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Updated on July 17th 2021, 6:05:49 pm

1973-76 Bayern Munich: Deutschland’s first World beaters

Bayern formed the backbone of West Germany's first UEFA European Championship-winning side in 1972, which is still widely regarded as the best German national team ever assembled. A look at the 1973-76 Bayern Munich.

Bayern formed the backbone of West Germany's first UEFA European Championship-winning side in 1972, which is still widely regarded as the best German national team ever assembled. It should come as no surprise to those who saw Franz Beckenbauer, Gerd Müller, and Sepp Maier go on to help the Bavarians dominate the club world for the next half-decade. Following Ajax's accomplishments, Bayern Munich replicated their incredible record of winning three European Cups in a row. This was inspired by the great Franz Beckenbauer's offensive sweeper role. Great players backed him up, especially the prolific Gerd Muller.


Coach: Udo Lattek & Dettmar Cramer

Trophies: 3 European Cups (1973-74, 1974-75, 1975-76), 1 Bundesliga (1973–74), 1 Intercontinental Cup (1976)

Star Players: Franz Beckenbauer, Gerd Muller, Uli Hoeness, Karl-Heinz Ruminegge, Sepp Maier


After forcing a final replay against Club Atlético de Madrid thanks to a last-gasp Hans-Georg Schwarzenbeck goal, they became the first German team to win the European Champion Clubs' Cup in 1974. Bayern Munich fell down 1-0 against Atlético Madrid in extra time in Brussels on May 15, 1974. With the Germans running out of time, Luis Aragonés, later Spain's Euro 2008-winning coach, had given the Spaniards the lead with a direct free-kick (114th minute). They didn't give themselves any serious opportunities. Schwarzenbach, the centre-back, found himself with the ball 20 seconds before the final whistle with no better option than to try his luck from 25 metres. When the low shot reached the back of the net, Gerd Müller was about to wave his arm, demanding a cross. The goal by Schwarzenbeck necessitated a rematch. Two days later, Atletico Madrid was thrashed 4-0 by two brilliantly executed goals from Müller and Uli Hoeness.


Lattek started Bayern's golden era, but Dettmar Cramer moulded it for the victories in 1975 and 1976. Both coaches believed their players were better than their opponents' and deployed man-marking methods, with Lattek favouring an attack-minded attitude that saw his team score a Bundesliga-record 101 goals in 1971/72. Bayern used a 1-3-3-3 formation under Cramer, which prioritised defensive stability while allowing 'libero' Beckenbauer to freely engage in attacking play. If all else failed, they could always rely on Müller's goals, who created defensive nightmares with his superb ball control and finishing.


Bayern Munich were at their most convincing and entertaining in the league in 1972. Müller, who was dubbed by Germany coach Helmut Schön as "a man of small goals," scored 40 goals, a league record that was recently exceeded by Robert Lewandowski. Bayern Munich won their second European Cup in a contentious final against Leeds United in Paris. Leeds fans then rioted in Paris, resulting in a three-year ban from European competition. Bayern then boosted themselves just enough for a last successful European campaign the following year. They defended their title twice, defeating Leeds United AFC and AS Saint-Étienne in the subsequent finals.


Despite the fact that the Bundesliga at the time was full with strong clubs, none more so than VfL Borussia Mönchengladbach, Die Roten won four titles between 1970 and 1980. Bayern's final title in this era was the Intercontinental Cup, which they won in two legs over Brazilian club Cruzeiro. The rest of the decade was marked by transition, with Bayern winning no more trophies. Franz Beckenbauer moved to the New York Cosmos in 1977, and Sepp Maier and Uli Hoeneß retired in 1979, with Gerd Müller joining the Fort Lauderdale Strikers. During this time, the term Bayerndusel was coined to express either disdain or envy for the team's frequently close and last-minute victories over rival clubs. The team disbanded, confident that they had accomplished a historic feat but unsure of their exact place in the pantheon of greats.