Still a record after 50 years: Bayern's glorious end to 101-goal season

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Bayern have always been known in the Bundesliga for thrilling attacking football - but one season from their 57-year stay in the top flight sticks out more than the rest. It’s exactly 50 years to the day since the German record champions ended the 1971/72 season with 101 goals, a record that still stands today. In a true title decider on the final matchday, Udo Lattek’s side beat FC Schalke 04 5-1 - but they weren’t the only reasons why this was a historic day for the Bavarians.

Firsts on final day

Uli Hoeneß scored goal number 100 to make it 4-1 to Bayern.

The Bundesliga finale on 28 June 1972 was set up perfectly. A few weeks before the start of the Summer Olympics in Munich, Bayern made their debut at the newly built Olympic Stadium in front of nearly 80,000 spectators. FCB went into the game one point ahead of second-placed Schalke, so the visitors could snatch the title away from the hosts with a win in the last match of the season. With so much at stake, all eyes were on Munich. While the other fixtures on Matchday 34 kicked off at 15:30, the top-of-the-table clash was moved to 20:00 so that Bayerischen Rundfunk could broadcast a Bundesliga match live for the first time.

‘Schalke were just running after us’

It had been just 10 days since the German national team, with a Bayern spine of Sepp Maier, Franz Beckenbauer, “Katsche” Schwarzenbeck, Paul Breitner, Uli Hoeneß and Gerd Müller, had been crowned European champions in Belgium. On the Schalke side, Erwin Kremers had also been involved in the Euro triumph, who formed a potent attacking trio at his club with “Stan” Libuda and Klaus Fischer. But on the day, the goal threat largely came from one side. “I still remember the match against Schalke. The winners were the champions. We dispatched them 5-1,” summarised coach Lattek, who died in 2015, in an interview around 10 years ago. “Schalke had no chance, they were just running after us. I almost felt sorry for them.”

Prepared for everything: The scoreboard was also set up in the event of a Schalke victory - but it needn’t have been…

Dane Johnny Hansen opened the scoring for Bayern in the 31st minute. Nine minutes later, Breitner made it 2-0. Fischer pulled one back for the Royal Blues shortly after half-time (55’), but the Reds were not deterred. Willi Hoffmann restored the two-goal advantage in the 69th minute, before history was made in the closing stages. Hoeneß made it 4-1 in the 80th minute, making a very special entry in the history books with Bayern’s 100th goal of the campaign. They weren’t done there, though: in the last minute, the “Kaiser” Franz Beckenbauer added another with a free-kick.

100 goals only achieved twice

"It’s certainly a factor when it remains tense until the final day and you have to keep up the concentration,” explained midfield engine Franz “Bulle” Roth years later in an interview with a Munich daily newspaper regarding his team's unbridled hunger for goals at the time. “If it hadn’t been so crucial, perhaps we would‘ve scored one or two goals less.” Bayern have had a few goes at their own record in the years since, but after 50 years it still hasn’t been cracked. In the 2019/20 season, the Munich men managed to reach a ton of goals for the second time, but the 101st goal didn’t come. And in the following campaign, Bayern again came close to their record, notching 99 goals.

A successful night without scoring himself: Gerd Müller (second from left) celebrated the top scorer prize alongside the league title in 1972.

Unusually, the man who personified goal threat in his day did not get on the scoresheet in the memorable rout against Schalke 50 years ago. The Royal Blues’ defence at least managed to keep Gerd Müller quiet - to an extent - on that night, although his teammates made the most of the space they were afforded as a result. Müller didn’t mind, as probably the best forward in the world at the time had already been crowned the top scorer for that season with an unassailable 40 goals. That too was a record, which eluded generations of Bundesliga strikers for 49 years before a certain Robert Lewandowski broke it in May 2021 with his 41st goal in virtually the last minute of the 2020/21 season. The Pole proved that even the greatest records are not untouchable forever.

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