs.

Though making only 30-odd appearances during his brief stay with Palace, a couple of magical moments means Reich is still remembered fondly by the majority of Eagles supporters.

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