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'Katsche' Schwarzenbeck: World champion, European cup winner and stationer

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He joined FC Bayern in his youth, but nobody expected him to become a world-class player at the time. Hans-Georg 'Katsche' Schwarzenbeck joined the German record champions from Sportfreunde München at the tender age of 13, playing for the first team from 1967. He spent his entire pro career at FC Bayern. The modest legend turned 72 on Friday, April 3rd.

Schwarzenbeck's career is impressive: in his 14 years at FC Bayern the Munich-born defender won an incredible 13 titles, "and every single one of them was beautiful," says 'Katsche'. The trained book printer won five German championship titles, three DFB Cups and three European Champions' Cup (Champions League) titles.

'Katsche' posing with silverware

Finest hour in 1974

But the greatest highlight came in 1974, when he levelled the scores in the European Cup final against Atlético Madrid, earning Bayern a replay. Two days later the Bavarians won 4-0 and hoisted Europe's top club trophy for the first time. Schwarzenbeck & Co. would dominate European club football for the next two years, defending the title in 1975 and 1976.

'Katsche' does not know how his nickname came about. Maybe it was his tough tackling as a young boy.

Praise from Beckenbauer

But that was not all: Schwarzenbeck won the World Cup with Germany in the summer of 1974. Like at club level, defenders Schwarzenbeck, Franz Beckenbauer and Paul Breitner shone with fine interplay. Schwarzenbeck's task was always to win the ball and neutralise forwards as a man marker. He sat deep to provide cover for Beckenbauer, earning him the name "the Kaiser's Bodyguard". "I had the privilege to have a world-class player like him by my side," Beckenbauer said about his partner: "Everything fitted perfectly."

Modest despite everything

Despite his class and all his successes, Schwarzenbeck has always stayed modest, pleased not to be in focus. "I always knew my standing in the team," said Schwarzenbeck. But he even wore the captain's armband from 1979 to 1980. In 1981 he was forced to hang up his boots due to an Achilles tendon rupture. Schwarzenbeck went on to run a stationers instead of pursuing a career in football. But he has always had close ties to the club, featuring as a tour guide at the FC Bayern museum from time to time. It is a matter of the heart for 'Katsche', a true Bayern legend.

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