Günter Netzer

Günter Netzer

Football player infobox
playername = Günter Netzer

fullname = Günter Theodor Netzer
dateofbirth = birth date and age|1944|9|14
cityofbirth = Mönchengladbach
countryofbirth = Germany
height = 1.78 m
currentclub = retired
clubnumber =
position = Attacking Midfielder
youthyears = 1952-1963
youthclubs = 1. FC Mönchengladbach
years = 1963–1973 1973–1976 1976–1978
clubs = Borussia Mönchengladbach Real Madrid Grasshopper Zürich
caps(goals) = 297 (108)
085 00(9)
00? 00(?)
nationalyears = 1965-1975
nationalteam = Germany
nationalcaps(goals) = 037 00(6)
pcupdate =
ntupdate =

Günter Netzer (born September 14, 1944 in Mönchengladbach) is a former German football player and manager currently working in the media business and as a TV commentator. He is regarded as one of greatest passers in the game.

Borussia Mönchengladbach

Netzer played for the 1. FC Mönchengladbach from age eight before changing to city rival Borussia Mönchengladbach in 1963 at age nineteen. He turned Bundesliga professional in the 1965-66 season, the same year he was called upon to play for the German national side for the first time.

Netzer continued playing for the "foals" of Borussia until 1973.

In his 230 matches for them, he scored 82 goals. The era also saw one of the most competitive rivalry in Bundesliga's history between Borussia Mönchengladbach and Bayern Munich. Bayern Munich had Franz Beckenbauer, Gerd Müller, Hans-Georg Schwarzenbeck, Paul Breitner and Sepp Maier on their side while Borussia Mönchengladbach had Berti Vogts, Herbert Wimmer, Jupp Heynckes and Günter Netzer himself. As they achieved their first successes, the average age of both teams was twenty-one.

With Borussia Mönchengladbach he won the German Championship in 1970 and 1971 (the first Germany club to win back-to-back championships), and the German Cup in 1973. The final was a famous match against the 1. FC Köln in which he started as a sub and went onto the pitch only in extra time, on his own authority, simply telling the coach "I'll go and play now" while removing his tracksuit. He then went on to score the winning goal on his second contact.

Real Madrid

When Johan Cruyff joined FC Barcelona in 1973, Real Madrid needed to respond in kind. So Santiago Bernabéu signed him and Paul Breitner a year later. He played there until 1976, winning the Spanish Championship in 1975 and 1976 and the Spanish Cup in 1974 and 1975. In 1976, he joined Grasshopper Zürich where he finished his career in 1977. He won a single league title in Switzerland. A very funny feature of this German player, is his enormous resemblance to the Spanish cult singer, "the Fary", interpreter of successes such as "Torito Guapo" or "Apatrullando la Ciudad", the latter was the theme song of the great movie "Torrente".

German national team

He played for the West Germany national team 37 times from 1965 to 1975, scoring six goals and playing a vital role in the country's victory in the European Championship in 1972. He also appeared very briefly (for 21 minutes against East Germany) in the World Cup in 1974, during which time the goal was scored against his team. At this tournament, Wolfgang Overath was the central figure in Germany's midfield; Netzer and Overath were considered to not beeing able to play together. [ [http://www.sueddeutsche.de/sport/bundesliga/artikel/539/172032/3/ In 14 Länderspielen probierte es Schön mit ihnen gemeinsam - es klappte fast nie. Einmal, so Netzer, "rannten wir uns im Bemühen, Ball und Regie zu übernehmen, sogar gegenseitig um".]

Netzer was the iconic playmaker and is considered one of the best midfielders of all times, gaining a lot of attention with his long passes and pushes from deep within his own half of the pitch. Apart from his superior ball skills, his natural authority made him the undisputed leader of his team. As a player for Borussia Mönchengladbach, he enjoyed a lot of licence from the management and the coach Hennes Weisweiler, even off the pitch.

Career as a manager

After his career as a player in 1978 Netzer offered the Hamburger SV to publish their stadium magazine. Their president, Paul Benthien, agreed on the condition that he also became general manager. He spent eight successful years in Hamburg, during which time he completely transformed the HSV's team, managed to sign on famous coaches like Ernst Happel and later Branko Zebec, and led the club to three Bundesliga titles (1979, 1982, 1983). In 1983, Hamburger SV under Ernst Happel reached the Final of the European Cup. With Horst Hrubesch, Felix Magath and Manfred Kaltz, Hamburger SV pulled one of the biggest upsets in European Cup's history by beating a Juventus side packed with Italian players who won the World Cup a year earlier and two star import players -- Michel Platini and Zbigniew Boniek. The years with Günter Netzer are today considered the most successful period in HSV history.

Media businessman and football expert

After the end of his playing career, Netzer also founded an advertising agency in Zürich, Switzerland, where he continues to live today. He used to deal in TV rights and is currently "executive director" of the Swiss sports rights managing agency Infront Sports & Media AG.

Apart from that, he works as a reporter and football expert on TV. For his work with German TV channel ARD as a football expert in cooperation with host Gerhard Delling, commenting on games of the German national team, both received a Grimme award in 2000.

Despite their frequent arguments on TV, which they have developed into a kind of iconic skit, Netzer and Delling are supposedly close friends - after all, Netzer was Delling's Best man at his wedding in May 2003.

It was Delling's and Netzer's harsh criticism of the German national side's poor performance that triggered Rudi Völler's famous eruption of September 6 2003 immediately after the international match against Iceland. The then German national coach showered Netzer with abuse in a live TV interview after the goalless draw in Iceland.

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