Bayern Munich, A Brief History…

The club badge of Stern des Südens through the decades.

Bayern Munich are one of those clubs that need no introduction, they are after all one of the world’s biggest clubs, recipients of many trophies and titles.  The club was formed in 1900 by a group of footballers who wanted to go their own way, away from Münchner TurnVerein 1879, a Munich sports club dominated by gymnastics.   Many German clubs were founded in similar circumstances, breaking away from Sports Clubs that were dominated by other sports.  The enthusiasm for football in West and East Germany was a slow burner to be honest.  Germany’s first ever football team was a club by the name of Dresden English Football Club which was founded in 1874.  The club was founded by a group of English players who were working in various professions within the city of Dresden; the club only lasted for twenty four years, eventually dissolving in 1898.   Bayern’s neighbours TSV Munich 1860, as the name suggests, was a Sports Club founded in 1860 however they didn’t begin to play football until 1899.  The history books tell us a gentleman by the name of Franz John is primarily noted as the person who founded Bayern Munich Football Club.  John was born in Pritzwalk in North East Germany in 1872.  As a youngster he moved to Pankow with his parents, Pankow a town on the outskirts of Berlin.  Soon after he joined the VFB Pankow Sports Club, a club that was then better known for tennis and cricket than it was for football.  It was whilst John was at Pankow that he met Gustav Manning who would go on to be the General Secretary of the Deutscher Fußball-Bund, the German Football Association.

Bayern’s founder, Franz John.

Later on, Manning would help John in bringing in the Munich clubs into the DFB.  It was at this time that Franz John was earning a living in Photography, once he finished his apprenticeship he moved south to Munich,  joining the sports club MTV 1879 Munich.  During the late February of 1900 the governing body of MTV 1879 Munich banned its football team from joining the SFV which was the association of Southern German football clubs.  Obviously there was a backlash to this unpopular decision.  It resulted in the football contingent of the sports club holding a meeting at the nearby Gisela restaurant in Munich.  The outcome of that meeting was that the Munich Football Club Bayern was formed and Franz John was elected its President.  With Franz John at the helm, the fledgling club eventually joined the recently formed SFV.  FC Bayern soon became one of the big names on the Southern German football scene.  Three years later Franz John left FC Bayern, returning to Pankow to open a photography laboratory and studio.  He also became President of VFB Pankow.  Years later during the 1920’s John was made honorary President of Bayern Munich, in 1936 Bayern awarded him The Golden Needle of Honour.  In 1952 Franz John passed away, forty eight years after Franz Johns passing FC Bayern celebrated their centenary, to honour Franz John FC Bayern reconsecrated his grave and added a brand new tombstone.

Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, one of Bayern’s greatest ever players.

The first kit that the Bayern wore on the pitch took its colour scheme from the flag of Bavaria, which was and still is predominantly blue and white.  Bayern’s first shirt was a white one which was worn with blue shorts.  It was in 1906 that Bayern merged with neighbouring sports club Münchner Sport Club.  The decision to merge was primarily a financial one, beneficial to both clubs.  One of the conditions of the merger was that the Bayern name and the first choice white shirt would remain, however the shorts would change colour to red, this was how the clubs first ever nickname “Die Rothosen” (The Red Shorts) came about.  Of course fans of rival teams didn’t waste any time in giving Bayern stick about their new apparel, often referring to Bayern as the menstruating players.  Obviously Bayern had to do something, so they changed the white shirt to red so they would play in an all red kit, therefore becoming “Die Roten”, The Reds.   In those early days of the 20th century football in Southern Germany was dominated by teams from Franconia (a region in Northern Bavaria).  Bayern’s oldest rivalry with another club was born in the early part of the 20th century, a rivalry with FC Nürnberg.  Another team Bayern enjoyed an early rivalry with was SpVgg Greuther of Fürth (right next door to Nürnberg), a city just over a hundred miles north of Munich.   In 1913 Kurt Landauer became the Bayern President; he would hold that role for years to come.

Kurt Landauer.

