The names of Franz
Beckenbauer, Gerd Muller and Oliver Kahn have a mythical ring
to them in the Bavarian capital Munich and across much of
Three consecutive European Cup victories in the 1970s lifted
honorary Bayern Munich president Beckenbauer and his team-mates
straight into the football history books.
Add to that a European Championship and World Cup victory
with West Germany and their record looks even more impressive.
Bayern's 2001 Champions League win, two years after their
last-gasp defeat in the final to Manchester United, prompted the
club's fans to bestow Kahn with the nickname "Titan".
However, defeat by Chelsea in the Champions League showpiece
on Saturday, and the failure to win the club yet another major
title, would strip the current Bayern players of the right to be
called a golden generation, said club captain Philipp Lahm.
No matter how talented the latest Bayern crop is, without a
title they would be a mere footnote in the football annals, Lahm
"Every major era has its titles," Lahm told reporters this
week. "If it does not work with the titles in the years I have
left playing, then no-one will be talking about a big era or a
golden generation. That is how I measure myself."
Along with Bastian Schweinsteiger, another product of the
club's famed youth academy whi is also 27, Lahm is considered
one of the best players in Europe. However, so far European and
international titles have eluded him.
Third-place finishes at the 2006 and 2010 World Cups and a
losing Euro 2008 final, plus runners-up in the 2010 Champions
League, are as close as the pair have come to major trophies.
Team-mates Arjen Robben, 28, and Franck Ribery, 29, may be
European superstars, but they too are lacking European and
international silverware in their personal trophy cabinets.
"We are all at a very good football age, but we cannot
assume that we will be playing a Champions League final every
two years," Lahm said.
"Basti and myself, we are running out of time."
Lahm and company could not have hoped for a better set of
circumstances in which to lift the coveted trophy, with the
final being held at Bayern's Allianz Arena this year.
They may not have the usual 66,000 partisans to support
them, as each clubs only gets 17,500 tickets, but home advantage
could play a key role, with thousands of Bavarians preparing for
what could be their biggest party yet on Saturday night.
More than 100,000 people are expected to attend two public
viewing areas alone.
"I am convinced that we can do it," said Schweinsteiger. "If
not in our own stadium then where? This is probably a unique
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