Bayern Munich’s quote, “Suddenly darker, quieter, poorer,” perfectly captured the sentiment of a grieving Germany on Tuesday as the nation remembered the iconic football player Franz Beckenbauer, often known as “the Kaiser.”
Munich, the hometown of Beckenbauer, had its fair share of bitter weather before people braved it to honor him with flowers one day after word broke that Germany’s greatest football icon—a World Cup winner as a player as well as manager—had passed away.
Fans of Beckenbauer, who played for Bayern Munich for the most of his playing career and won four of his five Bundesliga championships as well as three European Cups in 1974, 1975, and 1976, made a pilgrimage to the team’s headquarters on Saebener Strasse.
Argentina had Diego Maradona, and Brazil had Pele. Outside the club’s headquarters, Henryk Mnich, 49, told AFP, “As a German, I don’t want to belittle the others, but Franz Beckenbauer is the greatest for me.”
In Munich, a candle was lighted and flowers were laid in front of the building in memory of Beckenbauer, who died on Sunday at the age of 78.
In the 1960s and 1970s, Beckenbauer played with players like as Gerd Mueller and Sepp Maier, helping Bayern to establish themselves as one of the leading footballing nations in the world.
Later, in his role as club president from 1994 to 2009, Beckenbauer collaborated with Uli Hoeness and Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, two former Bayern colleagues, to lead the team to even greater accomplishments.
On the Sport1 website, Maier said, “I will never forget you, as a teammate, as a sportsman, but above all as a man.”
A minute of quiet
Over the next several days, Bayern’s home stadium, the Allianz Arena, will be graced by a commemorative video that reads “Danke Franz” (which translates to “Thank you, Franz”).
The celebrations will continue on Friday night during Bayern’s next league home game against Hoffenheim.
As the clubs return from their winter break, the remainder of the Bundesliga will honor Beckenbauer with a minute of silence before kickoff before this weekend’s games.
Beckenbauer’s family has not yet disclosed the exact date of his funeral, however they have said that he “passed away peacefully” in the company of his loved ones.
In observance of their former captain’s demise, Bayern changed the color of their website to black and white.
“The world of FC Bayern is no longer what it used to be—it’s suddenly darker, quieter, and poorer,” the team lamented in an online obituary.
The player known as “Der Kaiser” was essential to FC Bayern becoming the team it is today.
Another fan who came to the club’s headquarters to say goodbye, 45-year-old Bogdan Piecuch, said the club will be “a bit different” without Beckenbauer.
As a player in 1974 and manager in 1990, Beckenbauer made a lasting impression on the German national team.
“In 1990 as the coach, where he walked around the stadium on his own, those seconds, minutes… that’s my childhood memory of Beckenbauer,” said Piecuch.
The German newspaper Bild devoted its front page to the passing of “our Kaiser” as a mark of respect for the football player’s passing.
There have previously been ideas for honoring the football wizard, whose deft touch with the ball in defense helped shape the current game.
Berti Vogts, his successor as Germany manager and former colleague on the national team, informed the Rheinische Post daily that he had one suggestion for the German Football Association: renaming the domestic cup after Beckenbauer.
“It is important that his name is not forgotten.”