Franz Binder was one of the most prolific strikers in world football either side of the Second World War, becoming a legend at Rapid Vienna during a nineteen year spell at the club as a player and further spells as a coach. He largely missed out on international success, but won many major honours in Austria at club level and went on to coach in several countries.
Having started out as a teenager at ASV Sturm 19 Sankt Pölten, Binder joined Rapid in 1930 and became one of the club’s greatest players. In 1933, having finished as leading scorer in the Austrian League, he made his international debut against Belgium but missed out on going to the World Cup in Italy. Rapid won the Austrian title in both 1935 and 1938, but later that year Austria was occupied by Germany and the Austrian clubs found themselves playing in the “Ostmark” League, the name given to Austria under German occupation.
Binder’s goals helped Rapid to win the Ostmark League in 1940 and 1941, and by 1941 he had been leading scorer in either the Austrian or Ostmark League for five years in a row. His abilities had impressed the German authorities, and with no Austrian national team he made nine wartime appearances for Germany between 1939 and 1941.
After liberation, Austria’s national league reformed and by 1945 Binder had become player-coach at Rapid, and in 1946 led the club to a league and cup double, followed by another league title two years later. He retired from playing in 1949 and left Rapid in 1951 after leading them to yet another championship, going on to coach abroad.
Binder was coach of SSV Jahn Regensburg in West Germany for two years, before moving on to 1. F.C. Nürnberg and laying the foundations of a team that won a league championship shortly after he left. After a short spell with PSV Eindhoven, he returned to Rapid Vienna and won another league title in 1964. He also added the Austrian Cup in 1976 in his third spell in charge, returning several years after his previous job with 1860 Munich. Having retired from coaching in his mid-60s, Franz Binder died in 1989 at the age of 77.