Beckenbauer: Bayern ‘far, far, far away’ from Euro title
NEW YORK (AP) — Bayern Munich honorary president Franz Beckenbauer is sharply critical of the team’s performance in this week’s 3-1 Champions League loss to Porto.
During a news conference Friday at the club’s U.S. office, the 69-year-old former star player and coach faulted players for Wednesday’s effort in Portugal.
“They are far away, far, far, far away to win the Champions League. With this performance, you don’t win anything,” he said. “Sometimes, you can say the left back, he played bad, or the right back, or the goalkeeper made a mistake. But in this game, all players on the field — nada.”
Beckenbauer hopes the team can still advance on the away-goals tiebreaker with a 2-0 win next week in the second leg in Germany or perhaps force overtime with a 3-1 victory. He apologized for comments he made on Sky television, where he said defender Dante played like he had “ski boots on.”
Bayern Munich, a five-time European champion that won the 2013 title, is dealing with turmoil after Tuesday’s loss. The club’s longtime chief medical officer, Dr. Hans-Wilhelm Mueller-Wohlfahrt, quit Thursday.
Mueller-Wohlfahrt, also the physician for Germany’s national team, said the club’s “medical department was made primarily responsible for the defeat for inexplicable reasons.” Mueller-Wohlfahrt had been with the team since 1977, except for a brief period in 2008-09, when he quit while Jurgen Klinsmann coached the club.
Beckenbauer captained West Germany to the 1974 World Cup title and coached his country to the 1990 championship. He was a member of FIFA’s executive committee from 2007-11 and was suspended from soccer activities by FIFA for two weeks last June for refusing to cooperate with an investigation into the 2018 and 2022 World Cup bids.
He called the 2010 vote by the executive committee to stage the 2022 World Cup in Qatar “a very, very strange decision” and added of FIFA: “They like to conquer Arabia.” He is in favor of proposals to downsize stadiums after the tournament and use the materials to construct venues elsewhere.
“Qatar is a small population. They needed maybe one or two stadiums, not more,” he said. “From one stadium, 40,000, you get maybe four stadiums and give them to — how do you say — third-world countries.”
FIFA last month moved the tournament from its usual June-July period and said the 2022 final will be Dec. 18. Because of that, the European league will have to take an extended midseason break.
“It’s a problem, but not a big problem,” Beckenbauer said. “For one year, change the schedule.”
Beckenbauer played for Bayern Munich from 1964-77, then joined the New York Cosmos of the North American Soccer League from 1977-80 before finishing his playing career with Hamburg from 1980-82 and one final season with the Cosmos.
He praised the U.S. Soccer Federation’s decision to hire Klinsmann, a former Bayern player who coached Germany to third place in the 2006 World Cup.
“He has a lot of experience,” Beckenbauer said. “That’s exactly this kind of people you need in the country, still need in the country, to build players, build coaches.”
Still, he thinks the U.S. needs more time to reach the level of soccer’s elite.
“It needs (a) generation to compete with the top teams in the world, like Brazil, like Germany, England or Spain or Argentina,” he said. “It’s very, very difficult, because they have background for more than a hundred years.”