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Legendary coach Dettmar Cramer passes away

German coaching legend Dettmar Cramer passed away on Thursday, September 17th, at the ripe old age of 90. Though his time at FC Bayern Munich was very short, he left an indelible mark on the German record champions, along with many other teams from all around the world.

Friedemann Vogel/Getty Images

The man who was known as the "Fußball-Professor", due to his meticulous work and preparation as a coach, was a legend in the coaching world, but, curiously, never spent too much time in one place.  He was known as a globetrotter and a football ambassador, traveling all around the world to teach people about the sport.

The (very short) glory years at FC Bayern

He took over as FC Bayern coach in January of 1975, replacing another legend in the making, Udo Lattek, who left the club despite winning the equivalent of the Champions League title.  Both coaches had been assistants to Helmut Schön with the German national team, and won the World Cup in 1974.  Cramer inherited an impressive roster, which included World Champions Franz Beckenbauer, Sepp Maier, Gerd Müller, Uli Hoeneß and Georg Schwarzenbeck, and proceeded to repeat as European champions in 1975, beating Leeds United in the final in Paris.

The next season would be no different, as Bayern completed the three-peat, topping AS Saint Etienne in Glasgow in 1976, now with a young Karl-Heinz Rummenigge in the starting lineup.  They would top it all off with the Intercontinental Cup the same year.

Unfortunately, though dominating Europe (and the world), Bayern failed to secure the Bundesliga title that season, which led to an unusual trade of sorts: Bayern and Eintracht Frankfurt would swap coaches in December of 1977, with Cramer heading north, while Gyula Lóránt came to the Bavarian capital to replace him.  Neither had much success at their new clubs, with Bayern ending up in 12th place, which still stands as the worst result in their club history.

Roaming the globe

His subsequent stops would take him to Saudi Arabia to coach the national team, and Greece to manage Aris Saloniki, before returning to Germany to take over Leverkusen, where he would take the Bayer team to their first single-digit finish in the domestic league.

Other than taking Bayern to two European titles, his biggest legacy was his work in Japan.  As a coach, and then a consultant to the Japanese national team in the 1960s, he is still known today as one of the founders of modern Japanese football, with Emperor Hirohito bestowing the highest cultural honor on him for his work.

Though his time in Munich was short, his impact was large, and he is still considered a member of the Bayern family.  As Bayern CEO (and former protege) Karl-Heinz Rummenigge summarized it, "FC Bayern grieves [over the loss] of a big coach and a special person."

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