A brief history...
The name Franz recurs time and again at critical moments in the history of Bayern Munich. The first was a certain Franz John, who joined with a number of like-minded souls on the evening of 27 February 1900 and resolved to break away from MTV 1879 Munich. The aim was to devote themselves entirely to football, and a total of 18 names appear under the FC Bayern Munich founding charter. The club numbered 700 members by 1920, by which time it had become the biggest football club in Munich. Bayern were well on the way to national prominence too, only for their rapid ascent to be abruptly checked by the Second World War.
The nation and the Munich club took a period of time to recover their passion for the sport in the post-war era. A goal from Jobst earned a first German Cup triumph in a 1-0 victory over Fortuna Dusseldorf in 1957, but this was not a trophy-laden era at the club and Bayern were not founder members of the new Bundesliga in 1963. The Reds lost out in the play-offs for elevation to the national top flight in 1964, but finally claimed a place among the elite the following season, led by coaching legend Tschik Cajkovski. The newly promoted team included fresh-faced hopefuls such as Sepp Maier, Gerd Müller and a promising youngster by the name of Franz Beckenbauer.
This trio, nowadays all employed by the club in a variety of functions, were to make a major contribution to Munich's stellar progress to the upper echelons of the game. The club's first season in the Bundesliga ushered in a glorious era which continues to this day. Bayern finished third in their first top flight campaign and claimed the German Cup. The international breakthrough came in 1967 when a single goal from Franz "Bulle" Roth was enough to seal the European Cup Winners Cup at the expense of Glasgow giants Rangers.
That triumph clearly whetted the appetite for more in Munich, as Bayern went on to win practically every trophy the club was eligible to pursue. During a golden age from 1968 to 1976, Maier, Müller, Beckenbauer et al won the Bundesliga title four times, the German Cup twice, the European Champions Cup three times (1974 to 1976) and the Intercontinental Cup in the last of those years. However, the conveyor belt which had brought the most prestigious international honours came to a halt until the dawn of the new century.
A period of transition and a lean spell on the trophy front now followed. Beckenbauer departed for the New York Cosmos in 1977, followed just a year later by Fort Lauderdale Strikers-bound Müller. In 1979, the then 27-year-old Uli Hoeness took over as general manager.
A team built around Paul Breitner and young hopeful Karl-Heinz Rummenigge steered the club back to the path of success and, in 1980, Bayern won their first championship in six years to usher in another glorious era. The Reds came agonisingly close to reclaiming the European Champions Cup in 1982 against Aston Villa in Rotterdam, but Peter Withe's tap-in handed the trophy to the Birmingham outfit. Five years later, Bayern again finished runners-up, falling 2-1 to Porto in Vienna.
Then as now, hardly a year passed without Munich laying hands on at least one domestic trophy, but the club was forced to wait until 1996 before celebrating another international triumph with a 2-0 home win and a 3-1 away success against Girondins Bordeaux in the Uefa Cup final. Three years later, the Munich Reds suffered a devastating 2-1 Champions League final defeat against another set of Reds, as Manchester United pulled off an unforgettable late show with the trophy seemingly already in Bavarian hands.
However, the dawn of the new millennium saw then boss Ottmar Hitzfeld's men finally claim the ultimate European prize in 2001. Oliver Kahn saved an impressive three spot-kicks as Bayern defeated Valencia on penalties in Milan to register their first-ever Champions League triumph, after the sides finished normal and extra-time deadlocked at 1-1. Later the same year, Sammy Kuffour scored the only goal as the Bavarians took the Toyota Cup 1-0 against Boca Juniors of Buenos Aires.
With the passing of the years, Bayern have earned and cemented a position as Germany's undisputed number one club, largely thanks to the outstanding players who later graduated to pivotal management functions in Munich. Bayern unquestionably merit a mention in any list of the world's leading clubs, a situation unlikely to change while the hugely influential figures of Franz Beckenbauer (Supervisory Board Chairman), Uli Hoeness (General Manager) and Karl-Heinz Rummenigge (Chairman) remain at the helm.