Later on, the claim was that it was in fact Vitamin C, which could help with stress and can also reduce breathlessness, two factors that give the substance some validity in being taken before the match. There are stronger reasons to believe that substance given to the German players were neither placebos nor Vitamin C.
In an article that has since been removed from The Guardian, Erik Eggers, a German scientist who studied the case of the 1954 German side, claims that “several strong indications…point to the injection of pervitin in some Germany players and not Vitamin C as was claimed.” Pervitin is a stimulant that turns fears into aggression, and was used by German soldiers in World War II.
In a Der Spiegel article titled “The Grandaddy of Crystal Meth,” the author claims the “Wehrmacht, Germany’s World War II army, distributed millions of the tablets to soldiers on the front, who soon dubbed the stimulant “Panzerschokolade” (“tank chocolate”).” The same article highlights pervitin as the drug “many TV fans are familiar with…primarily from the hit American series ‘Breaking Bad’.”
As it turns out, many of the German players, including goalkeeper Toni Turek and captain Fritz Walter, were Nazi soldiers during World War II. In the 1950 and 1954 World Cups it was not uncommon for a player to have participated in the war. By the sound of it, they had to have partaken in both affairs. It would not be farfetched to say that over the course of their military stints they developed a habit for the drug and their addiction remained. They were both in their early twenties when they were drafted, the right age for a young troop to obey whatever order he was given by his higher rank.
The Germans did not stop there.
In 1966, FIFA medical committee chairman, Mihajlo Andrejevic affirmed that there were “very fine traces” of the then-banned substance ephedrine in three unnamed German players at the World Cup. They went on to reach the final of that World Cup, which they lost to hosts England.
The fact of the matter is that at the time, there were no real regulations against doping. Many would argue that even now, tests for doping are insufficient. English football player Joey Barton, formerly of Newcastle and Marseille, commented on the subject claiming his “personal experience of drugs…is that they only take a urine sample from me…in over 10+ years of competing at elite level sport. Seems strange to me after reading about cycling’s procedures. Where they frequently take blood from athletes.”