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The Kaiser's Bodyguard

Hans-Georg Schwarzenbeck

Every successful side needs unsung heroes like Hans-Georg Schwarzenbeck, an ultra-loyal servant who put in years of tireless effort on Bayern's behalf.

Hans-Georg Schwarzenbeck was that rarity among footballers, a loyalist who spent his entire career at one club. The player appeared for Bayern between 1966 and 1982, an unsung hero usually found in the long shadow thrown by his "boss" Franz Beckenbauer.

The tactics of the era called for a midfield ball-winner, and Schwarzenbeck was a shining example of the craft. The "Kaiser's Bodyguard" harried, tackled and hoofed clear whatever the opposition sent in the direction of the goal he was defending, a role never likely to earn stardom but which he carried out with tireless efficiency.

Schwarzenbeck made his Bayern debut in the 1967 German Cup final against Hamburg. "It went well for me, but I honestly can't remember any of the details, I'm afraid I've just played too many finals," he said later. Bayern won 4-0 that day.

He made 416 Bundesliga appearances, 70 in Europe and earned 44 Germany caps. He scored a total of 21 goals as a professional. Schwarzenbeck collected six German championships (1969, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1980, 1981), a European Cup Winners' Cup medal in 1967, and the Champions' Cup three times in succession from 1974 to 1976. With Germany, he was European Champion in 1972, World Champion in 1974 and European Championship runner-up in 1976.

The most spectacular triumph was the duel with Atletico Madrid in the 1974 Champions' Cup final in Brussels. The game ended goalless after 90 minutes, and little happened in extra time until the 114th minute, when Schwarzenbeck upended his opponent on the edge of the box. Luis blasted an unstoppable free-kick past Sepp Maier for what looked like the deciding goal.

But Schwarzenbeck was determined to make good his error, blasting an equaliser from 25 metres in the proverbial last seconds to set up the first and only reply in the history of European finals. "Even Pele wouldn't have scored that one," he rejoiced afterwards. Munich powered to a 4-0 victory in the replay two days later, earning rave notices from the global sports press as they heralded the arrival of a side which would dominate European club football for the next two seasons.

Pride of place in Schwarzenbeck's impressive medal collection goes to his 1972 European Championship honour and 1974 World Cup winners' medal. If there was an accolade for combining success with unassuming modesty, the former Bayern defender would be first in line.

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