11th place: Sepp Maier
by Maurice Hauß
Germany has always been the nation of the great goalkeepers, who often had to fight for a place in the national team. In the 1970s, perhaps the most successful period of German football, there was one undisputed goalkeeper: Sepp Maier.
There are countless anecdotes about Sepp Maier. For example, how he actually wanted to become a striker and then of all things was ordered into goal by the coach in a match against the youth of FC Bayern because the regular keeper had injured himself. Or how he was chasing a duck in May 1976 from a dangerous mixture of boredom and exuberance in the game against Bochum. Or how he and the sports supplier Reusch laid the foundations for the modern goalkeeper gloves.
Indeed, Maier was more than just a goalkeeper. Even off the pitch, the native of Lower Bavaria was a joker, from whom even today Thomas Müller or Franck Ribéry could not be safe. After all, the young Sepp wanted to become an actor and also tried his hand as a double of the Munich comedian Karl Valentin.
But on the pitch Maier was always dead serious. The national player was ambitious and was able to put his front men in their places if necessary.
His goalkeeping made him world famous. The Katze von Anzing, as he was called after his former gymnastic training and his graceful movements, had his strengths on the line and in positional play, but also in controlling the penalty area. Maier’s goal was not just to punch away balls, but to catch them.
He said, “If you’re in the right position, you don’t have to fly” and “As a goalkeeper you have to be calm, but you have to be careful not to fall asleep”. Maier was never a penalty killer during his career, as he never gets tired of emphasizing in interviews these days.
Until today Maier is record player of FC Bayern with 472 league games. Unforgotten also his series of 442 matches, which he played in a row and without exception. With 95 international matches, he is still the goalkeeper with the most matches for the national team.
Together with Beckenbauer and Müller, he formed the legendary Bayern axis, which won numerous titles for the club and the national team at the beginning of the 1970s. Maier won four championships, four cups, four European cups, one European Championship and the World Cup in his home country.
Germany’s goalkeeper of the century is no stranger internationally either. In his election for World Goalkeeper of the Century, he took fourth place behind Lev Yashin (Russia), Gordon Banks (England) and Dino Zoff (Italy).
10th place: Klaus Augenthaler
by Maurice Hauß
In the summer of 1975, a 17-year-old picture-book Bavarian, as he was so often affectionately called later on, joined FC Bayern’s youth team. The young Klaus Augenthaler moves from his home club FC Vilshofen in the Bavarian forest to the metropolis of Munich. A big step for the trained central defender. In Munich, Augenthaler took the path “from suitcase carrier to boss”, as his long-time companion Dieter Hoeneß once put it.
Under Gyula Lóránt, “Auge” was integrated into the first team as Libero and played his first Bundesliga game against Dortmund in 1977. Until 1991 he played a total of 546 matches for the Munich team, the fourth most for a Bavarian player and even the second most for a field player. For his trophy cabinet, the Bavarian collected seven German championships, three cup victories and crowned his career in 1990 with the World Cup. He also reached the final of the European Champions Cup in 1982 and 1987.
As a defender, Augenthaler was known for his powerful shot. He also scored his first goal of the season in his first match against Dortmund. Throughout his career he scored at least one goal each season as a defender.
A particularly spectacular goal will always be associated with Augenthaler. In August 1989 he was able to overcome Uli Stein in the Eintracht Frankfurt goal with his feared long-range shot from almost fifty metres in the DFB Pokal. The goal was not only goal of the month, but also goal of the year 1989 and goal of the decade of the 1980s.
The story of Augenthaler, however, cannot be told without a foul with no sending-off and a Watschn (a slap) with a back story.
In November 1985, the top duel in the German football between Werder Bremen and Bayern Munich took place. On the 16th matchday, Werder traveled to the Olympic Stadium as league leader three points ahead of Bayern. But after half an hour the game becomes insignificant.
Bayern are leading 1-0 at the time when Bremen’s striker Rudi Völler dribbles his way through Munich’s defence. Until he meets Augenthaler. The libero knows what’s at stake. Bayern can’t afford to equal the score. He brutally knocks down Völler. The latter has to be taken off the pitch injured, and is sidelined for a total of five months with an adductor rupture in the thigh. Augenthaler only sees a yellow card.
The picture of the Völler flying through the air goes through the entire country. After the game the reactions rain down on Augenthaler. The relationship between Bremen and Bayern noticeably cools down. The choice of words is hard. Bremen’s coach Rehagel speaks of a “hunt” on his players, Völler speaks of a “sign of shame by FC Bayern”, while Bayern coach Lattek – “We don’t play chess” – and manager Hoeneß – “a normal foul” – take the side of their defender.
Nevertheless, for a few months Augenthaler becomes the personified enemy of the Bayern haters. In the SportBild he says: “I would never have thought it possible what poured down on me afterwards. A real Bayern hatred broke out, I received death threats at the time, Bavaria had two security guards on duty who were sitting in the team bus with us.
The foul was the turning point in the championship. Bavaria won 3:1 against Völler-less Bremen. The return match in May 1986 became the comeback game of the Werder striker and goes down in history thanks to the legendary Kutzop penalty kick, which was won by Völler. FC Bayern finally became German champion thanks to the better goal ratio.
The duels with Real Madrid in the 1980s are particularly present in the biography of the Libero. If you ask Augenthaler directly, he would refer to the year 1980 as the starting point for this special relationship. In the preseason, the Munich team defeated star-studded Madrid in a friendly with 9:1, almost destroying them. In the following year, the Spaniards were looking for revenge and went after Bayern very hard in a preparation tournament.
When the European Cup duel took place in spring 1987, the stakes were correspondingly high. Bayern convincingly won the first leg at home 4-1. A gesture from Auge after a kick in the back by Hierro became famous. On his knees, the defensive leader indicated bull horns with two hands. What was supposed to mean that this game was not a bullfight, was considered an affront in Madrid.
The return match in the Santiago Bernabéu stadium becomes a gauntlet run for Augenthaler. In a heated atmosphere, he commits an own goal early on. After thirty minutes, Real star Hugo Sanchez fouled him hard. Too much for the otherwise calm and level-headed defender, who handed out a Bavarian Watschn to the Mexican.
The referee sent Auge off the field. The national player has to sit in the cabin for the remaining hour. In order not to notice anything happening on the field, he lets the shower run. It seems to help. Even without their defensive anchor, it remains the 0-1 defeat and Bayern advance to the final.
His deep attachment to FC Bayern was particularly evident after the end of his active career. Five years after his career ended, Augenthaler, who was assistant coach of the professional team at the time, played for the reserves in the fourth division four more times at the age of 39.