In the late 1960s and early 1970s, West German football was one of the strongest in the world. In that era, they won the 1974 world champion who was held in German. Besides, Bayern Munich also won the champions league trophy in three consecutive seasons from 1974 to 1976.
Several players appeared for FC Bayern and the German national team, the two most famous names were Franz Beckenbauer and Gerd Müller. However, never forget about Sepp Maier, the owner of the large gloves and distinctive shorts.
Goalkeeper whose full name is Josef-Dieter Maier is one of the greatest goalkeepers Germany has ever had. He is not only one of the outstanding goalkeepers in his generation, but also a very important player for the club and the national team that competed in the 70s.
Sepp Maier was often praised for his pioneering attitude and agile actions under the rule. Thanks to his agility which made him nicknamed the cat from Danzig.
Sepp Maier was born in the small town of Metten, Germany, on February 28, 1944. Since childhood, he has fallen in love with football. At only eight years old, he joined the local TSV Haar sports club, where his ability started to develop as a goalkeeper.
Maier then began his career with FC Bayern in early 1958. He began to hone himself until finally breaking into the main squad of FC Bayern at the beginning of the 1962/63 season.
Maier only made four appearances in his inaugural season, but FC Bayern continued to provide opportunities until he finally became the top choice in the 1965/66 season.
Maier continued to show brilliant performances with FC Bayern. He presented some actions counteracted the chances of the opponent brilliantly, even on some impossible opportunities.
DFB Pokal 1966 became the inaugural title he won, making him join the West Germany squad at the 1966 World Cup. Unfortunately, Maier did not appear in the competition won by England.
The DFB Pokal Trophy seemed to be the beginning of other trophies that were obtained in the future. Because after that, Maier lifted 4 Bundesliga trophies, 4 DFB Pokal titles, three champions league titles, a winners’ trophy, and one intercontinental cup.
Together with the West German national team, Maier appeared in 95 matches between 1966 and 1979. In that period, Maier took Panzer to take the 1972 European Cup and 1974 World Cup. He became the main goalkeeper in the two tournaments.
In 1979, a car accident caused him injury and that was also the reason he had to end his career as a football player. During his time as a player, Maier had contributed a special record in the Bundesliga. From the period 1966 to 1979, the Cat never missed guarding the Bayern Munich goal.
In total, he played 536 matches without ever being absent in the Bundesliga which then made him win the title of German’s best player three times – a title usually won by midfielders or strikers.
For this amazing achievement, no wonder, Maier was also juxtaposed with world-class goalkeepers at the time, such as Dino Zoff and Gordon Banks. After hanging up his boots, Maier was the goalkeeping coach of the German national team from 1988 to 2004 and he had also coached several goalkeepers.
Sepp Maier’s retirement in the late 70s, making Germany must find a replacement, did not take long for the West German football federation to find successor Maier.
The figure of Maier’s successor is found in Harald Schumacher. Schumacher was the main goalkeeper of the German national team in the 1980s. He is known as a tough goalkeeper, having brought his country to the European Cup in 1980.
Even so, he was hated by the French public for his rude appearance in the match between West Germany against France in the 1982 World Cup. In that match, he crashed Patrick Battiston into a coma and removed the French national team from the tournament through the shootout round.
Throughout his career, Schumacher won two Bundesliga titles with FC Koln and Borussia Dortmund. He also collected 76 caps with the national team.
After the golden era of Schumacher, Germany again presented a world-class goalkeeper, Bodo Ilgner. Illgner holds the record for being the first goalkeeper to not concede a match in the World Cup final. This achievement he printed in the 1990 World Cup final, where he brought his country to the championship after beating Argentina.
Throughout his career, Illgner was known as a very powerful goalkeeper in a one-on-one duel. Collecting 54 caps with the national team also underwent a successful career with Real Madrid by winning two La Liga trophies and two Champions League titles.
Andreas Kopke became the next German mainstay goalkeeper, he was a nightmare for England national team. Kopke appeared very tough at the 1996 European Cup, where he eliminated the England national team by thwarting Gareth Southgate’s kick in the penalty shootout. He finally succeeded in helping Germany win the tournament.
Great German goalkeeper throne then held by Oliver Kahn, in addition to the national team, Kahn was also educated by Sepp Maier while at FC Bayern. Please note that in addition to being the national team goalkeeping coach, Maier also trained FC Bayern goalkeepers from 1994 to 2008.
Kahn is considered a goalkeeper in the 90s who has the best leadership skills. He also made many achievements, both with Bayern Munich and the German national team. With the national team, Kahn performed brilliantly at the 2002 world cup, despite only winning a silver medal, but he was named the tournament’s best player. And became the only goalkeeper in history to win the Golden Ball in the World Cup tournament.
Germany’s next mainstay goalkeeper is Jens Lehmann, the long-running goalkeeper with Arsenal who was Germany’s core player at the 2006 World Cup, where the Panzer team finished third. Lehmann itself has a collection of 61 caps.
Manuel Neuer continues the tradition of being the next tough goalkeeper, starting his professional career at Schalke 04, Neuer then joined Bayern Munich and has always been the first choice since 2011. He defended the German national team in the 2010 world cup. His achievements at that time were becoming third. Four years later Neuer triumphed in delivering panzers for the World Cup trophy in Brazil.