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Wednesday, May 19, 1999 Published at 21:36 GMT 22:36 UK

FC Bayern: The Glory years

Bayern Munich: Leapt from footballing obscurity to conquer Europe

The 'Golden Age' of German football came in the 1970's when, under the captaincy of one of football's most remarkable talents, Franz Beckenbauer, Bayern Munich rose to dominate the European game.

United's Euro Showdown
Up until the 1960's Bayern had been an amateur second division side. Yet, within a single decade, they became the most powerful club in Europe - winning three consecutive European trophies.

[ image: Tschik Cajkovski: Recognised the talent of his young side]
Tschik Cajkovski: Recognised the talent of his young side
Tschik Cajkovski was the Yugoslav born coach who first nurtured Bayern's brilliant crop of young players, and recognised the qualities in Beckenbauer that would one day make him Germany's football Kaiser.

In 1965, just two years after the inception of the Bundesliga, the team - around Beckenbauer, Sepp Maier and Gerd Müller - with an average age of just 21, reached the top level of the German game.

But the meteoric rise was just beginning.

Instant success

They reached third place in the first year of the Bundesliga - the then best climber of all time - secured victory in the Cup Final (4-2 against Duisburg) and Beckenbauer suddenly found himself in the World Cup final at Wembley stadium against England.

[ image: Franz Beckenbauer: Germany's football Kaiser]
Franz Beckenbauer: Germany's football Kaiser
In an interview with BBC TV, Beckenbauer later admitted the Bayern team had some very special strengths.

"I was 13 when I moved to Bayern," he said. "I played five years in the youth team but then I got the contract in 1964.

"At the time we were in the second division but then we moved up. Sepp Maier came, Muller came and then a couple of years later, Paul Breitner, Uli Hoeneß and Schwarzenbeck - the members of the 1974 World Cup team."

Bayern Munich's Paul Breitner: "We had a fine mix of players" (BBC TV)
Maier, Müller, Beckenbauer, FC Bayern. The names were now familiar throughout the world of football.

No wonder that one year later, in 1967, they were celebrating their first European Cup triumph.

Vital victory

Franz Beckenbauer: "Rangers were one of the best teams in Europe" (BBC TV)
Thanks to a shot by Franz Roth in the final against Glasgow Rangers in Nuremberg, Bayern secured the European Cup Winners' Cup. The DFB Cup was also successfully defended, with a 4-0 victory over HSV in the final.

Throughout Europe there was a growing recognition that a new centre of footballing excellence had emerged.

Udo Lattek was the coach when Bayern again lifted the German Cup in 1971.

But he would have to wait two more years before Bayern became the first German team to reach the Champions' final since Eintracht Frankfurt were thrashed 7-3 against Real Madrid.

Glory arrives

Ironically Spain again provided the opposition - this time it was Atletico Madrid who were also appearing in their first European Cup final.

Uli Hoeness: "We played our best football in the second leg against Madrid"
Initially things did not go well for Bayern with Sepp Mayer conceding a free-kick that many felt he could have saved, before Schwarzenbeck hit a memorable equaliser in the dying seconds of the game.

The replay was a different story, however, with Bayern achieving a 4-0 win thanks to two goals apiece from Muller and Uli Hoeness.

Franz Beckenbauer: "We were lucky against Leeds" (BBC TV)
One year later, 1975, brought another European Cup final - this time against the might of Leeds United at the Parc des Princes in Paris.

Leeds dominated the game and even secured a late goal - but it proved to be the turning point of the match. It was disallowed for offside with Bayern then scoring twice to lift the trophy for the second time.

It was an ageing team that attempted to win the European Cup again, against Saint Etienne in 1976. But Karl-Heinz Rummenigge provided some new blood.

[ image: 1976: Bayern's third consecutive victory on the European stage]
1976: Bayern's third consecutive victory on the European stage
In a BBC interview, Rummenigge later admitted: "Before the game I was so nervous and I told [coach] Dettmar Cramer.

"I said I didn't know what to do and that I thought I should do something to feel better, so the doctor game me a shot of Cognac and then tried to give me another - but I was afraid of being drunk."

Saint Etienne were the flower of French football at the time and dominated the game for most of its 90 minutes.

But Bayern could not quite be suppressed and the game was ultimately decided by one foul and one free-kick.

Franz Roth was the scorer and not for the first time Bayern had snatched victory from the fire.

It was three European Cup wins in a row - an achievement to match the three victories of Ajax - if not the six of Real Madrid.

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