Seven up for serial champion Mehmet
Mehmet Scholl arrived in Munich from Karlsruhe in 1992, a year after Bayern legend Klaus Augenthaler finally hung up his boots. The current Leverkusen boss collected seven championship medals in 15 seasons at the Bavarian club, a record which he jointly holds to this day.
"Auge" remained in Munich, initially as boss Erich Ribbeck's assistant, and learnt to appreciate Scholl's prodigious talent with his own eyes. In the meantime, a promising youngster and teenage pin-up has matured into an experienced pillar of the squad, who has now entered the club's annals after 13 years in Munich and the latest championship triumph on Saturday.
This season's success sees Scholl draw level with Augenthaler as the holder of seven championship winners' medals. "Catching up with Klaus is a huge honour for me, because he rates as one of the best footballers Munich has ever seen," the 34 year-old declared after Saturday's clincher in Kaiserslautern. Scholl surprised waiting reporters by reappearing from the dressing room clad in Bavarian Lederhosen, and sparked even greater astonishment by overcoming his normal reticence and giving a string of interviews. "I've always had a nose for these things," the midfielder said, revealing he made a habit of packing the traditional Bavarian costume whenever Bayern were within mathematical reach of the title.
The club's longest-serving professional benefits from enormous experience in these matters, of course. Alongside Augenthaler and Scholl, only Lothar Matthäus and Alexander Zickler have collected as many honours, but Mehmet is determined to go one better. "I'll overtake the lot a year from now," he laughed, an intention which may yet become reality as the player has already extended his deal at the Säbener Strasse for another year.
Scholl remained distinctly modest about his contribution to the most recent triumph. "A goal or two, and I was the catalyst for a change in the dressing room atmosphere," he reported. The analysis is a little too modest, as Mehmet has made 17 appearances, scored three goals and laid on a further six in 2004-5. The 36-time Germany international only managed five appearances and one assist the previous season.
The veteran is already looking forward to the new campaign. "I intend to set myself entirely new personal targets. I wasn't aiming for anything in particular this term. I just wanted to help, but I'll be back with a vengeance next season." Scholl reckons the current squad could be one of the best ever: "We have tremendous potential here."