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Remembering Norbert Eder: Bayern Munich’s defensive anchor of the early 1980s

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Danke für alles, Norbert Eder.

Norbert Eder appears at top, second from the left, holding the Meisterschale, next to Lothar Matthäus.
Photo by Bongarts/Getty Images

Former FC Bayern Munich player, Norbert Eder, died last week at the age of sixty-three. According to the Oberbayerische Volksblatt, Eder was suffering from a long term serious illness. Eder played as a defender for Bayern Munich, finding himself — almost to his own surprise — a senior player among some all-time greats of the 1980s.

Born in the village of Bibergau, Dettelbach, near Würzburg in northern Bavaria, Eder commenced his footballing career at his hometown club. At the age of eighteen, the versatile player caught the attention of 1. FC Nürnberg and moved there in 1973. The following year Eder broke into the first team.

Racking up a total of 328 appearances and 33 goals in his eleven career at Der Club, Eder personally weathered the challenges of promotion to the Bundesliga. Nürnberg achieved top-flight status after finishing as Vizemeister of the 2.Bundesliga in the 1977/78 season. Eder was elected captain to take the club forward in the Bundesliga. But Nürnberg’s top-flight fairy tale came to a crashing end when the Bavarian club was relegated back down. Undaunted, Eder and Nürnberg responded the following season and were crowned 2. Bundesliga champions, returning to the Bundesliga once again.

Eder played as a midfielder during his career at Der Club and faced his future employer, Bayern Munich, in the 1982 DFB-Pokal Final at the Waldstadion. FC Bayern were victorious. Eder would have to wait four years until he could get his hands on the trophy. It would not be with Nürnberg, though.

At the age of twenty-eight, Eder joined FC Bayern Munich in 1984. Now an experienced veteran, he enjoyed a prosperous four-year career at Die Roten, amounting a total of 181 appearances, 7 goals, winning the Bundesliga (4), DFB-Pokal, and finishing runner-up in the 1986/87 European Cup. Eder said of his time with Bayern,

What I achieved in those four years in Munich was incredible. Although I wasn’t signed as a star, I was a regular starter and sat on the team council. By 1986, we won the championship twice and the DFB-Pokal. We had a super troup with Sören Lerby, Dieter Hoeness, Lothar Matthäus, Andy Brehme, and Klaus Augenthaler. And I was right in the middle.

Eder also enjoyed an international career of nine appearances for West Germany at the 1986 World Cup. Despite the fact that Germany finished as runners-up, Eder regarded the World Cup final against Argentina as the highlight of his career:

Despite the loss, the final was the absolute highlight of my career and probably also my best game at the tournament.

Eder moved to FC Zürich in 1988. After two seasons with the club, he retired at the age of thirty-four. Eder pursued a career in coaching, working with clubs such as SB DJK Rosenheim and TSV 1860 Rosenheim.

FC Bayern observed a minute silence in memory of Norbert Eder and Rudolf Schels prior to kick-off of the Champions League match against Olympiacos.

Everyone at Bavarian Football Works sends their deepest condolences and sympathy to the family of Norbert Eder.