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Munich’s goalkeeping legend: Bayern legend Maier turns 80 – “Sepp” hopes for 100

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Munich’s goalkeeping legend: Bayern legend Maier turns 80 – “Sepp” hopes for 100

As of: February 28, 2024 8:00 a.m

Sepp Maier is celebrating his 80th birthday. The FC Bayern goalkeeping legend is one of the most successful German footballers. The man celebrating his birthday reveals his greatest wish in an exclusive interview with BR.

Josef “Sepp” Maier is the most successful German goalkeeper of all time. European and world champion, European Cup and World Cup winner, four-time German champion and cup winner: the Bavarian has achieved everything as a goalkeeper.

Maier: “I think about life and not about death”

Now Maier is celebrating his 80th birthday – far from his Bavarian homeland. The native of Lower Bavaria is spending his special day in Mauritius with his wife Monika. “I’m not a big fan of partying, that’s why I’m leaving,” reveals the Bayern legend in an interview with BR24Sport presenter Marianne Kreuzer. Included in the Mauritius trip is the “Sepp Maier Golf Trophy”, an annual golf trip with him as the driving force.

The 80 years make him a little thoughtful: “The meter stick is getting shorter and shorter – but I still want to live to 100. I don’t think about death – life is so beautiful: I think about life and not about death. “

Legendary Bayern axis Maier-Beckenbauer-Müller

Maier is one of the icons of FC Bayern. From the 1963/64 season he was the starting goalkeeper for Munich. He played 473 Bundesliga games for Munich, 442 of which were without interruption – Maier did not miss a single game in 13 seasons. He impressed with his control of the penalty area, his reflexes and his positional play. Because of his smooth movements, the former gymnast quickly lost his nickname: “Cat of Anzing”.

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Together with Franz Beckenbauer and Gerd Müller, he formed the famous Bayern axis: the three shaped FC Bayern’s successful years in the 1960s and 70s and played a key role in the rise of the eventual record champions. Together they became world champions in the Munich Olympic Stadium in 1974: it was “the most beautiful moment” of Maier’s career. “Only a few become world champions. How many million footballers are there in the world? And maybe 100 manage to become world champions.”

With Franz Beckenbauer as team boss and him as goalkeeping coach, Germany won the World Cup title in 1990 – Maier was able to hold the trophy in his hands once again. The death of the “Emperor” at the beginning of January affected him deeply. “I knew Franz for 65 years. Franz was 14, I was 15, we met when we were young,” says Maier in an interview with the German Press Agency. “Of course you grow together there. It bonds you together. Franz and I have always gotten along really well.”

After Beckenbauer’s death, Maier campaigned for a monument – it should stand next to Gerd Müller’s in front of the Allianz Arena. And if he should no longer be there, he would like to have a statue of him next to him: “The Axis must stay together!”

“Uli saved my life”

The exceptional goalkeeper’s career ended in 1979: Maier suffered serious external and internal injuries in a car accident. He probably owed his life to Uli Hoeneß. The then Bayern manager ensured that Maier was taken to another clinic, where it was eventually determined that Maier’s life was in danger. “Uli saved my life.” But after the accident it was no longer possible to return to the goal.

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Maier still looks back on his career with satisfaction: Despite the big names Beckenbauer and Müller, Maier managed to become Footballer of the Year three times as a goalkeeper: “That’s one of my greatest successes during this time with the big names in football – that’s where I am still proud today,” says Maier.

This is the European perspective at BR24.

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Which: BR24
February 28, 2024 – 6:30 p.m

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