Josef Dieter "Sepp" Maier (born 28 February 1944) is a German former professional football goalkeeper. Regarded as one of Germany's greatest ever goalkeepers, his nickname was "Die Katze von Anzing" ("the cat from Anzing") for his fast reflexes.
Born in Metten, Bavaria, Maier spent his entire professional career at Bayern Munich. He began playing for Bayern's youth sides in 1958. During the 1970s, he was part of the legendary Bayern team which included the likes of Franz Beckenbauer and Gerd Müller and won three European Cups in a row, a German record. Between 1966 and 1979 he played in 442 consecutive Bundesliga matches, still a German national record.
Maier was selected in the West Germany squad for four consecutive World Cups. In 1966 in England, he was a non-playing deputy to Hans Tilkowski. At the 1970 FIFA World Cup in Mexico, he was the undisputed starter and played all games (including the legendary 3–4 semifinal loss to Italy after extra time) except the third-place match.
In the 1974 FIFA World Cup on home soil, at the top of his footballing abilities, he reached the peak of his international career as the Germans went all the way to the final with a legendary team that included the likes of Franz Beckenbauer, Berti Vogts, Gerd Müller and Paul Breitner. The greatest triumph came when the hosts defeated a Johan Cruyff-inspired Netherlands team 2–1 in the final in Maier's own hometown Munich.
Four years later at the World Cup in Argentina, slightly past his peak but still formidable, Maier delivered a strong performance but could not prevent his side's failing to advance past the second round. Maier also won the 1972 European Championship with West Germany and reached the final in 1976, losing to Czechoslovakia on penalty kicks. On this occasion he was on the receiving end of the original Panenka penalty. In all, he earned 95 caps for his country.
Maier went into coaching for both club and country and mentored Oliver Kahn. In October 2004 his contract with the national side was terminated by manager Jürgen Klinsmann after Maier spoke out in favour of Kahn over Arsenal's Jens Lehmann in a dispute over who should be the side's first-choice goalkeeper. He continued to work as head goalkeeping coach for Bayern and retired in 2008.
Besides his goalkeeping exploits, Maier was famous for his overlong shorts and being the first goalkeeper to wear the now-standard, outsize, "Mickey Mouse" gloves, as well as his sense of humour. He is remembered for an incident where he became bored during a match at the Olympiastadion as the opposing side had yet to threaten his goal. A duck wandered onto the pitch and Maier attempted to catch it.
In June 2009, Maier was honoured by the Bavarian government with the Life Achievement Award.
|1962–63||Bayern Munich||Oberliga Süd||4||0||-||-||4||0|
- Bayern Munich
- Bundesliga: 1968–69, 1971–72, 1972–73, 1973–74
- DFB-Pokal: 1965–66, 1966–67, 1968–69, 1970–71
- European Cup: 1973–74, 1974–75, 1975–76
- UEFA Cup Winners' Cup: 1966–67
- Intercontinental Cup: 1976
- West Germany
- FIFA World Cup: 1974
- UEFA European Championship: 1972; runner-up: 1976
- FIFA World Cup All-Star Team: 1974
- German Footballer of the Year: 1975, 1977, 1978
- FIFA 100
- Germany's goalkeeper of the Century
- World Soccer: The 100 Greatest Footballers of All Time
- ^ "Germany's champion and comical keeper". FIFA. Retrieved 16 July 2015.