Nicknamed “Der Afro” for his big curly hair, Paul Breitner was a star player at an early age. He signed for Bayern Munich when he was nineteen in 1970 and made his debut for the West German national team the following year. Paul started his career as a full-back, but moved up in midfield towards the end of his career. He had a very good right foot shot which he used frequently with great results.
Breitner was a member of some of the finest teams Europe has produced. West Germany won the European Championship in 1972 and two years later, on home soil, they mopped up their second World Cup title. Breitner scored three goals from his defensive position, two long range thunderbolts against Chile and Yugoslavia and a penalty in the final against Holland. Also in 1974, Bayern Munich won the European Cup making it a fantastic year for “Der Afro”. At 22, he had already won everything a footballer could dream about winning.
Breitner now searched abroad for new challenges. Real Madrid was next destination and he continued to win more trophies in the Spanish capital. When he came back to Bayern after three years in 1977, he had won two league championships with Real and a Spanish Cup title. Paul’s international career was in the meantime temporarily over. Disagreements with the coaching staff and certain players made him stay away from the West German national team for several years, but he changed his mind on the eve of the 1982 World Cup in Spain. Rummenigge was one of several players who said the team needed him after a run of poor results in the build-up to the finals.
In his midfield role, Breitner guided West Germany to the final where Italy beat them 3-1. Breitner scored the West German goal making him only the third man, after Pelé and Vava, to score in two World Cup finals. He retired in 1983 having won many trophies including seven league championships in Spain and West Germany. Breitner was also named German Player of the Year once.