Beckenbauer to Rummenigge: Mia san Euro winners - Part 1

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This summer, the European champions will be determined for the 16th time, with 14 FC Bayern professionals taking part in the tournament. A look at the past shows that the German record champions have often been involved in Euro wins. During their time in Munich, no fewer than 17 players have lifted the Henri Delaunay trophy, which will be up for grabs again when the tournament kicks off on Friday. In Part 1 we look back at the tournaments in 1972 and 1980. Part 2 follows.

1972: Start of the EURO success story

The legendary German team of 1972 (from left to right): Beckenbauer, Maier, Schwarzenbeck, Heynckes, Netzer, Wimmer, Müller, Höttges, E. Kremers, Breitner, Hoeneß.

"The best team I've ever had," national coach Helmut Schön once said about the victorious German team at the 1972 European Championship in Belgium. And it was largely characterised by players from the two best German teams at the time. Six players from Mönchengladbach were in the DFB squad - among them Jupp Heynckes. FC Bayern also sent six men to the tournament in the neighbouring country, which lasted just four days. The format had little to do with tournaments lasting several weeks that nowadays take place every four years. Only the final round of fixtures - the semi-finals, the third-place match and the final - was played in Belgium. The birth of Germany's first European champion team had already begun by then: a 3-1 win in the quarter-final first leg against England at Wembley is regarded in retrospect as this magnificent team's key match. One of the defining figures of the tournament, who tipped the scales after a 0-0 draw in the first leg, to book a place in the finals: Uli Hoeneß.

A goal and an assist from the then 20-year-old brought Schön's side to a semi-final berth with a 3-1 victory, and with that Hoeneß became a regular at the tournament in Belgium. His talent was impressive, and he - like the equally up-and-coming left-back Paul Breitner - attracted international attention for the first time. It was clear that something would come of the pair. Hoeneß left his mark on German football with 335 appearances for FC Bayern and 35 international caps until he ended his career prematurely at the age of 27 due to injury. And Breitner, first an attacking defender, later as a brilliant midfield boss (348 games for Bayern/48 internationals). However, the young duo left the goalscoring to someone else in Belgium, of course!

Gerd Müller with the European Cup after winning the final against the Soviet Union (3-0).

Gerd Müller scored two braces, both in the 2-1 semi-final win over the hosts and in the final against the Soviet Union, who had no chance from the start in a 3-0 win (after another goal by Herbert Wimmer). Even then, nobody could do anything against "der Bomber": Müller was not only the only player to score more than one goal at the finals, but he scored an incredible total in 1972: 85 goals for FCB and the national team that year.

A mark only surpassed in 2012 by Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi. About the tournament, the man who scored 68 times in 62 international matches said: "Everything just fell into place." There is probably no better way to sum it up - also with a view to the other Bavarians in the squad. The goalkeeper, Sepp Maier, who was an integral part of the era, both at FC Bayern (702 games) and in the national team (95). The solid central defender "Katsche" Schwarzenbeck, with a simple and straightforward style, a compliment to the elegant technician Franz Beckenbauer, his defensive partner. The duo - as different as they were - appreciated and needed each other, and it was not for nothing that Schwarzenbeck (44 caps, 554 games for FC Bayern) was described as the man who always had Beckenbauer's back. He succeeded so well in 1972 that the captain, in his freer role, went down in history as the driving force of the European champions' team. Ahead of Gerd Müller and Günter Netzer, the "Kaiser" was voted "Europe's Footballer of the Year" for the first time that year. He was also a driving force in a Bayern jersey (528 games, 103 internationals) - and later led his boyhood club to a European Cup hat-trick.

1980: Rummenigge's hour

Karl-Heinz Rummenigge was unstoppable at the 1980 European Championships.

Eleven days instead of four, eight teams instead of four, 14 games instead of four: The 1980 European Championship was the first to be held in a more expanded fashion - and it was marked by an FC Bayern player: Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, then 24 years old, not only played a decisive role in the DFB team's second European Championship success, but was also voted the best player of the tournament. The agreement on a new five-year contract with Rummenigge was announced in the June issue of the "Club News": Bayern naturally wanted to keep a man like this.

In Italy, Rummenigge really blossomed in Jupp Derwall's young team. Rarely, those involved said afterwards, was the atmosphere in a team better than in those summer days in Italy, the mixture of focusing on the big goal and being relaxed. Rummenigge describes himself as "incredibly hungry for success" when he thinks back to 1980. Germany were not necessarily the favourites, but they made their mark in the group stage. Rummenigge scored the decisive goal in the 1-0 win over Czechoslovakia before the Netherlands were defeated 3-2. The 0-0 draw against Greece was irrelevant, with a final ticket for 22 June already booked. After a 2-1 win against Belgium, they were "at the destination of their dreams".

Lap of honour in Rome: Rummenigge celebrated the European Championship victory together with team-mate Bernard Dietz on the running track of the Stadio Olimpico.

For the lively striker - 95 caps, 423 competitive games for FC Bayern - EURO 1980 was the highlight of his national team career; "just play freely" a motto that suited him perfectly. So well, in fact, that he not only laid on the winning goal in the final against the Belgians, but even prophesied it. "Focus your camera, we're about to score!," Rummenigge shouted to a photographer in the 88th minute at 1-1. Rummenigge corner, Horst Hrubesch header, goal, European champions - simple as that. The celebrations knew no bounds, both on and off the field. There was another Bayern player in that squad too. Substitute goalkeeper Walter Junghans became European champion without ever having played an international match. He was Toni Schumacher's deputy, who in turn stood between the posts because Sepp Maier had been injured in a car accident before the tournament.

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