Looking back on it after the event, Karl-Heinz Rummenigge described joining FC Bayern in 1974 as a “kamikaze mission.” The club had just won the Bundesliga three times in a row, so how was an unknown 18-year-old striker from Borussia Lippstadt supposed to break into the team?
But Rummenigge succeeded. He was a regular by the time of his second season with FCB in 1975/76, and made his full international debut for Germany on 6 October 1976. His main attributes were dynamism, pace and utter conviction, combined with an exceptional nose for goal. His career stats show that he scored more than a goal every two games in a red shirt as he finished on 162 goals in 310 Bundesliga appearances and ranks as the club’s second highest all-time scorer behind Gerd Müller.
Extensive medal collection
Rummenigge won a host of medals and awards in his time with FC Bayern: he was top scorer in the Bundesliga three times (1980, 1981, 1984), Player of the Year in Germany (1980) and Europe (1980, 1981), Intercontinental Cup winner (1976), European Cup winner (1975, 1976), European Cup Winners’ Cup winner (1982, 1984), and German champion (1980, 1981). He was also a European championship winner with Germany in 1980.
“Kalle” left Bayern at the end of the 1984 season, joining Inter Milan for the then record fee of almost €6 million. He moved on in 1987 and wound down his playing career in a two-year spell with Servette Geneva. “I say goodbye gladly, because I've lived and enjoyed this job to the full for 15 years,” he said after hanging up his boots. Rummenigge was a model professional who only ever hit the headlines for his deeds on the pitch and not off it. Always careful to avoid controversy and scandal, he remains a firm believer in correct behaviour and discipline to this day.
Back at Bayern as a visionary
“Kalle” returned to FCB as vice president in 1991 after the club had enjoyed a poor season by its own high standards. He joined forces with Franz Beckenbauer and Uli Hoeneß in charting a course back to success, soon earning him a reputation as a footballing visionary. Nowadays he is the equivalent of the club’s “foreign minister" with a variety of tasks and functions in the wider footballing world: he is for example chairman of the European Club Association (ECA), the body representing the interests of the continent’s biggest clubs.
He became chairman of the newly-formed joint stock company FC Bayern AG in 2002 and continues in his influential senior management role to this day.