The 1990s were a decade of constant turmoil. Numerous managerial changes caused considerable fluctuations in Bayern’s sporting fortunes. The new commercial media adopted a different, and not always sports-related angle, towards football and its stars. As a consequence, FC Bayern became known as the ‘dream team’ on the one hand, and as ‘FC Hollywood’ on the other.
The intense media interest did have at least one positive effect: Never before had so many fans streamed into the stadium and never before had so many replica shirts been sold. However, the vicissitude of this decade is reflected in eight changes of head coach.
Heynckes won the league in 1989 and 1990 but the main target of the European Cup remained elusive. On the plus side, Germany did win the World Cup again in 1990 (with Bayern players Augenthaler, Reuter, Thon, Kohler, Pflügler and Aumann in the squad).
Heynckes and FCB parted company in the 1991/92 season with former Bayern player Sören Lerby taking over as head coach. But his team failed to make their mark. With relegation threatening Erich Ribbeck replaced Lerby. Franz Beckenbauer and Karl-Heinz Rummenigge stepped into the breach as emergency cover, becoming vice-presidents of FC Bayern. In 1993/94 the ‘Kaiser’ finally replaced Ribbeck and went on to lift the league title.
That was followed by the first ‘Trap’ era. Giovanni Trapattoni was adored by the players and the media but success at the first attempt proved elusive. The 1994/95 season ended with a sixth-place finish and a semi-final exit against Ajax Amsterdam in the European Cup.
Rehagel, Beckenbauer, Trapattoni
Otto Rehhagel arrived along with stars like Klinsmann, Herzog and Sforza. Although Rehhagel took the team to the final of the UEFA Cup he was released in the spring, in spite of two memorable performances in the semi-final against Barcelona. It looked tricky after a 2-2 draw at the Olympic Stadium but the return leg at Estadio Camp Nou turned into a victory parade: Babbel and Witeczek scored in a 2-1 win. Many Bayern fans still rave about that night of 16 April 1996.
Franz Beckenbauer, Bayern president since 1994, took over as coach for the two-legged final. 2-0 and 3-1 wins against Bordeaux brought the first triumph in this competition. However, as in the previous season, Borussia Dortmund became champions again.
And then Trapattoni returned. His second, two-year spell as Bayern coach yielded two titles: champions in 1997, cup winners in 1998. The whole city showed its appreciation when the ‘Maestro’ left. He was renowned above all for his feisty speeches that achieved cult status (“Bottle empty” and “Struuunz”) and he conquered the hearts of the fans.
"Mother of all defeats"
The Italian ‘Seniore’ was replaced by another gentleman as Trapattoni made way for Ottmar Hitzfeld, who was to add to the collection in the trophy cabinet at the Säbener Straße HQ in the years ahead.
The man from Lörrach had an almost perfect first season, winning German championship number fifteen plus reaching the German cup and Champions League finals. The game against Manchester United in Barcelona did not go to plan with the elite club competition title slipping away seconds from the end in a 2-1 reverse - that ‘Mother of all defeats’ was a truly bitter experience. The same applied to the DFB Cup finak loss to Werder Bremen at the Olympic Stadium in Berlin: it was 1-1 at full time and after extra time, but the ensuing penalty shoot-out saw the Reds lose 5-4.