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Battling with Cruyff in the ’74 World Cup Final. Where were you, Berti Vogts?

ONE-ON-ONE

PAL’S POSER

?

How come Germany has always had great goalkeepers? Sepp Maier, goalkeeping legend and former Bayern team-mate

That’s true. It all started with Toni Turek in the 1954 World Cup. For me, the keeper is the most important person on the field. I think Germany was the first football nation to introduce training methods for goalkeepers, in the 1970s.

We can watch the Bundesliga in England now, and I’m always impressed by the atmosphere and huge crowds at games. What is German football doing right that Europe’s other big leagues are doing wrong? Phil J, Bristol The answer is simple: look at our stadiums. After the 2006 World Cup we had many new stadiums and new kinds of supporters came to watch games – families and women. Of course there are still the ultras, but the modern football arena has become a family friendly place. Thirty or 40 years ago, our stadiums didn’t even have restrooms for women, so for a girl, going to a stadium was a bit much. Today almost half of the audience is female. People bring their kids and they spend a lot more hours in the stadium on a matchday. When I’m going to a game, I arrive one hour early and try to get something to eat, meet friends, have a drink, stay for the evening.

You joined Hamburg in 1980. How did it feel to play against Bayern? And how did your old club’s supporters react? Gary Buckley, Bolton I left Bayern Munich in 1977 to join the New York Cosmos. So when I came back to the Bundesliga – this was something I had never planned to do when I left for the US – three years had gone by and minds had cooled off a bit. Actually I was given a warm welcome in Munich. I never had any trouble with fans.

You once said, “German football is not about magic and beauty, it’s about hard work – this is how we win games.” Looking back at the 4-1 demolition of Argentina in the World

Cup and with stars like Schweinsteiger and Özil in the national team, is this still true? Jeff Lerner, via email It’s not true. The last World Cup in South Africa changed a lot. A new generation has taken over and they have a great role model to look up to: Barcelona. They define the technical and tactical aspects of football like no other team. Bayern is another team that tries to dominate the match with their short passing game, and I also think getting to the Champions League final just before the World Cup last year benefited Lahm, Schweinsteiger and Muller a lot.

Who is your favourite German player at the moment? Flo Freyer, Hamburg I don’t have one favourite. I like to watch Manuel Neuer, who will play for Bayern Munich this season. Manuel is a world-class goalkeeper. Then there is Philipp Lahm, a man you can always count on and one that can play in every position. Mario Gomez is another in great form. There are a lot of good players I could name, so yes, Germany does play a different type of football than we used to. You could see this coming: our youth teams have played well for some time at the European Championships.

Above Barcelona: a role model for every team, says Franz Below Alongside Muller in Bayern red, rather than the blue of city rivals 1860

Why did you never play for an English or a Spanish team? We’d have loved to have seen you over here. Jason Ball, Reading The closest I came to such a move was when I was offered to play for Barcelona. The club’s coach Hennes Weisweiler called me to ask me over. But he got fired a few months later [in 1976], so I lost interest.

1974, 1990, 2006 – which World Cup was most important for you? Jon Hicks, Kent They are three unforgettable moments: 1974

as captain, 1990 as coach, 2006 as head of the World Cup organising committee. 2006 was maybe the most important as it changed the way people outside Germany saw us. Even when we lost against Italy in the semis we showed our best side. But then again, Italy 1990

was fantastic too –

to become world champions in such a football crazy country. And in

FourFourTwo.com October 2011 13