How two Croatian coaches made Bayern a football power

UM-Muenchenn

Bayern Munich is currently the leading and only unbeating side in the Bundesliga which won all of its games in this season and that included two 5-1 victories against Wolfsburg and Borussia Dortmund in the Allianz Arena.Besides holding the record of 25 Bundesliga titles and 17 German Cups,Bayern is the most supported team in Munich since its city rival TSV 1860 Munich fell to the 2.Bundesliga a decade ago and it has never truly recovered from it.With all club legends like Beckenbauer,Rummenigge,Hoeness,Breitner and the legendary Gerd Muller Bayern became the representative of German club football abroad.However that was never the case,Bayern didn’t became a football power over the night.Bayern was founded in 1900 and won some local championships in Bavaria and South Germany,but its truly first national championship will come in 1932 when under coach Richard “Little Dombi” Kohn and chairman Kurt Landauer won the championship match against Eintracht Frankfurt 2-0.However all across Germany the dark clouds of Nazism gathered and eventually both Kohn and Landauer left Germany.The same thing Bayern’s star Oskar Rohr who left the country for France and Switzerland.Also during the period of Nazi Germany Bayern was proclaimed as a “Jew’s club”,while the officials of their city rivals 1860 Munich supported the Nazi regime.Bayern would live the next 30 years in the shadow of 1860 Munich.After WWII Kurt Landauer returned briefly as chairman of Bayern,however in the 1950s the club suffered a crisis on and off the field.Bankrupcy threatened Bayern at the end of the decade,13 coaches were hired and fired during that period and the only bright result was the winning of the German Cup in 1957.However Bayern missed the spot in the Bundesliga when it finished third in the Oberliga South division,while 1860 Munich became one of its founding members.That will change with the hiring of the Croatian coach Zlatko Cajkovski.Cajkovski was a former right back of HASK (Croatian Academic Sports Club),Partizan Belgrade and 1.FC Cologne.His coaching mentor was Hennes Weisweiller which is one of the most sucessful German coaches of all time.In his first season with Cologne Cajkovski led them to the title,while in the next in 1962-63 he lost the final against Borussia Dortmund.Cajkovski accepted the job at Bayern which in the time missed the spot in the Bundesliga and was forced to play in the Regionaliga South.Also in that time future legends Beckenbauer,Muller and goalkeeper Sepp Maier were in the youth ranks of Bayern,but under Cajkovski’s command all three of them were promoted in the first team.Under Cajkovski Bayern began to reach the heighs of German football when it won two German Cups and the European Cup Winners Cup in 1967 against Glasgow Rangers which was Bayern’s first European trophy.Also Cajkovski signed Ante Vuckov which became the first player from Croatia to play for Bayern,however his career in the club was short lived due to a hard leg injury.Cajkovski became a cult figure in Bayern and was beloved by his players.In 1968 Cajkovski left Bayern for Hannover,however another Croatian coach came and his name was Branko Zebec which also played with Cajkovski in Partizan Belgrade and in the Yugoslav national team.Unlike Cajkovski which had a cult status among his players Zebec was never beloved by them and players described him as a tyrannt.Nevertheless Zebec introduced to the team modern football tactics with insisting on ball possesion and stronger defence in which Beckenbauer played as a sweeper.That resulted in Bayern’s first Bundesliga title in 1969 which meant a national title in 37 years and the German Cup,with that Bayern became first club in the German Bundesliga to with the double.However the next season started with a disaster after an early exit in the first round of the European Champions Cup against Saint-Etienne and in the Bundesliga it had a winless run in the first three matches of the 1969-1970 season,Zebec left the club to coach Stuttgart,but it wasn’t until 1979 with Hamburger SV that Zebec will guide a team to a Bundesliga title.Unfortunately years of alcoholism damaged his health badly,in 1988 in age of 59 Branko Zebec passed away due to an alcohol-related illness.Meanwhile after the departure of both Cajkovski and Zebec Bayern grew both on and off the field:in 1972 they moved to the Olympiastadium which will be their home until 2006 when they together with its city rival 1860 Munich moved to the Allianz Arena,they won three European Champions Cup titles in 1972,1975 and 1976 and financially they became so strong that they began to buy players from their rivals,a practice which continues to this day.Today Bayern is one of the biggest club in Europe and by far the biggest club in Germany and it has huge corporate partnerships which include Lufthansa,Audi,Adidas,Samsung and others.That would never be possible with Beckenbauer,Maier,Muller and Zlatko Cajkovski.

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