On October 16, 2012, Sweden came back from 4-0 down to draw 4-4 with Germany in a World Cup qualifier. Purely in terms of goals, is this the record for the biggest comeback in a competitive international match (ie. ignoring friendlies and contests over two legs)? If not, which match holds the record?

(For avoidance of doubt, I'm interested in country vs country matches, not matches between clubs from different countries).

3 Answers 3


If we stick to a single game, VfL Bochum - Bayern München in 1976 (11 goals). Bochum were 3-0 up by the half-time whistle and 4-0 in 53th minute. In the next 20 minutes, Karl-Heinz Rummenigge and Gerd Muller took Bayern to an unbelievable 5-4 lead. Kaczor put Bochum level on 5-5 in the 80th minute and that seemed to be it, but with a minute to go Uli Höness scored his second and Bayern's sixth for their most amazing win ever.

Over two legs, and I'm only including it because of how amazing it sounds, Bayer Uerdingen - Dynamo Dresden in 1986. A team of numerous East German stars built a 2-0 lead in the first leg at home and then ran away with a solid 3-1 lead at half time, seemingly clinching the tie in the return game at Krefeld. Dynamo were 5-1 ahead on aggregate, and the 1-3 scoreline stood until the 57 minute. The Icelander Gudmundsson won that dubious penalty kick, which Wolfgang Funkel converted. Six minutes later Gudmundsson himself made it 3-3. Then the unlucky forward Minge deflected a shot into his own net, and the Easterners found themselves utterly disoriented amidst roars from the partisan crowd. Bayer attacked in waves and the reserve Klinger brought the temperature to boiling point with the fifth goal 12 minutes from time.

5-5 on aggregate, but Dynamo were still ahead on the away-goals rule.

Schäfer was knocked down in the area and Wolfgang Funkel again scored from the spot, making it 6-3 only 23 minutes after the scoreboard had shown the humiliating 1-3. Before the final whistle, in the total confusion, Schäfer picked up the seventh goal, ending up on the shoulders of his mates and the fans who invaded the pitch.

Bayer Uerdingen - Dynamo Dresden (12 goals).

Source: The Top 20 Most Amazing Soccer Comebacks

  • 2
    Thanks for your answer. These are club matches though, and I was after international ones.
    – lins314159
    Oct 18, 2012 at 1:07
  • @lins314159 That link has a list of internationals as well. Oct 18, 2012 at 1:27
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    @Orangecrush Going by that, then the 4-4 draw shares the record with the USSR and Yugoslavia's 5-5 draw. I'm a little sceptical though as it rates more highly a comeback from 2-0 down, so it's clearly using metrics beyond simply goals scored and may well be missing comebacks by less illustrious nations.
    – lins314159
    Oct 18, 2012 at 1:54

A real pity there aren't more complete databases out there, we Americans are spoiled with sites like http://basketball-reference.com/ for our sports.

I searched and searched. But only came upon list after list. But at least a list of a few decent ones could be cobbled together:

And a couple noteworthy junior internationals:

But still nothing bigger in senior team play that I could find. Oh for a searchable database!


Germany came back from 3-0 down to beat Hungary 5-3 in 1930 in a friendly match in Dresden. Germany were trailing by three goals at half time, following a first-half hat-trick from József Takács, but scored five goals in a second-half comeback:

28.9.1930 Germany vs Hungary 5:3 (0:3)

The goals were scored as follows:

0:1 József Takács (29.)
0:2 József Takács (35.)
0:3 József Takács (40.)
1:3 Richard Hofmann (59.)
2:3 Ludwig Hofmann (61.)
3:3 Johann Ludwig (74.)
4:3 Ludwig Lachner (78.)
5:3 Ludwig Hofmann (86.)

  • Hello Brennich , Welcome to Sports SE, formatting the answer with meaningful sentences will be good.Please check How to answer for more help. Apr 15, 2016 at 9:42
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    Welcome Brennich. Good find! I formatted the text and added a link to a page about the match. Please correct it if I got anything wrong.
    – Fillet
    Apr 15, 2016 at 10:51
  • 1
    @Fillet , good job :) Apr 15, 2016 at 11:22

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