A post about Franz Beckenbauer who celebrates his 70. birthday today. He is more than The Kaiser or the epitome of the sweeper. No worries, it’s not a eulogy.
German Football post-1945 is linked with one person in particular: Franz Beckenbauer. Like no other player and personality has he shaped the game in Germany. He is the only German to date to lift the World Cup as a player and manager and he managed to secure the hosting rights of another World Cup for Germany in 2006 (though under suspicious circumstances that are close to manipulation as we know now).
And yet, it could have come quite differently. As a youngster he played for a small Munich club in his neighbourhood, Giesing. It was his decision to move to TSV 1860 Munich in his career. However, temper and fate intervened. In a test match between the youth teams of Giesing and 1860 Munich, Beckenbauer got involved in an argument with an opponent. His adversary slapped him in the face and thus sealed the fate of 1860 and Bayern: Beckenbauer simply switched his allegiance from the blue part of the town to the red part and signed for Bayern.
Like no other, Beckenbauer defined the position of the Libero or sweeper. And the success came almost instantly. Bayern won the Cup Winners’ Cup 1967 against Rangers. Admittedly, the competition was not of the highest quality but a win is a win and there were many more to come for Bayern and for Beckenbauer. With him as captain Bayern established themselves as a power in German football. During the 1970s they were challenged by Borussia M