His wife said that he was a “madman”. Above all, the opponents were afraid of its toughness and its tremendous shooting power. And the fans loved him for his decisive goals. Today the man, of whom very few know his first name, is celebrating his 75th birthday.
In retrospect, there are always many moments that are crucial for the course of life. But May 31, 1967 is something like the hour of birth of FC Bayern Munich as we know it today. On this wet evening in Nuremberg, a group of former regional league kickers turned into a top European team. And right at the front: Franz “Bulle” Roth, who a year earlier had laced his shoes for the fourth division club SpVgg Kaufbeuren. When the man from Amendingen near Memmingen overcame the Glasgow Rangers keeper in the final of the European Cup Winners’ Cup with a lob in the 108th minute, everything was suddenly possible for the club from Säbener Straße. After the final, Bayern’s funny grinning coach Zlatko “Tschik” Cajkovski announced in an unusually exuberant way: “Now everything will be done. Now there are only Mars champions!”
After the legendary 1-0 win by “Bulle” Roth, the jubilation knew no bounds. The spectators had overcome all the barriers in no time and were now happily populating the lawn of the municipal stadium in Nuremberg. A game abandonment could only be prevented with great effort and hardship. And while the strollers were leaving the field, the former fourth division player thought about his first great miracle in the Bayern jersey: “Smith almost knocked me over, when I fell the long ball reached me, the goalkeeper came out, the ball went over him and under the bar. There was luck in it, but it was also the reward for good work. “
Trained young players like Hoeneß
“Bulle” Roth had just turned twenty-one years old and shortly afterwards he received the draft notice of the Bundeswehr. But the men in uniform were very surprised when the newly crowned European Cup winner introduced himself to them. He was quickly sent to the ophthalmologist. And when Roth came back to Bayern from there, he was still amazed: “I didn’t even know that I couldn’t see well. Maybe that’s why I score so rarely.” He received adhesive shells, and it worked (once again) much better in the club.
FC Bayern Munich flourished more and more in the period that followed. And the club could rely on its “bull” Roth. Strong and assertive, to describe his robust style of play in a more friendly way, he was a man who countered and went ahead in important situations. The young players like Uli Hoeneß were able to stand up on him in the following years and learn from him, as the long-time Bayern manager once said: “I used to put on shin guards in training because I knew: When Franz Roth mad at me is, he sweeps me on the cinder track. The training was a struggle for survival for me, and I developed wonderfully in the process. “
Ben Redelings is a passionate “chronicler of football madness” (Manni Breuckmann) and a supporter of the glorious VfL Bochum. The author, filmmaker and comedian lives in the Ruhr area and tends to his treasure trove of anecdotes. For ntv.de he writes down the most exciting and funniest stories on Tuesdays and Saturdays. More information about Ben Redelings, his current dates and projects can be found on his website www.scudetto.de.
And Klaus Augenthaler still remembers his first duel as a young player at Bayern. This was against this “bull” Roth – and he had uncompromisingly knocked “Auge” straight out of his shoes. By the way, the words of Roth after his dismissal on matchday 28 of the 1970/71 season in the game against Offenbacher Kickers are still funny to listen to – when he announced afterwards innocently: “I just stretched my foot and Bechtold fell over it. “
Legendary shot power
But Roth’s shooting power was even more legendary than his physical sturdiness. People still like to talk about Bayern’s test match at Rapid Vienna in the 1974/75 season when “Bull” Roth, in the truest sense of the word, pierced the goal net with a bomb shot at full speed. Allegedly they measured 137 km / h once during training. Many years later, RTL determined the toughest “bang in the league” in its program “Anpfiff”. Martin Kree from Bochum finally topped the list with 142.9 km / h.
And of course Franz Roth owes his nickname to this extraordinary shooting power. His coach Tschik Cajkovski was so impressed by this that he said that Roth “has the strength of a moo”. And after goalkeeper Sepp Maier had corrected his coach (“With us the animal is called Bull”), the matter was clear.
Incidentally, with Maier, “Bulle” Roth also experienced a few minutes of horror. When, in February 1974, after a guest appearance by Bayern in Bremen, some rowdies stormed the Munich bus, the keeper and his colleagues vigorously opposed it. After the work was done, “Bulle” Roth said smugly: “I think we should all go to the Allkampf School from next week.”
After the 28th matchday of the 1977/78 season and a 1-1 draw in Dortmund, the popular Bayern player ended his career. In the end it became clear that the “bull” on the field was not only tough on his opponents, but also on himself: “Most of the time I felt hurt all week, but when it got Friday evening, shortly before the game, then suddenly the pain was gone, as if blown away. My wife would always say to me: ‘Franz, you are a madman!’ “
Indeed it is. And today the man who scored FC Bayern Munich many, many years ago with his overnight goal to a top European club, is celebrating his 75th birthday. All the best and good luck, Franz “Bulle” Roth!