Sepp Maier and the 'blond angel'
An era draws to a close on Friday as Uli Hoeneß says farewell to FC Bayern at the annual general meeting after 49 years as a player, general manager, director, president and head of the Supervisory Board. He has shaped the record German champions over decades like nobody else. As a farewell, we are looking at his relationship with FCB in our series 'A life dedicated to FC Bayern'.
It was a transfer that was to have an influence on FC Bayern for decades. At the age of 18, Uli Hoeneß joined FCB from TSG Ulm 1846 in 1970 – and he was to stay in different roles to 2019. His former team-mate Sepp Maier remembers their first meeting as clear as a bell. "He wasn't alone as he had his twin brother Paul Breitner with him," said the goalkeeping legend looking back. "Now we have a blond angel and Paul who looks like the Krampus," said Meyer about the two new signings brought in by the then head coach Udo Lattek. Hoeneß quickly established his place in the FCB attack. "When he started running nobody could keep up with him. He was like a rugby player, like a steam roller. Once against Dresden, three players were after him and they tried to hold on to him. He just tore himself away, went through and put the ball in the back of the net. He had a great shot," raved Maier.
Hoeneß scored 110 goals in 328 games for the German record champions with his left foot, right and with his head. According to Maier, the latter was not one of his strengths. "He was always afraid of his curls getting flattened," joked the former keeper. In their time together at FC Bayern, Maier and Hoeneß won the German title three times, the DFB Cup once, the European Cup three times in succession and the Intercontinental Cup once. In addition, they also won the 1972 European Championships and the 1974 World Cup at the Munich Olympic Stadium with Germany.
Hoeneß was one of the best strikers in the world back then. "Uli always gave 100 per cent," said Meyer. Unfortunately a serious knee injury led to the end of his career at the age of 27. A blow for Hoeneß but he had an idea of where he was headed straight away. "You could see when he was a player that he had to become a manager. He was always ahead of his time," explained Meier. And so Hoeneß went straight from the pitch to being behind a desk.
Sepp Maier's Hoeneß moment
"After losing the group match against East Germany at the 1974 World Cup we were with the team in the hotel and I said to Uli at two o'clock that we can go and see our wives in the hotel in Hamburg. 'Are you mad, how are we supposed to do that,' he said. But I had an idea: Our security officer, who was always with us, had a car so I asked him if he'd drive us. After he said he didn't want to drive because he'd been on his feet all day, I said he should just settle down in the back and I'd drive.
So Uli and I set off at three o'clock with the security officer in the back. The brakes failed during the journey so I had to rely on the handbrake after a while. When I got to the hotel, our wives were sitting at the bar with journalists. We went in nevertheless and agreed with the reporters that they shouldn't write anything about it otherwise there would be trouble. And so we had a great evening. Our security officer collected us again at eight o'clock but unfortunately the brakes still weren't right. 'Dear God. Now we've got to drive home like that,' moaned Uli. Our security guy made himself comfortable in the back seat, I drove and I continually had to pull on the handbrake. Despite that, we got back to the hotel in time and we were on the training ground at 10 o'clock on the dot although I had blisters on my hands from the handbrake. Nothing was said, Uli and I had great fun, trained well – and in the end we won the World Cup."
On Wednesday, the fcbayern.com series 'A life for FC Bayern' looks back at the first years Uli Hoeneß was a manager.