With FC Bayern München building towards another final, UEFA.com spoke to Franz Beckenbauer, captain when the Bavarians won the first of three straight European Cups.
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When FC Bayern München play Borussia Dortmund at Wembley next Saturday they will do so in their third UEFA Champions League final in four seasons. Four decades ago, however, the Bavarian club enjoyed their greatest period of continental success, one that no team since has been able to replicate, winning the European Cup in three consecutive years.
Part one of Bayern's hat-trick of triumphs was sealed in their maiden final appearance, a showdown with Club Atlético de Madrid in Brussels in 1974. Led by Franz Beckenbauer, a side containing Sepp Maier, Paul Breitner, Uli Hoeness and Gerd Müller ran out 4-0 victors – but only after Georg Schwarzenbeck had forced a replay with a last-gasp strike in extra time two days earlier.
"The first win was, of course, the most important, because we drew in the first game," Beckenbauer told UEFA.com. "It was 0-0 in extra time. Then Atlético Madrid took the lead and we scored the equaliser in the last minute. We were very lucky."
Beckenbauer would get his hands on the silverware in each of the next two campaigns, at the expense of Leeds United AFC and AS Saint-Étienne respectively, as Bayern matched AFC Ajax's run of success in the competition from 1971–73.
"The Champions League trophy, or back then the European Cup, is something special: it's the highest trophy that you can win in club football," said Beckenbauer, who in February received the UEFA President's Award from Michel Platini. "And when you hold that trophy in your hands, it's something special."
The year 1974 was certainly one to remember for German football: West Germany, with Beckenbauer, Breitner, Hoeness, Maier, Müller and Schwarzenbeck, also hosted and won the FIFA World Cup; while 1. FC Magdeburg brought home the European Cup Winners' Cup. With two Bundesliga teams in the 2013 final, this could be the start of another golden era.
Watch the video above to hear the full interview with the former West Germany and Bayern coach.