1910 was a significant year in the history of Bayern Munich, that year they finished runners up in the Southern German League and the club also lifted the Ostkreis Liga title which was the highest Bavarian league at the time, it was disbanded in 1923.  Those years leading up to the Second World War were successful on a regional level for Bayern Munich. In 1920 and again in 1923 the club lifted the Kreisliga Bayern title, in 1926 and then again 1928 they won the Southern German Football League.  1926 also saw them lift the Bezirksliga Bayern title.  They also won the Bezirksliga Südbayern in 1928 and would go on to win it for the next five years on the bounce.  1932 saw Bayern Munich win its first national trophy, the German Football Championship.  On their way to the final they beat Minerva 93 Berlin, PSV Chemnitz and FC Nürnberg.  In the final they would meet Eintracht Frankfurt.  At the time Bayern were managed by Richard Kohn, a native of Vienna in Austria.  Kohn’s playing career began at Wiener AC.  His managerial career began after the First World War at Hertha Berlin around 1918; he would then go on to have spells managing Barcelona in Spain, HŠK Građanski Zagreb in Croatia and with Warszawianka Warszawa in Poland. He would also have a spell managing Bayern’s neighbours TSV 1860 Munich.  Kohn became the Bayern manager in 1931 and would only be at the club for a couple of years, but as I referred to earlier Kohn was the man who guided the club to their first piece of serious silverware, the 1932 German Football Championship Cup, eventually beating that Eintracht side two goals to nil. As the 1930’s began as we know Hitler took charge of Germany which meant the aforementioned club President Kurt Landauer, a Jew, resigning from his role at the club.  Landauer wasn’t on his own.  The club coach Richard Dombi, a Hungarian national also left the club, the Hitler regime wasn’t a good time for Bayern Munich.  In 1963 the Bundesliga was formed, the professional top flight of German football, the first champions being FC Köln.  Bayern’s first Bundesliga title came at the end of the 1968 – 1969 season when they finished top on forty six points, eight points ahead of Alemannia Aachen in second place. A couple of years earlier Bayern had lifted its first European trophy when they beat Glasgow Rangers of Scotland in the final of the European Cup Winners Cup.  Bayern reached the final by beating Tatran Prešov of Czechoslovakia, Shamrock Rovers of Ireland, Rapid Vienna of Austria and Standard Liège of Belgium. The final was to be played in Bavaria, at the Stadion Nürnberg.  Glasgow Rangers had reason to feel confident as they had already dismissed another German team Borussia Dortmund in the second round.  However, Bayern had three of its finest ever players on the pitch in Franz Beckenbauer, Sepp Maier and Gerd Müller.  Glasgow Rangers had become the first British club to play in a European final in 1961.  Six days prior to the 1967 final Rangers rivals Glasgow Celtic had lifted the European Cup in Lisbon and it was the first time two teams from the same city had contested the two main European finals. Understandably this achievement put additional pressure on Rangers.

Werner Olk, the first Bayern Munich team captain to lift a European trophy.

Rangers’ striker Alex Willoughby was left out of the team in favour of defender of Roger Hynd who had been promoted to the first team due to his goal scoring form in Rangers’ second team. Willoughby had been a prolific scorer for Rangers in the preceding months.  Rangers’ cause was not helped by their chairman John Lawrence describing Rangers’ forward line as ‘makeshift’ which included three half-backs.  Bayern’s manager for that European final was Croatian Zlatko Čajkovski.  Čajkovski had played his football for Hrvatski Akademski športski klub and FK Partizan in the old Yugoslavia.  In Germany he played for FC Köln and for Hapoel Haifa in Israel.  Rangers were managed by Scot Symon, a native of Perthshire who had won a Scottish title as a winger for Rangers. Bayern’s team was made up entirely of Germans.  The Rangers team was almost entirely Scottish; however defender Kai Johansen of Denmark was playing at right back for the Glasgow team.  It was a closely fought final, neither team giving anything away.  When the Italian referee blew for full time it was 0 – 0.  It was a Franz Roth lob over goal keeper Norrie Martin that handed the trophy to the German side.  As history tells us the 1970’s were a fantastic time for Bayern Munich.  Udo Lattek, one of the great names in the history of Bayern Munich, became team manager in the March of 1970, ushering a golden period for Bayern.  Lattek was born in Boże, a town now in Poland but when Lattek was born it was situated in the German Reich.  Lattek was recommended to Bayern Munich by Franz Beckenbauer, however Lattek’s appointment was seen as somewhat controversial as he had no prior coaching experience.  Lattek was the man who brought in Paul Breitner and Uli Hoeneß to the team.  He led Bayern to a win in the national cup competition and three consecutive Bundesliga titles, a first in German football history.  The highlight of this time was lifting the European Cup in 1974 in the final against Atlético Madrid, the first win for a German club in the tournament.  Six players from this Bayern side were also part of the West German team that won the World Cup in the same year and the European Championship in 1972.  A lean time in the domestic league for Bayern in the 1974–75 season saw Lattek sacked prematurely, Bayern replacing him with Dettmar Cramer, who was also recommended to the club by Beckenbauer.

