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Drought after Maier and Kahn



Sepp Maier played for Bayern Munich from 1959 to 1980.

Manuel Neuer broke his lower leg on a ski tour and will be out for the rest of the season. Irrespective of this, his successful career is slowly coming to an end at almost 37 years of age. How did the previous big keepers of FC Bayern Munich say goodbye? And what happened afterwards?

Sep Maier

Sepp Maier was promoted to the Bundesliga with FC Bayern Munich in 1965 and retained his position as regular keeper there for 14 years. During this time he missed just three Bundesliga games, meanwhile he was in goal for FC Bayern 442 times in a row. Probably a record for eternity. Maier won four championship titles, three national championship cups and heaps of hearts: the “cat from Anzing” not only chased balls on the pitch, but also ducks, for example.

At the age of 35, however, Maier had to abruptly stop all hunts because of a serious traffic accident. When he aquaplaned, his car crashed into an oncoming vehicle and sustained serious internal injuries, only emergency surgery saved him. Although Maier started training again, he had to end his career without making any further appearances.

Maier’s successor was already in the squad at the time: Walter Junghans, whom FC Bayern had signed from SC Victoria Hamburg two years earlier. “Below me, Junghans becomes Althans,” mocked Maier when the then 18-year-old arrived. Junghans unexpectedly advanced to become the regular Hans at the age of 20, but from then on he was never undisputed in this role. Manfred Müller, eleven years his senior, repeatedly pushed him out of the gate, for example when he lost the 1982 national championship cup final against Aston Villa.

Jean Marie Pfaff

FC Bayern did not find a world-class successor to Maier until three years after his career ended in Jean-Marie Pfaff. After the 1982 World Cup, the then 28-year-old Belgian moved to Munich for the equivalent of 400,000 euros.

Similar to Maier, Pfaff not only impressed as a goalkeeper, but also as an entertainer. In his very first game for FC Bayern, however, he unintentionally caused laughter: Pfaff deflected a throw-in from Werder Bremen’s Uwe Reinders into his own goal, his team lost 0-1.

Pfaff then stabilized and lived up to his reputation as one of the best keepers in the world. He won several German championship titles and DFB cups, but he was denied the greatest triumph. Even the in-form Pfaff was powerless when Rabah Madjer scored the legendary back-heel goal in the 1987 national championship cup final against FC Porto, and as a consolation he was voted world goalkeeper. A year later, Pfaff returned to Belgium.

Raimond Aumann

However, Pfaff was not always undisputed either and that was due to the up-and-coming goalkeeper Raimond Aumann. Having joined FC Bayern from FC Augsburg as a teenager, he put the Belgian veteran under a lot of pressure. In the course of the fierce competition, Pfaff is said to have even slapped his young rival.

In the meantime, Aumann even pushed Pfaff out of the goal, but he only became a long-term regular keeper after his departure in 1988. Aumann then kept Bayern’s goal for six years and won – as it should – a lot of titles. During his time, however, Munich had their worst season since they were promoted to the Bundesliga.

In 1991/92 the team made a fool of themselves in the UEFA Cup and DFB Cup and only finished tenth in the championship. Aumann himself missed large parts of the season due to injury. Because substitute Sven Scheuer was also absent and Gerald Hillringhaus made a mistake, the Munich team briefly reactivated the 37-year-old ex-national goalkeeper Toni Schumacher.

Aumann then played in goal for two more seasons – now even as captain – before FC Bayern sold him to Besiktas Istanbul at the age of 30 and hired Oliver Kahn as his successor.

Oliver Kahn

FC Bayern paid the equivalent of 2.3 million euros to Karlsruher SC for the then 25-year-old Kahn, probably one of the best investments in the club’s history. Kahn was in goal for FC Bayern for a total of 14 years. The quick return of his predecessor Aumann did not change that. As a fan supervisor, he did not compete with “Titan” – just as little as Sepp Maier, who now worked as a goalkeeping coach.

Kahn won a total of eight championship titles with FC Bayern and crowned his career in 2001 with the Champions League victory. In the final against FC Valencia, he became a hero with three saves on penalties. But his freaks are at least as legendary as his sporting triumphs: Kahn bit Heiko Herrlich, pushed Andreas Herzog and jumped at Stéphane Chapuisat with a kung fu kick.

After Kahn’s career ended in 2008, FC Bayern looked for a suitable successor for three years, just as they did after Maier’s departure. Michael Rensing, highly acclaimed as Kahn’s heir, veteran Hans-Jörg Butt and homegrown Thomas Kraft all failed to prove themselves in the long term.

Manuel Neuer

FC Bayern’s goal only came to a halt in 2011 with the signing of Manuel Neuer from FC Schalke 04. The transfer, which cost 30 million euros, was accompanied by major protests by active Munich fans, including thousands of “Koan Neuer” notes in the south stand. Background: Neuer was a member of the Ultras Gelsenkirchen for many years.

Despite the hostilities, Neuer immediately established himself as Bayern Munich’s regular keeper, and he’s now even the captain. He won the treble twice and was voted world goalkeeper several times. Injuries have slowed him down again and again, especially in recent years. In total, Neuer has already missed 91 games at Bayern. There will be a few more in the second half of the season.

The 36-year-old Neuer broke his lower leg on a ski tour, which sparked a lot of speculation about the future occupation of FC Bayern’s goal: Is long-time substitute Sven Ulreich enough? Will Alexander Nübel, who is currently on loan to AS Monaco, return? Or is there a completely new keeper like Dominik Livakovic or Keylor Navas? One of Bayern’s greatest goalkeepers has to answer this question: CEO Oliver Kahn.