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The 10 most pivotal moments in the proud history of Bayern Munich


A list of arguably the 10 most pivotal moments in the illustrious history of Bayern Munich.

1. June 12, 1932. German champions -- Bayern wins its first German championship, thanks to 2-0 win over Eintracht Frankfurt in Nürnberg. Striker Oskar Rohr, scorer of the opening goal, had been brought in from VFR Mannheim by manager Richard "Dombi" Kohn. Kohn, a former Austrian international, was one of the era's great pioneers. After spells in his home country and in Yugoslavia, Kohn coached at FC Barcelona in 1926 to 1927. (Official club records list him as "Jack Domby"). Kohn's reign in Munich was short-lived, however: along with club president Kurt Landauer, a fellow Jew, Kohn fled to Switzerland when the Nazis came to power in 1933.

2. Summer 1943. A "friendly" in Switzerland -- The Nazi regime hated Bayern as the "Jewish Club" and the consequences were drastic: Bayern players would more often than not find themselves sent to fight on the Eastern front while local rivals TSV 1860 enjoyed special treatment. In 1943, two Gestapo (secret police) officers accompanied the Bayern players to a friendly game against the Swiss national team in Zürich. The team was prevented from making direct contact but managed to wave to their exiled president Landauer, who was watching the game in the stand. Further punishment followed. Landauer returned in 1947 to oversee the rebuilding of the club.

3. 1958. The hand of fate slaps Franz Beckenbauer (and TSV 1860 Munich) around -- A 13-year-old, prodigiously gifted Beckenbauer was all set to join 1860, the most popular club in Munich at the time. But when the attacking midfielder for Giesing's SC 1906 came up against the "Blues" in a youth match, history took a different course. Beckenbauer got into an argument with 1860's Gerhard Konig and was hit in the face for his troubles. Germany's best ever player decided to sign for Bayern instead.

4. April 26, 1965. Munich gets the Olympics; Bayern a new stadium -- Just more than seven years after the Bavarian capital had won the right to stage the games, Bayern moved into the state-of-the-art Olympiastadion as tenants. The inaugural match, in June 1972, turned out a title-clincher: Bayern beat Schalke 04, 5-1, to win its third championship. The vast concrete bowl with its running track around the pitch and roofless back straight was never loved but its 77,000 capacity played a hugely important role in making Bayern the wealthiest (and later on) best-supported club in Germany.

5. May 15, 1974. Schwarzenbeck's desperation creates a dynasty -- A wonderful free-kick from Atletico Madrid's Luis Aragones in extra-time had Bayern Munich trailing 1-0 in its first European Cup final in Brussels. In the Spaniards' goal, Miguel Reina (father of Liverpool's Pepe) was (allegedly) getting ready to give his shirt to a Spanish photographer. Gerd Müller takes up the story. "Nothing was going for us and the clock was winding down. (Centre-back) Katsche Schwarzenbeck, who very rarely ventured forward, took the ball across the half line. I was waving for a cross and remember getting upset when he shot from 25 meters instead." Somehow, Reina was beaten by the low drive. The incongruous strike forced a replay that Bayern won comfortably, 4-1. Two more European Cups would follow in as many years.

6. March 1979. The coup. -- When president Wilhelm Neudecker announced the arrival of feared disciplinarian Max Merkel as the new manager, the team led by Paul Breitner, Sepp Maier and Uli Hoeness threatened to strike. Neudecker resigned in protest, coach Pal Csernai was allowed to stay on and Hoeness started working as general manager, aged 27. Bayern had effectively been taken over by its own players. Hoeness, a marketing genius and visionary, would stay in power for another 30 years, overseeing Bayern's extraordinary success story.

7. Summer 1984. Inter's millions keep Bayern afloat -- Karl-Heinz Rummenigge was sold to Inter for 10,4 million DM (now $7M), a fee that made the West Germany striker the second-most-expensive player of his time. (Diego Maradona had moved for 24 million DM, now $16M, to Napoli before) Rummenigge was hampered by injuries at the San Siro but Bayern was eternally grateful: all its debts were cleared, just in time for the beginning of the private TV boom in the Bundesliga.

8. 1991-92. The season from heck. But all ends well. -- A hastily rebuilt team -- World Cup winners Klaus Augenthaler, Jurgen Kohler and Stefan Reuter had all departed before the season -- slumped to a 10th-place finish while Hoeness fired coach Jupp Heynckes and his hapless successor Soren Lerby. The general manager looked like a spent force. Rummenigge toyed with the idea of running for president, a move that would have split the club in two. The mythical figure of Beckenbauer was brought in as compromise candidate, Rummenigge became VP. The arrival of two more former star players to lessen Hoeness' load turned out a real blessing hindsight. Ten championships in 18 seasons would follow.

9. May 26, 1999. That night in Barcelona. -- Bayern's last-minute collapse against Manchester United, its third defeat in as many European Cup finals, had the potential to tear both club and team apart. Instead, Stefan Effenberg, Oliver Kahn, et al. vowed to try even harder. Two years later, the long wait since 1975 was finally over: Bayern beat Valencia on penalties to become champions of Europe once more.

10. Summer 2007. Dawn of the Super Heroes. -- The embarrassing failure to qualify for the Champions League resulted in a break with tradition: the relatively frugal Bayern went all out to bring some stardust into the Allianz Arena. World Cup winner Luca Toni (€12 million/$16M) and mercurial Frenchman Franck Ribery (€25 million/$33M) quickly set the league alight. Two years later, Bayern spent another €60 million ($81M) on Arjen Robben and Mario Gomez. "Our economic strength will enable us to sign one big player every season," explained president Hoeness.