10 of football’s most disastrous (but also hilarious) goalkeeping displays of all time

Massimo Taibi Chelsea Manchester United

It’s not been the best of weeks for international net-minders – as those of the United States and Cape Verde know all too well. Tim Ellis brings you a clutch more howlers from the archives

Oliver Baumann (Freiburg 0-3 Hamburg, 2013)

Germany U21 international Baumann had been on the radar of a watching Joachim Low, but promptly gave the worst audition imaginable in a 3-0 loss where he was directly at fault for all three goals.  

First he ran out of the area for a bouncing ball and missed it, allowing Maxi Beister to tap into an empty net. Two minutes into the second half he shepherded another harmless punt into his area as if it was a bouncing bomb, which Pierre-Michel Lasogga took full advantage of. For Hamburg’s third goal he fumbled a routine shot for Rafael van der Vaart to stroke home the rebound. 

Post-match, Baumann was amazingly sanguine. "It’s not the case that I’m distraught,” he said. “It’s better that it happens in one match than in three. We hope that it doesn’t happen again." 

Sure enough he kept a clean sheet in the next game, but Low was nowhere to be seen…

Paul Rachubka (Leeds 0-5 Blackpool, 2011)

Rachubka had been signed on a two-year contract by Simon Grayson, who had originally bought him at previous club Blackpool. Unfortunately it was six games and out for the California-born custodian, however, who turned out to be a calamitous signing. 

In his first full match he handed Coventry an equaliser in stoppage time at Elland Road, then almost cost the Whites three points with two errors against Peterborough.

But he saved his worst for a match against former club Blackpool in November 2011. First he palmed a comfortable shot from Jonjo Shelvey straight to Lomana LuaLua, then spilled a routine cross from Alex Baptiste which led to a converted penalty. Finally, the former Manchester United trainee knocked a 25-yarder from LuaLua to Shelvey, who slotted home. 

Simon Hughes wrote in The Independent: "Vitriol gushed from the terraces, his every nervous touch booed.” Blackpool fans just sang: “USA, USA, USA.” 

Home fans had seen enough by half-time, and Rachubka was hauled off to be replaced by 18-year-old debutant Alex Cair. Grayson ominously said post-match: “I’ll keep him out of the limelight for a bit and we’ll work out what we need to do for his long-term future.” 

By the end of the month Rachubka had been loaned to Tranmere, before eventually being transfer-listed by Neil Warnock. 

David James (Liverpool 4-3 Newcastle, 1997)

In the second edition of the seven-goal Liverpool vs Newcastle thrillers, the Reds were coasting at 3-0 up as Toon boss King Kenny returned to his old club.  

Bur suddenly, a dozing James let a weak Keith Gillespie shot squirm under his hands, raced off his line to be lobbed by Faustino Asprilla, and was then nutmegged by Warren Barton.

Luckily for Jamo, Robbie Fowler stole a late winner in the last minute as Anfield erupted. The goalkeeper later admitted why his concentration wandered to Game Over proportions: “I was getting carried away playing Tekken II and Tomb Raider for hours on end.”

​Zeljko Kalac (Leicester 2-3 Bolton, 1995)

Leicester manager Mark McGhee claimed, with some justification, that his side “annihilated” Bolton in this third-round Coca-Cola Cup replay – but the Foxes’ 3-2 defeat was caused by a horrendous home debut performance from 6ft 7in Australian keeper Kalac.

‘Spider’ had a habit of getting tangled in his own web during his time at Filbert Street, and was directly involved in all three Wanderers goals as he dived over a 25-yarder, missed a corner and let a cross slip through his hands. That made it five conceded and five mistakes after a dodgy debut at West Brom, where he dropped two balls to oncoming strikers.

McGhee had prophetically written in the programme notes: “At this stage we all accept that Zeljko is going to be a little erratic. He's not the finished article yet.”