A successful campaign in the club’s first Bundesliga season in 1965/66 yielded a third-place finish. FC Bayern were given the most valuable gift in the club’s history by their own youth system. The mid-sixties saw goalkeeper Sepp Maier and sweeper Franz Beckenbauer make the breakthrough, and young centre-forward Gerd Müller arrive from TSV Nördlingen. Each member of that trio became the world’s best in his respective position, and together they made up FC Bayern’s golden spine.
With the support of team-mates like tenacious captain Werner Olk, the athletic Franz ‘Bulle’ Roth and the highly dangerous Rainer Ohlhauser, they wreaked havoc on opposition teams in the Bundesliga and cup competitions. A German Cup win in 1966 was followed by a triumph in the European Cup Winners’ Cup a year later, when Glasgow Rangers were beaten 1-0. But the Bundesliga title proved elusive until 1969, when stern disciplinarian Branko Zebec made cool tacticians out of Tschik Cajkovski’s attack-minded footballing romantics.
Zebec banned beer at Bayern. The pundits suspected it might all end in tears - but the fans did not have to forego success on the pitch. This time they won the double (the league title with an eight-point lead over Alemannia Aachen, the cup against Schalke). At this point a club came to the fore to compete with Bayern for several years: Borussia Mönchengladbach. The Foals lifted the league title in 1970 and 1971 ahead of Bayern on both occasions.
Reasons to celebrate at the Olympic Stadium
1972 was a year of joy. Bayern played their first Bundesliga match in their new home on 28 June 1972. They beat Schalke 5-1 to win their third German championship and announced record takings of 1.2 million Deutschmarks. The foundations were laid for FC Bayern’s future sporting and financial success.
More records from that season: Gerd Müller leads the all-time goalscorers list to this day with the 40 goals he scored in that campaign. The team picked up 55 out of a possible 68 points (with two points for a win) - another Bundesliga record.
Two more league titles followed under Udo Lattek - and the first triumph in Europe’s elite footballing competition: Bayern won the European Cup in 1974. ‘Katsche’ Schwarzenbeck levelled the scores at 1-1 against Atletico Madrid a minute before the end of extra time to force a replay. Franz & Co won that match in Brussels 4-0 with two goals apiece from Uli Hoeneß and Gerd Müller.
Trio of European triumphs
Germany won the World Cup in the same year, beating Holland in the Final in Munich. Six Bayern players were in the starting eleven for the 2-1 win (Maier, Beckenbauer, Schwarzenbeck, Breitner, Hoeneß and Müller) with two getting on the scoresheet: Breitner with a penalty and Müller with an unforgettable shot on the turn.
And while Bayern took a break from winning the Bundesliga (up to 1980), they clocked up a treble on the European stage: In 1975 (2-0 against Leeds United in Paris with goals from Roth and Müller) and 1976 (1-0 against St. Etienne in Glasgow, goal scored by Roth) coach Dettmar Cramer led Munich to victory in the European Cup. In 1976 they also won the Intercontinental Cup (0-0 and 2-0 against Belo Horizonte). They were last major titles of the century for FC Bayern...
Years of change followed, years without a trophy. In 1977 Franz Beckenbauer left FC Bayern to join New York Cosmos in the USA professional league. Just twelve months later he was followed by Gerd Müller in crossing the pond as the striker headed to the Fort Lauderdale Strikers.
Start of the Hoeneß era
In 1979 Uli Hoeneß, at the age of 27, was appointed general manger in place of Beckenbauer’s agent Robert Schwan. Pal Csernai took over the coaching helm from Gyula Lorant. And club president Neudecker left as the team rejected the former 1860 Munich player Max Merkel as coach. Willi O. Hoffmann became the new club boss.
When Hoeness swapped the pitch for an office desk at Säbener Strasse in 1979, FC Bayern were burdened with a debt of 7 million Deutschmarks (€3.6m). The annual turnover was about 12 million Deutschmarks (€6.1m). Thirty years later, when Hoeness left his post as general manager to become club president, turnover exceeded €300m, and Bayern were one of the wealthiest clubs in the world.