|Backenbauer the midfielder in 1966|
Throughout the 1960's, Helmut Schön, the German manager at the time, did not want Beckenbauer to play the sweeper role. He believed that Beckenbauer should be playing as the link between midfield and attack. His talents would be waste at the back. Beckenbauer spent most of his playing time in the midfield while Germany used mainly Willi Schulz or Karl-Heinz Schnellinger as their sweeper. Many people in Germany shared the same view. However, Beckenbauer viewed the sweeper position differently. By playing behind the 9 other outfielders on his team, he could see the entire field in front of him, not only a third. The sweeper could control the attacks more thoroughly from behind.
While Beckenbauer could not play the sweeper role with the national team, he got his opportunity to play there for his club team, Bayern Munich. Tschik Cajkovski, the Bayern manager at that time, received a lot criticism for "wasting" Beckenbauer's talent at the back. Soon, Bayern Munich found successes with Beckenbauer playing at the back. Suddenly, Beckenbauer playing as an offensive-minded sweeper, it seemed, was visionary. By 1971, public opinion switched. Beckenbauer had physical prowess to tackle and play central defence. He also had the intelligence to organise a defence and his ability as a playmaker allowed him to move the ball quickly up the field. The rest is well-known history in soccer. Beckenbauer became known as the father of the offensive-minded sweeper as West Germany won the WC in 1974.
|The Sweeper winning the World Cup in 1974|
Please also see my All-Time World Cup Team Index.