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The story of when Mark Hughes played two games in two countries in SAME day

The story of when Mark Hughes played two games in two countries in SAME day

They don't make them like Mark Hughes anymore.

The Premier League has often come under fire for its busy schedule, with players sometimes forced to play up to three games in just one week, but it seems they don't make them like Mark Hughes anymore.

The majority of Premier League players have returned to training after a well earned break this summer, following on from a tightly-packed 2022/23 campaign which saw the World Cup sandwiched in between the season.

For players at the highest level, they must not only compete in both the league and cup competitions, but also have international duty to contend with, as their bodies are pushed to the limit.

However, few players have ever managed what Hughes did back in 1987, when he made the trip across borders to play two games in the same day.

It went something like this.

Wales had a crucial Euro qualifier away to Czechoslovakia, knowing victory would take them to their first finals since 1958.

Hughes had just joined Bayern Munich at the time and his plan to join with his Wales teammates collapsed after he was hit by a fog-bound airport.

On his return to Bayern, though, manager Uli Hoeness had already come up with a plan that would work in both of their favours.

Wales were playing at 1pm, whilst Bayern were due to face Borussia Moenchengladbach at 7pm in a crunch German Cup tie.

No problem, thought Hoeness, who reckoned Hughes could turn out for Wales at lunchtime, then hop on a flight for the 50-minute trip back to Germany and appear for Bayern that same night.

And on November 11, 1987, that's exactly what happened.

"Hoeness made arrangements and came to the Wales game in Czechoslovakia. We were beaten, unfortunately. I wasn’t in the best mood, I was tired as well," recalled Hughes in his autobiography.

However, there was no time for Hughes to sulk. Despite playing the full 90 minutes for Wales, he had a car waiting for him outside the stadium, and still in his match kit, he was driven to the waiting plane.

It was a plan fitting for a racing car, but Hoeness was on a tight budget, so arranged for a Lada to pick him up.

"Through the Czech countryside we zoomed at 30mph, but in that heap it felt as if we were breaking the land-speed record,” wrote Hughes.

Upon return in Munich, Hughes jumped into Hoeness' plush Porsche and headed for Bayern's Olympic Stadium, where he would quickly change into his club colours.

Hughes started warming up at half-time to everyone's amazement, with Bayern 1-0 down at the time.

“I don’t think I touched the ball if I'm honest, but I got the headlines because I’d played two games in one day," said Hughes.

"The Gladbach players were looking around thinking ‘How the heck is he here?’ Maybe it was a bit of disruptive therapy."

Hughes almost bagged the winner, shanking a volley marginally wide, but Karl-Heinz Rummenigge's second-half strike was enough to seal victory in the end, capping off an extraordinary day for Hughes.

Wales Women's most capped player Jess Fishlock could be about to follow suit this weekend, as she plans to play for club side OL Reign in Orlando on Saturday, before jetting across the States to play for Wales against the USA in San Diego the following night.

Indeed, it may not be two countries in the same day, but a 2,443 mile round-trip and a six hour plane journey to play two matches in the space of 24 hours is no small feat.

"If anyone is going to do it, Jess will. She will do anything to play for Wales. Jess would get off a flight and then run onto the pitch with the shirt on," said Welsh manager Gemma Grainger.

Featured Image Credit: Getty Images

Topics: Bayern Munich, Wales, Football, Manchester United