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Hundreds of fans have gathered at Hanover’s Niedersachsen Stadion to pay respects to Germany goalkeeper Robert Enke who died after being hit by a train in an apparent suicide on Tuesday.

Enke, 32, was fatally injured at a level crossing north west of Hanover.

Germany team manager Oliver Bierhoff added: “We are in a state of shock. It is beyond words.”

Enke’s daughter Lara died in 2006 of a rare heart condition when she was just two. He leaves behind his wife, Teresa, and an eight-month-old daughter the couple had adopted in May.

Teresa Enke said: “I tried to be there for him, said that football is not everything. There are many beautiful things in life. It is not hopeless. We had Lara, we have Leila. I always wanted to help him to get through it. He didn’t want it to come out because of fear. He was scared of losing Leila. It is the fear of what people will think when you have a child and the father suffers from depression. I always said to him that that is not a problem.

“When he was acutely depressed, then that was a tough time. That is clear because he thought there was no hope of a recovery on the horizon for him.

“After Lara’s death everything drew us closer together, we thought that we would achieve everything. I tried to tell him that there is always a solution.

“I drove to training with him. I wanted to help him to get through it. He didn’t want to accept help any more. Football was everything. It was his life. The team gave him security.”

The German football federation (DFB) said in a statement: “The German team has learned of the death of Robert Enke with great shock.”

German police released a statement saying: “The victim is apparently national team goalkeeper Robert Enke from Hannover 96. The first police indications are that it was a suicide.”

Enke made his international debut aged 29 and became Germany’s number one keeper after Jens Lehmann retired from internationals at the end of Euro 2008.

He had missed Germany’s last four matches with a virus but returned for his club at the weekend.

Germany coach Joachim Low had indicated that the Hannover 96 keeper was in pole position for the number one jersey at next year’s World Cup finals in South Africa.

Dr Theo Zwanziger, president of the DFB, said that the football community in Germany “are deeply distressed and in mourning”, adding: “All our sympathy goes to the wife of Robert Enke and his family.”

Germany have called off their friendly with Chile in Cologne on Saturday as a mark of respect.

With Liverpool struggling to qualify from their Champions League group, will they drop into the Europa League? See all the best odds on the Reds winning Europe’s second tier competition here.

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