BY UDDIPTA BANER JEE
West Germany's Gerd Muller, (centre) is mobbed by team-mates, (Muller had scored the winning goal for the Germans) against Holland in Munich, West Germany, in the World Cup Final July 7, 1974. Left-right, Jurgen Grabowski, Franz Beckenbauer. Image: Rolls Press/Popperfoto via Getty
It was the year 1974. With the blow of the final whistle, an army of Germans decked in white shirts and black shorts threw their arms in the air and exalted in jubilation. The Dutch, arguably one of the greatest football teams of all time led by the talismanic Johan Cruyff, sat on the ground with their heads hung low. As the glittering FIFA World Cup trophy was handed over to the German captain Franz Beckenbauer, the world saw ‘Der Kaiser’ (German for ‘The Emperor’) take his throne. Today, it pains every football fan to say the king is no more.
One of the greatest legends of the sport, Beckenbauer is often considered to be the inventor of the modern sweeper (libero) role of a defender. The German maestro led his country to yet another World Cup glory in 1990, this time as a manager. He is one of the only three individuals in football’s history, alongside Brazil’s Mario Zagallo and Frenchman Didier Deschamps, to win the FIFA World Cup as a player and as a manager.
The German legend, aged 78, breathed his last on 7 January 2024. “We ask that we be allowed to grieve in peace and be spared any questions,” read a statement by his family. Although Beckenbauer’s cause of death is undetermined to date, reports suggest that he was ailing from heart-related issues.
In the wake of his unfortunate demise, we take a moment to look at Franz Beckenbauer’s career stats, records, the dates he joined Bayern Munich and the German national team, and all his achievements and accolades as we honour the maestro’s incredible legacy.
Everything to know about Franz Beckenbauer’s career stats, records, trophies and more.
His time with Bayern Munich in club football
Franz Beckenbauer made his debut for Bayern Munich in a Bundesliga promotion play-off match against FC St. Pauli on 6 June 1964. Over the next few years, the Munich-based club became a formidable force in Germany, winning the German Cup in 1966-67 and the UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup in 1967.
For the 1968-69 season, Bayern Munich named Beckenbauer the captain of the club. In his first season as the skipper, he led the team to its first-ever Bundesliga title. It was also around this time that the German started experimenting with the sweeper defender role. He eventually redefined the role of a defender and became the greatest exponent of the attacking sweeper game.
Beckenbauer earned his moniker of ‘Der Kaiser’ whilst playing for Bayern Munich. The origin of this title, however, is debated to date. According to a popular theory, on the occasion of a friendly match in Vienna, Austria in 1968, the footballer posed for a photo session right beside a statue of the former Austrian emperor Franz Joseph I. The media started calling him ‘Der Kaiser’ soon after.
However, there is an alternate theory explaining the roots of Beckenbauer’s nickname. On 14 June 1969, the German fouled the opposition captain, Reinhard Libuda from Schalke 04. While the fans were upset with this challenge on the field, Beckenbauer took the ball in front of the opposition fans and balanced it for half a minute. Libuda was known as ‘Konig von Westfalen’ (the king of Westphalia), so the press came up with an even more dramatic title for Beckenbauer in the form of ‘Der Kaiser’.
During Beckenbauer’s time with Bayern Munich, the club won three consecutive league titles from 1972 to 1974. In addition, they also secured a hat-trick of European Cup (now known as the UEFA Champions League) victories (from 1974 to 1976), which prompted UEFA to permanently award the trophy to Bayern Munich. Franz Beckenbauer’s stats and records for the Munich-based side rank him in the pantheon of greats in European club football.
Beckenbauer’s exploits in international football
Arguably the greatest German defender of all time, Franz Beckenbauer made his international debut on 26 September 1965 and represented his nation in three FIFA World Cups (in 1966, 1970 and 1974).
In the 1966 World Cup, he had a stellar run as he scored four goals and ended as the tournament’s joint-third top goal scorer. However, the Germans fell short of winning the title by the narrowest of margins, losing to Bobby Charlton’s England in the final at the Wembley Stadium in London.
The Germans exacted revenge on the Englishmen in the 1970 World Cup as they defeated the defending champions in the extra time of the second-round encounter after overcoming a 2-0 deficit. And, it was Beckenbauer who scripted this famous comeback after opening the scoring for the Germans in the second half of the match.
In the semi-finals, they faced Italy in what would be known as the ‘Game of the Century‘. Beckenbauer dislocated his shoulder after being fouled but continued playing on carrying his arm in a sling as his side had already used the two permitted substitutions. The match eventually went on to extra time, and the Italians won by a margin of 4-3 to advance to the finals.
Beckenbauer became the captain of the national side in 1971, and under his astute leadership, West Germany won the 1972 European Championships after defeating the Soviet Union by a margin of 3-0 in the title clash. He went on to lead his side to a World Cup win in their backyard in 1974, defeating Johan Cruyff’s fabled Dutch side in the final by a 2-1 scoreline. Beckenbauer became the first captain to lift the new FIFA World Cup trophy (which is used to date) after Brazil had retained the Jules Rimet Trophy in 1970.
As a result of this World Cup win, West Germany created the record of being the first team in history to become the reigning champions of both the European Championship and the World Cup simultaneously (France and Spain achieved the feat after that). Beckenbauer came tantalisingly close to winning a second consecutive European Championship with West Germany but failed to live his dream as his side was beaten by Czechoslovakia in the final.
His time as a football manager
Franz Beckenbauer replaced Jupp Derwall as the manager of West Germany on 12 September 1984. He helped the team reach the final of the 1986 FIFA World Cup where they lost to the Argentine team led by the legendary Diego Maradona.
However, he did exact revenge on Argentina in the 1990 FIFA World Cup when his German side defeated them by a margin of 1-0 to win the world title. In the process, Franz Beckenbauer joined an elite club of men who won the World Cup both as a player and as a manager and scripted the record for being the first man to win the trophy as a captain and a manager (Didier Deschamps is the only other individual to achieve this feat in 2018).
Beckenbauer accepted the role of managing Olympique de Marseille in 1990, but he left the club within a year. He returned to Bayern Munich, this time as the club’s manager, and was in charge of the side from 28 December 1993 until 30 June 1994, and from 29 April to 30 June 1996. During his two brief spells managing the club, Beckenbauer helped Bayern Munich win the Bundesliga title in 1994 and the UEFA Cup in 1996.
Summing up Franz Beckenbauer’s career stats
There is no shred of doubt that Franz Beckenbauer’s name is written in the history of football as one of its finest ambassadors. Be it as a player, a leader, a manager or an administrator, his contributions to the sport are hardly rivalled by many.
Franz Beckenbauer’s stats and records are almost unthinkable for a defender to achieve in a lifetime. He has scored 75 goals in 584 matches for Bayern Munich, and 98 goals in 754 matches in his club football career. For West Germany, the maestro has scored 14 goals in 103 matches.
Besides winning multiple honours with his club and national teams, Beckenbauer has won a host of personal accolades as well. He won the coveted Ballon d’Or in 1972 and 1976, besides being named the Footballer of the Year in Germany four times (in 1966, 1968, 1974 and 1976). He also won the FIFA World Cup Best Young Player Award in 1966, and the FIFA World Cup Silver Ball in 1974.
Franz Beckenbauer was awarded the FIFA Order of Merit in 1984 and won the FIFA Centennial Player and Football Personality Award in 2004. In 2007, he was presented with the Laureus Lifetime Achievement Award.
Beckenbauer was also included in the Ballon d’Or Dream Team in 2020.
READ ORIGINAL STORY HERE