Bayern Munich legend, Udo Lattek.

However, Bayern Munich and Udo Lattek would unite once again a few years later.  Bayern returned to the European Cup final a year later.  After being handed a bye into the second round they made short work of East German team Magdeburg in the second round, winning 5 – 3 on aggregate.  That win took them to the quarter final and a meeting with Armenian champions, Ararat Yerevan.  A 2 – 1 aggregate win over the Armenians put them in the semifinal and a meeting with French club Saint Étienne.  The German club won the semifinal 2 – 0 on aggregate, in the final they met England’s Leeds United at the Parc Des Princes in Paris.  Bayern came out on top, winning the final 2 – 0, the goals coming from Franz Roth and Gerd Müller.  It was a final that has been remembered for the violence of the Leeds United fans.  The Leeds players thought the French referee, Michel Kitabdjian, was being unfair to them with his decisions.  A Peter Lorimer goal was disallowed due to Bremner being in an offside position in front of the goal in the six-yard box.  The ref had then pointed to the centre circle, indicating a goal, this resulted in Franz Beckenbauer convincing him to speak with the linesman who had run back to the halfway line and had not raised his flag.  The referee wrongly indicated offside against Billy Bremner.  This caused riots to break out on the terraces as the Leeds United fans realised that they were being cheated. It was a controversial end to the season for Bayern and somewhat blights their excellent history.  1976 saw Bayern complete a hat trick of European Cup final victories with a win over Saint Étienne in Glasgow at Hampden Park, the only goal of that final scored by Franz Roth.

Bayern parade the trophy in Paris, after defeating Leeds United in 1975.


As the 1980’s began Hungarian Gyula Lóránt was the first team manager of Bayern.  He had first taken charge in 1978, succeeding Dettmar Cramer.  Lóránt was succeeded by fellow Hungarian Pál Csernai.  Csernai took Bayern to another European Cup final in 1982, sadly for them they were beaten by England’s Aston Villa.  Reinhard Saftig, (a native of Uersfeld in West Germany not far from the French border), replaced Csernai at the end of the 1982 – 1983 season.  Saftig had been Csernai’s assistant manager since 1979; he was only Bayern team boss for a total of forty five days.  Udo Lattek returned as Bayern manager on the 1st of July of that year, just in time for the beginning of the 1983 – 1984 season.  Lattek’s second stint as Bayern boss came about due to being head hunted his former player Uli Hoeneß who was then the commercial manager at Bayern Munich. 

