West Germany international striker JUPP HEYNCKES (left) had scored 14 goals in 16 domestic matches for Borussia Moenchengladbach entering the exciting, winner-take-all clash with defending Bundesliga champion Bayern Munich and West Germany international goalkeeper SEPP MAIER (1) in the last game before the annual winter break marking the middle of the 1973-74 season.
Only a second half equalizer from West Germany international superstar GERD MUELLER against Oberligameister Dynamo Dresden at the old Rudolf Harbig Stadion had enabled BAYERN MUNICH to narrowly avoid losing on the away goals rule and barely escape East Germany with hopes of a first-ever European Cup of Champions title still intact. But then, three goals in the final twenty minutes, including a third of the match from the goal-shark Mueller had allowed the Bavarians to overturn an early deficit and shoot down SV Hamburg 4-1 at the Olympiastadion. And a 2-2 draw on the road at Kickers Offenbach meant the defending champions could potentially overtake Eintracht Frankfurt at the top of the Bundesliga table on goal differential with a victory in the 17th and final round before the annual Winterpause in 1973.
Borussia Moenchengladbach, who lost the UEFA Cup Final 3-2 on aggregate to English side FC Liverpool but did win the Deutscher Fussball Bund Pokal in the spring of 1973, had seen off Glasgow Rangers 5-3 on aggregate in the UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup recently but were suffering from indifferent form in the Bundesliga as of late. In fact, die Fohlen had dropped three of their last five matches in the West German top flight including the heavy 6-1 loss to Vfb Stuttgart at the end of October. However, approaching the clash with Bayern Munich at the Olympiastadion on December 8, the North Rhine-Westphalian club could also still go top of the Bundesliga table with a win in Bavaria.
And so the stage was properly set. Oddly enough, what might have been promoted as a duel of West German national team goalkeepers instead materialized into an unmitigated shootout immediately. Indeed, no fewer than five ball successfully found the back of the net in the first twenty-three minutes of the match, alone.
FRANZ ROTH made his Bundesliga debut with Bayern Munich in late August of 1966 and went on to appear in 322 matches while scoring 72 goals for the Bavarian club in the West German top flight thru the end of the 1977/78 season. Known as “Bulle” (bull) for a physical style of play as well as a blistering shot, the native of Memmingen made four appearances for the national team of West Germany in his career. Roth later crossed the border in the Alps region to put in a season with SV Austria Salzburg, who, ironically enough, are now owned by an energy drink manufacturer and are known as Red Bull Salzburg.
Deployed up on the wing by Bayern Munich, the experienced FRANZ ROTH waltzed around Borussia Moenchengladbach sweeper KLAUS-DIETER SIELOFF, the 31-year-old with 14 caps for West Germany to his name, rather easily to complete a long, solo run. A near post shot snuck past goalkeeper WOLFGANG KLEFF and put the reigning Bundesligameister ahead only four minutes in but this advantage was erased almost instantly after West Germany international midfielder ULI HOENESS just could not reach a pass into the box by Borussia Moenchengladbach midfielder CHRISTIAN KULIK. Thus, visiting team captain HERBERT WIMMER was able to run on and even the score with just five minutes played at the Olympiastadion.
Wimmer was prominent again as Borussia Moenchengladbach took the lead with a well-worked goal in the 18th minute, as well. His precision cross from the right was laid off perfectly by seasoned striker BERND RUPP, the 31-year-old who had scored a goal in Turkey on his one and only appearance for West Germany way back in 1966. Denmark international HENNING JENSEN, whose two goals in Scotland provided die Fohlen the margin of victory in the Cup Winners’ Cup, then whipped the ball between the sticks and past Bayern Munich netminder SEPP MAIER to record his fourth goal of the campaign in the Bundesliga.
But Borussia Moenchengladbach would not remain in front for long, either, after Bayern Munich midfielder BERND DUERNBERGER latched onto a careless pass near the center stripe. A ball chipped into the box found Mueller on the right and more sloppy defending permitted der Bomber to rifle a left-footer into the lower corner with only twenty minutes gone in Bavaria. A Bundesliga-leading 16th goal of the season for the seemingly unstoppable Mueller, then.
Borussia Moenchengladbach goalkeeper WOLFGANG KLEFF started four consecutive friendlies for the national team of West Germany against the Soviet Union (W 1-0), Austria (W 4-0), France (W 2-1) and Scotland (T 1-1) in the fall of 1973 but, although the native of Schwerte was selected for the 22-man FIFA World Cup squad by trainer Helmut Schoen in 1974, never again appeared for his country thereafter.
Duernberger was involved once more when Bayern Munich retook the lead just three minutes on, though, as Hoeness delicately kept his right wing cross in bounds at the goalline over on the left and then re-delievered the ball back in front. Bavarian midfielder RAINER ZOBEL rose and got his head on the ball despite the crowd; the resulting, looping header had no trouble beating the ineffective Kleff for a third time in under a half an hour. Surely, the rate of goals could not be sustained.
And it was not — although creative West Germany international sweeper FRANZ BECKENBAUER did prompt a fourth for Bayern Munich with a “dream pass” along the floor into the box for Hoeness four minutes after the hour. Kleff got a hand to the shot but would not prevent the 1972 West German Olympian from netting his ninth goal in the Bundesliga and 12th strike of the season in all competitions for the defending champions. A very important tally, too, as national team constituent RAINER BONHOF pulled a goal back for Borussia Moenchengladbach by blasting a long range effort into the top corner with just two minutes remaining.
Nevertheless, the 4-3 final scoreline was more than enough to push Bayern Munich to the top of the Bundesliga standings with exactly half of the 1973/74 West German football season now complete and the traditional winter break, following the first round of the Deutscher Fussball Bund Pokal, of course, just around the corner.
Der Kaiser, FRANZ BECKENBAUER of Bayern Munich
December 8, 1973