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Ready for lift-off

Sprightly Bayern’s pleasing pre-season form

The party was over, and Franz Beckenbauer laid on a last demonstration of the attributes which made him a legend among players. The 64-year-old advanced unstoppably in determined fashion, just as he used to as a libero. However, he was not on the lookout for a one-two with Gerd Müller on this occasion. Late on Friday evening, the Kaiser simply kept his head down, despite the throng of reporters desperately waiting for quotes. “Franz, just two or three questions,” the press pack called. But Beckenbauer exited the Mixed Zone without saying a word.

It was the Kaiser’s evening at the Allianz Arena, but he had completed his official duties before kick-off. He thanked Bayern “for this extremely generous gesture” in organising a testimonial, 33 years after his switch to New York Cosmos. “I was supposed to have one back then, but somehow, it was forgotten,” explained the man described by Real Madrid boss Jose Mourinho as “one of the immortals.” Beckenbauer received a commemorative shirt, flowers and a substantial donation for his charity foundation, and he performed the symbolic kick-off. After that, the Kaiser’s tribute evening became Bayern’s final dress rehearsal for the new campaign.