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50 years in the Bundesliga

Promotion series, part 3: The team

26 June 1965, 17:42, full time at the Olympic Stadium in Berlin, FC Bayern beat Tennis Borussia Berlin 8-0 - done and dusted: FC Bayern are finally promoted to the Bundesliga.

Friday is the fiftieth anniversary of that promotion. Looking back at that great achievement, fcbayern.de brings you a five-part series on the rise of FC Bayern as they set out on the road to conquering the world of football, in Germany and across the globe.

Promotion series, part 3: The team

The financial situation at FC Bayern was not particularly healthy at the start of the 1960s but club president Wilhelm Neudecker made a virtue out of necessity by introducing a youth policy. Bayern were the youngest team in the Regional League in the 1964/65 season with an average age of 21.8 years. The captain Adi Kunstwadl was one of the oldest players in the squad at the age of 24. “We were the wild things, full of emotion, motivation and hard to control,” wrote Sepp Maier in his book “Wer mit dem Ball tanzt” (‘Dancing with the ball’).

Two new members of the squad in the summer of 1964 came from the FCB youth ranks: striker Rudolf Nafziger and a certain Franz Beckenbauer. The 18-year-old made his debut for the first team at the tail end of the previous season. He played at left back in the 4-0 away win at FC St. Pauli in the play-off rounds (6 June 1964) and he scored the third goal for the Reds. Beckenbauer was “a really skinny but quite hard-headed lad” back then according to the history published on the 70th anniversary of FC Bayern in 1970.

FCB coach Cajkovski was not initially excited at the prospects for the future Kaiser. “He’s too soft. He’s no good to me,” he said when Neudecker introduced Beckenbauer to the first team training sessions. Neudecker forced Beckenbauer onto Cajkovski and the coach put the finishing touches to the whippersnapper - a model repeated later with Gerd Müller.

The 18-year-old from TSV Nördlingen was the only new signing for Bayern from outside the club in the summer of 1964. “What am I supposed to do with this lad? That body, impossible,” declared Cajkovski, at a loss where to start when he saw the striker’s ‘weightlifter’ stature. Under pressure from Neudecker, Müller, who broke his arm in preseason, made his debut on Matchday 12 and went on to let his nose for goal do the talking: he found the back of the net 32 times in 26 Regional League appearances. Beckenbauer was a regular first choice from Matchday 6. He played 31 games in the 1964/65 season, scoring 16 goals for FCB.

On top of that, a 20-year-old called Sepp Maier established his position as the number one keeper in the summer of 1964 so the promotion winning team of 1964/65 marked the formation of the backbone of FC Bayern that endured for many years: Maier - Beckenbauer - Müller.

Part four of the promotion series on Thursday: The run-in to promotion.

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