A fair bit has happened since the last time a Bundesliga ball was kicked in mid-December. We’ve lost one of German football’s greats, surprise player moves have materialised in both directions, while transfer quandary and quibbling has kept the back pages busy.
Starting with the former, Franz Beckenbauer, one of the greatest football players of all time, sadly passed away on Sunday aged 78.
Beckenbauer was considered to be Germany’s first truly global sports star. He led his nation to the World Cup title as player and coach in 1974 and 1990 respectively, and helped establish Bayern Munich as one of Europe’s heavyweights.
Bayern boss Thomas Tuchel spoke about the loss of Beckenbauer in a recent press conference: “It’s a big thing to come to terms with,” he said. “He had an incredible life. I’m too young to remember him as a player.
“The enormity of it is hard to get your head around. It will be very emotional in the stadium over the next few weeks.”
The Allianz Arena will pay tribute to Beckenbauer’s extraordinary achievements when Bayern host Hoffenheim on Friday night, live on Sky Sports, where a memorial service will be held before kick-off.
The champions are chasing a record twelfth straight league crown but have not been entirely consistent this term, despite the glorious scoring glut of summer addition Harry Kane, whose arrival was greeted triumphantly by expectant Bayern fans in August – the long-awaited like-for-like replacement for Robert Lewandowski. Not wrong.