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Sepp Maier

28. Februar 1944, Metten

1962-1979 FC Bayern München

473 appearances (Bundesliga)

Deutscher Meister: 1969, 1972, 1973, 1974
DFB-Pokalsieger: 1996, 1967, 1969, 1971
Europapokal der Landesmeister: 1974, 1975, 1976
Europapokal der Pokalsieger: 1967
Weltpokalsieger: 1976

National Team:
95 caps
Vize-Weltmeister: 1966
Europameister: 1972
Weltmeister: 1974
Vize-Europameister: 1976

Nicknamed 'The Cat' on account of his lithe athleticism, he covered every corner of his goal and once even went full stretch in an attempt to catch a duck that had strayed onto the pitch. What made Sepp Maier stand out was his ability to remain focused at critical stages of a game while still being able to entertain the crowd with his japes. One time when he was taking a goal-kick, he took a really fast run-up, only to stop abruptly and, with one foot on the ball, scan the pitch for his teammates. Whenever the alarm bells rang, however, he was on hand to defuse the danger.

At the 1974 World Cup on home soil, he cemented his status as the best goalkeeper in the world. The rain-soaked battle of Frankfurt in the second-round match against Poland remains etched in the memory, not just because of the conditions: "We only went through because of Sepp Maier," said Günter Netzer, recollecting his teammate's stupendous display. In the final, Holland were left exasperated by Maier's sheer invincibility. In the second half in particular, he weathered the Dutch onslaught and earned his side a 2-1 victory with a string of reflex saves.

Winning the World Cup crowned a glittering career. Maier was a member of the squad that finished World Cup runners-up in the 1966 World Cup in England, then as stand-in to rival shot-stopper Hans Tilkowski. Four years later, he was the first-choice keeper as the national team secured third place at the Mexico World Cup, following up with the European Championship title in Belgium in 1972. With 95 caps, he tops the list of most international appearances by a German goalkeeper. His tally of 442 Bundesliga outings in a row is another record. After performing consistently at the highest level for a decade and a half, his career was brought to an abrupt end by a serious car accident in 1979. He stayed loyal to the game, however, and as the first ever national goalkeeper coach he played a decisive role in Germany's success at the 1990 World Cup in Italy.

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