Following our look at Benfica last week, Euroscore’s second article about a top European team takes us to Munich in Bavaria. With all due respect to the second team in Munich, TSV 1860, it’s Bayern, that we look at today.
Formed in 1900 Bayern Munich have won a record 21 German titles and the most German cups, 14 in total. They have also won a record six German League Cups. In Europe they have won the European Cup (Champions League) on four occasions. However it is their list of famous players that really grabs the attention.
Bayern’s first German National championship after the First World War came in 1932. However any progress came to an abrupt end when war was declared in 1939. Both the President and the coach of Bayern were Jewish and were forced to leave the country.
After the war Bayern went into a developmental stage. In 1955 they won the German Cup for the first time beating Fortuna Dusseldorf 1-0. But by the end of the '50s Bayern were in financial difficulties. Quite simply success had to be achieved in order to sustain the club. Little did anyone know that FC Bayern would go on to become one of the major European football powers.
In 1963 the Bundesliga was formed but it was Munich rivals 1860 that won membership ahead of Bayern. In 1965 Bayern’s time had come and they were allowed to compete in the Bundesliga. The team was led by the legend that is Franz Beckenbauer. A year later he would lead the then West Germany in the World Cup final in, and against, England.
In their first year in the Bundesliga Bayern finished third but won the German Cup. As a result they appeared in the following years European Cup Winners Cup competition which they won beating Glasgow Rangers 1-0. Their first league and cup double was achieved shortly after.
It was the '70s that saw Bayern achieve the levels of success that they had been threatening. In 1970 the German Cup was added and when Bayern moved to the newly built Olympic Stadium in 1972 they duly celebrated winning the championship by beating Schalke 5-1. This set the standard and Bayern won the next two domestic championships.
Their first European Cup victory came when they destroyed Atletico Madrid 4-0 in a replayed final. They added their second European Cup by beating Leeds United in Paris 2-0 with goals from Franz Roth and Gerd Muller. The next year Bayern became only the third team to win three consecutive European Cups when they beat St. Etienne of France in Glasgow.
An exodus of star players saw Franz Beckenbauer leave for New York Cosmos, Gerd Muller join Fort Lauderdale Strikers and Sepp Maier and Uli Hoeness retire. A resurgence occurred when Bayern, who now included German International stars Paul Breitner and Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, won the Bundesliga in both 1980 and 1981.
Five championships on the trot followed in the late eighties including a league and cup double in 1986. In both 1982 and 1987 they attempted to add to their European Cup total but lost both finals. By now such was their level of success that second place was often considered as a failure.
However following two championships in 1989 and 1990 they suffered a severe dip in fortunes. In 1991 they were back in second but the following year were nearly relegated finishing a narrow five points from the unthinkable drop. Success returned when Franz Beckenbauer came back as coach in 1994 and duly delivered their first championship in four years.
Big name managers followed but failed to add to the trophy cabinet. It was Beckenbauer’s returning influence, again as manager, that quickly added the UEFA Cup in 1996 when they beat France's Bordeaux.
Italian Giovanni Trapattoni delivered the league title again in 1997. In 1998 his replacement Ottmar Hitzfeld guided Bayern to the Bundesliga crown and the Champions League final. With a couple of minutes remaining they were beating Manchester United 1-0 but dramatically leaked two goals and somehow lost.
In 2000 they added their third league and cup double. In 2001 they won their third consecutive domestic title. Further glory followed when they capped the season winning the European League (Champions League) for the first time in 25 years beating Valencia from Spain in the final after a penalty shoot out.
In 2003 Bayern won their 4th double. When Felix Magath took over he added to this total winning two more on the trot. In 2005 Bayern left the Olympic Stadium and moved to the highly impressive Allianz Arena Stadium. It was not a happy time though and following Magath’s departure returning coach Ottmar Hitzfeld could only achieve a 4th position. As a consequence they failed to qualify for the Champions League for the first time in ten years. It was time to rebuild.
Recent events have seen the addition of star players Luca Toni, signed from Fiorentina, Franck Ribery who arrived from Marseille, and Miroslav Klose from rivals Werder Bremen. These new signings duly helped deliver the Bundesliga title in their first season. German strike legend Jurgen Klinsmann became coach in July 2008.
There is an extensive list of great names who have worn the red shirts of Bayern Munich. Most notably German captain Franz Beckenbauer, Paul Breitner, Uli Hoeness, Gerd Muller, Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, Lothar Matthaus, and French World Cup winner Bixente Lizarazu.
Beckenbauer was a magnificent player who is quite possibly the greatest German footballer of all time and one of the games all time legends. He played over 425 times for Bayern and won 103 German caps also managing the national team for six years.
He won four league titles, four German Cups, three European Cups, one UEFA Cup, and one Intercontinental Cup as a player with Bayern. He added a further Bundesliga title during his latter spell with Hamburg in 1982. He also won the World Cup with Germany in 1974 and was a runner-up in 1966. He went on to win four German 'Footballer of the Year' titles.
Another great figure from Bayern’s past has to be goal-scoring machine Gerd Muller. Born in 1945 he joined Bayern from TSV 1861 Nordlingen in 1964. He went on to score an amazing 398 goals in 453 Bayern matches. He also scored 68 times for Germany in only 62 games. A remarkable achievement.
In recent years he has struggled with, and thankfully overcome, alcoholism but his football record remains extraordinary by any set of standards. He was Bundesliga top scorer no less than 7 times during his career. A true Bayern and world football hero, he won the European Footballer of the Year crown in 1970.
With their current crop of stars and developing talent, FC Bayern Munich are on the verge of adding to their already impressive list of honours. Without doubt they are one of Europe’s greatest ever clubs.