Police caught the 69-year-old after the man's former neighbour recognised his image published by investigators on the website of a Munich newspaper.
A police spokesman said the victim, a 13-year-old Greek student, was “extremely lucky” to have only sustained bruises. The Munich state prosecutor is treating the incident as an attempt to murder because the girl was in danger of dying when she was pushed. Police have issued an arrest warrant against the Munich resident who has admitted to shoving the girl.
The incident took place on Monday this week. Prosecutors say the 13-year-old was part of a group of teenagers who stood close to the pensioner on the platform as they waited for the train. According to the pensioner's version, the man felt crowded and pushed the girl to make more room for himself. Investigators however say the footage from surveillance cameras did not support the man's statement.
The girl was shoved against the sharp edge of a compartment as the train rolled into the station, remained suspended between two compartments for an instant, and was then thrown back on the platform.
According to the girl's statement, the German pensioner called out, “It's your fault,” as she lay on the ground. The German man however denied it during his interrogation and said he was glad that the student was doing well, the state prosecutor's office said.
Investigators have ruled out a xenophobic motive behind the crime and are questioning the man's wife, who was present during the incident.