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Memorable Monday: Looking Back At a Great Captain, Klaus Augenthaler's Career

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Surely, 404 appearances for FC Bayern München and two European heartbreaks warrant this great sweeper more than just a mention here and there in this blog. We look back to Klaus Augenthaler's playing days today.

Gunnar Berning/Getty Images

He spent nearly 22 years at the club in his role as a central defender, a libero and finally, assistant coach. When he finally had to let go, he was persuaded by the board to do so. Augenthaler has Bayern red running in his veins. He criticizes player's decisions to move various times after the Bosman rule came into existence simply because he himself perhaps could not imagine doing so.

Augenthaler was captain of the club between 1984 and 1991. He won the Bundesliga on no less than on seven occasions including 1980, 1981, 1985, 1986, 1989 and 1990. He won the DFB Pokal on three occasions: 1982, 1984 and 1986. When asked whether there is any trophy missing in his trophy cabinet, Augenthaler points to the Champions League and resorts to comparing the heartbreak of 1987 against Porto to Bayern's loss against Chelsea in 2012.

Yet, he himself admits that he does not lose much sleep over it considering the number of medals he collected both as a player and assistant coach.  He has many other great memories in his time at Bayern, including a special goal he scored in August of 1989 against Eintracht Frankfurt. Augenthaler scored the goal from just across the halfway line. Frankfurt keeper Uli Stein, standing a bit far ahead of his goal had no chance. That goal went on to become the Goal of the Season. It was indeed a special one, one appreciated by his manager, Jupp Heynckes from the sidelines.

That year turned out to be incredibly memorable for the sweeper. He went to the World Cup in Italy and lifted the trophy in Rome. He has a piece of the turf to remind him of his greatest ever achievement as a player. This of course happened after Augenthaler lost the final in 1986 to Argentina.

Thomas Müller recently helped Germany do the same. He fits the mold of the Bayern player Augenthaler looks for. Müller and Bastian Schweinsteiger, both raised within the club structure are the kind of players who belong to the club, according to his great.

For a man so deeply immersed in football, today's commercialization does not sit well with him. He is not a fan of VIP lounges. This certainly blends in perfectly with his character as a hard defender who could read the game extremely well. Such players are hard to find in today's game but may be they are not as wanted as Augenthaler points out. Demand for the tough characters of Olli Kahn, Stefan Effenberg and Augenthaler himself has reduced in the modern game.

Yet, for that goal against Frankfurt, for those domestic trophies and for his service as captain, Augenthaler will always be remembered as a Bayern great. When Otmar Hitzfeld took over in 1998 and brought his own assistant coach with him, Augenthaler, part of the 1996 UEFA Cup triumph coaching team, could no longer stay on. The Bayern brass persuaded him to become a head coach elsewhere and he duly obliged. He went on to coach Bayer 04 and Wolfsburg among other clubs, finally stopping in 2013 after a stint at SpVgg Unterhaching.

Whether he will return to the coaching scenery remains to be seen but the possibility of his face on the sidelines at FC Bayern cannot be ruled out completely just yet. Today's midfielders could learn a lesson or two from Augenthaler, a true Bayern great.

*Sources: WikipediaFC Bayern's websiteDa Hog'n