The board of directors at Bayern Munich were keen to bring back the Bundesliga title to Bayern, the last time they had lifted the title was back in 1981 and in those intervening years Bayern had been quiet on the domestic front.  Yes, they had lifted a couple of DFB Pokal cups (the German FA Cup), but it was the Bundesliga title everyone at Bayern really wanted, not to mention more European glory, this was the main Lattek was brought back to the club.  The mid 1980’s was an interesting time for Bayern fans; once again their team was being led by the great Udo Lattek.  The 1984 – 1985 season began well for the Munich club, winning their first six games of the season on the bounce which included good away wins at VFB Stuttgart and Bayer Uerdingen. They had also made a good start in DFB Pokal cup thanks to a 1 – 0 away win at BV Lüttringhausen, a team now known as FC Remscheid.  In 1984 the computer company Commodore became Bayern’s shirt sponsors, a sponsorship deal that lasted five years until 1989.  It was a smart kit, the commodore logo being integrated well onto the red and white home shirt.  During the summer of 1984 Bayern said goodbye, at least for the time being to one of its favourite sons, Karl-Heinz Rummenigge.  Rummenigge joined Bayern from his home town club Borussia Lippstadt in 1974; he went onto to win an impressive clutch of silverware with the Munich side which included two European Cups, two Bundesliga titles and two German cups.  Also leaving for pastures new was midfielder Wolfgang Kraus, defender Reiner Maurer and goal keeper Manfred Müller.  In came defenders Holger Willmer from FC Köln, Lothar Matthäus from Borussia Mönchengladbach and Norbert Eder from FC Nürnberg.  Also joining the club were Ludwig Kögl, a midfielder from Bayern’s neighbours TSV Munich 1860 and the striker Roland Wohlfarth from MSV Duisburg.  The early part of the season saw Bayern begin their European Cup Winners Cup campaign, which was an easy first round tie against Norway’s Moss FK, the German club running out 6 – 2 winners on aggregate.  In the Bundesliga they would only lose 5 games in all and only once at home which was against SV Waldhof Mannheim during the October of that season.  That season Bayern walloped Fortuna Düsseldorf 6 – 0 at home.  Other good home wins included the 6 – 2 thrashing of Karlsruher SC and the easy 4 – 0 victory over Borussia Mönchengladbach.  It was inevitable that with the return of Lattek in the manager’s office that Bayern would lift yet another Bundesliga title, and they did just that.

Uli Hoeneß.

However, it wasn’t that easy for Bayern, they were chased all season by Werder Bremen, Bayern finished that season on fifty points, only four points ahead of Bremen.  Following that first round victory over BV Lüttringhausen in the DFB Pokal Cup the Munich giants then defeated TSV Friesen Hänigsen, SV Waldhof Mannheim, Bayer Leverkusen and Borussia Mönchengladbach to reach the final where they would meet Bayer Uerdingen at the Olympicstadion in Berlin.  Bayern were the hot favourites to lift the trophy but Bayer had other ideas.  The game started well, each scoring in the first ten minutes of the game.  Bayern took the lead in the eighth minute courtesy of a Dieter Hoeneß goal; however Bayer drew level a minute later thanks to a goal from Horst Feilzer.  It remained that way until late in the game.  With about 20 minutes to go up popped Wolfgang Schäfer for Bayer Uerdingen to put the ball into the Bayern net from about eight yards out.  It was Bayer’s cup.  During the April of that season in the European Cup Winners Cup, Bayern had reached the semi-final and there they would contest a two legged tie with England’s Everton.  The first leg took place in Germany, the game finishing in a scoreless draw, a fortnight later on the 24th the two teams met again at Everton’s Goodison Park.  Dieter Hoeneß once again opened the scoring for the Germans in the thirty eighth minute.  However, Everton came back into the game in the second half scoring three goals without reply, it would be Everton going to final and there they would defeat Austria’s Rapid Vienna to lift the Cup Winners Cup.  The following season Bayern were West Germany’s representative in the European Cup, after wins against Górnik Zabrze of Poland and Austria Vienna they found themselves in a quarter final tie against Belgium’s Anderlecht.  The first leg took place in early March of that season, it ended in a 2 – 1 win for Bayern.  Over in Belgium Anderlecht upset the applecart recording a 2 – 0 win, that meant it would be they who would progress in the tournament and not Bayern. Happier times were in store for Bayern in the Bundesliga and the DFB Pokal Cup.  Bayern returned to the DFB Pokal Cup final determined to avoid another defeat, this they achieved in fine style with a great 5 – 2 win over VFB Stuttgart and they retained their Bundesliga title as well, finishing top with Werder Bremen, both on forty nine points, thanks to goal difference it was Bayern who were named champions. 

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