Landmark moments in Uli Hoeneß’s career
Few people are as intrinsically linked with Bayern’s success as Uli Hoeneß. As a player, general manager, board member, president and chairman of the advisory board, the Ulm native oversaw countless triumphs at the club and goes down as one of Bayern’s most defining figures. To mark his 71st birthday, fcbayern.com looks back on some of the landmark and memorable moments in the career of our honorary president.
1. Start of his first great career
The blond-haired forward made the move to Bayern from boyhood club TSG Ulm 1846 as an 18-year-old in 1970. He immediately impressed coach Udo Lattek and over the course of his first season earned himself a regular spot in a team that included Franz Beckenbauer, Sepp Maier and Gerd Müller. FCB may have only finished as runners-up in the Bundesliga, but they made it all the way to the DFB Cup final against Köln, triumphing 2-1 to earn Hoeneß the first of 10 honours as a player.
2. Prolific front two
Hoeneß continued to progress over the following years and was soon regarded as one of Europe’s top strikers. As well as his dribbling ability, he was tireless, driven and possessed excellent game intelligence. The later world and European champion formed a formidable partnership with Müller, seven years his senior, and the pair posted a combined 53 goals in both his second and third season at the club.
3. At Europe’s summit
When looking at the Bayern history books, you can’t skip over the year 1974. Just nine years since promotion to the Bundesliga, the Munich club had become one of the continent’s top sides and became the first German team to win the European Cup on 17 May 1974. After a 1-1 draw with Atletico Madrid in the final two days previously, FCB blew away the Spaniards in a replay. Two goals apiece from Hoeneß and Müller guided Bayern to a 4-0 victory in Brussels. It’s a triumph that the honorary president still enthuses about today: “It was my happiest moment as a player at Bayern.”
4. The second career
After 86 goals in 239 Bundesliga games for Bayern, Hoeneß hung up his boots in 1979 due to a long-standing knee injury. But he remained with the club and became the youngest general manager in Bundesliga history at just 27. Starting out with only 22 members of staff at Säbener Straße, Hoeneß turned Bayern into a club with global standing and interest. The now 71-year-old always stuck to the same premise: “It’s not a job for me, it’s a passion.”
5. A special transfer
Hoeneß oversaw countless transfers in his role as general manager, bringing some of football’s greatest to Munich, from Andreas Brehme and Michael Ballack to Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben. Hoeneß proved his magic touch in the market over several decades, helping to carve out Bayern’s success story. But one of the most meaningful signings actually came right at the start of his tenure when he brought younger brother Dieter to Munich from VfB Stuttgart in summer 1979. A move that immediately paid off as the striker bagged 16 goals in Bayern’s title-winning season.
6. Tireless title winner
Hoeneß led Bayern to the summit of European football as both general manager and president. The club amassed 21 Bundesliga titles, 12 DFB Cup and two Champions League crowns during his stints at the helm. One of the most important for Bayern and Hoeneß himself came on 23 May 2001 as the Reds ended their 25-year wait to be officially Europe’s best when they won a dramatic Champions League final against Valencia. Hoeneß had played his part in the triumph and got to lift the European Cup for a fourth time that night in Milan. After helping the team to three successive crowns in 1974, 1975 and 1976 as a player, he'd now returned Bayern to Europe’s throne as a general manager.
7. Emotional farewell
After almost 50 years in his roles as general manager, president and chairman of the supervisory board, Hoeneß bid farewell at the 2019 annual general meeting as he began his well-deserved retirement. The man known as “Mr FC Bayern” hadn’t just guided the club to numerous titles but moulded Bayern into a global brand, oversaw the construction of the Allianz Arena and turned FCB into the football club with the largest membership in the world. After rapturous applause and several minutes of 6,000 fans chanting his name inside the Olympiahalle, the now honorary president bowed out with the words: “It was a wonderful time. That’s it. I’m done. Thank you.”
We took a look back at Hoeneß’s unique career: