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12 of the funniest goalkeeping howlers of all time

Peter Enckelman Birmingham

From simple miskicks to baffling brain farts, Tom Wiggins picks some of the most memorable days to forget for the men between the sticks

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Mark Flekken (Duisburg vs Ingolstadt)

If it wasn’t already obvious that goal music has no place in football, ask Mark Flekken why it should be banned.

With the speakers at Duisburg’s MSV-Arena blaring, the Dutch goalkeeper didn’t realise his team’s goal had been disallowed. So while Ingolstadt launched a counter-attack, he retreated to the back of his net for a drink. Flekken turned around just in time to see Stefan Kutschke take advantage.

Fortunately for Duisburg, Flekken had been paying full attention when he saved a penalty earlier in the game (which ended in a 2-1 win for the home side) – otherwise his ill-timed hydration break could’ve been more costly.

Peter Enckelman (Aston Villa vs Birmingham)

You can’t score a goal direct from a throw-in, so Villa’s Peter Enckelman would have been better leaving this and letting it go for a corner, rather than miscontrolling and doubling Birmingham's 1-0 lead. But that’s easy to say in hindsight, isn’t it?

In fact, the Finnish goalkeeper has said he’s 90% sure he didn’t touch the ball that Olof Mellberg threw back to him – but with Robbie Savage haranguing the ref, the goal was given.

FFT’s favourite bit? When goaded by a pitch invader, Enckelman didn’t react because he “was at the wrong end of the stadium to get to the dressing room”. Smart bloke.

Robin Zentner (Mainz vs Borussia Monchengladbach)

Proof that you don’t necessarily need to concede to hilariously mess up. This piece of contemporary performance art by Robin Zentner makes the list despite his team-mate saving the goalkeeper’s blushes and hoofing the ball into the stands – something the Mainz man probably wishes he’d done in the first place.

The 23-year-old appears to mistake the penalty spot for the ball, before miming a touch or two and then trying to pass the non-existent ball to his full-back. It’s a performance Marcel Marceau would be proud of, but probably not Mainz’s goalkeeping coach.

Tim Flowers (Blackburn vs Liverpool)

At first glance, this one just looks like bad luck. Those ’90s pitches weren’t exactly the velvet putting greens top-flight players are used to nowadays, particularly inside the penalty areas, so freak bobbles like this one that deceived Tim Flowers were just an occupational hazard, right?

Yes, but the Blackburn keeper hadn’t helped matters by kicking divots into the ground to help him keep track of his position inside the box. Guess what the ball hit before hopping over his shoulder...

Oliver Baumann (Freiburg vs Hamburg)

If a striker gets to take home the match ball for scoring a hat-trick, what did Freiburg’s Oliver Baumann get to commemorate for this trio of horrific clangers against Hamburg?

Despite essentially making the same mistake twice for the first two goals, and letting a relatively tame shot get away from him to complete the miserable hat-trick, Freiburg fans still gave the goalkeeper a rousing reception at the final whistle. But would any of them have trusted him to hold their baby?

René Higuita (Colombia vs Cameroon)

Thought sweeper-keepers were a modern invention? Check out how far off his line René Higuita is in this second-round match at Napoli’s San Paolo stadium during the 1990 World Cup.

The only problem is that the notoriously unpredictable Colombian keeper makes a total hash of out-dribbling Cameroon’s Roger Milla, and the 38-year-old runs through unopposed to put the ball into an empty net. Maybe stick to the scorpion kicks, eh René?