Saturday's home meeting with Mainz 05 finally brings down the curtain on Bayern's disappointing 2006-7 campaign, but the match is not entirely devoid of meaning, as it also marks the last act in Mehmet Scholl's glittering career. 'Scholli' is set for his 392nd Bundesliga appearance in seventeen years as a professional, and is aware the occasion will be laden with emotion.
"My last competitive match for Bayern is something very special. I don't yet know whether I should just let my feelings take over, or whether I should try and play formally and sensibly for 50 minutes," the 36-year-old midfielder mused at his last official news conference on Thursday.
Illustrious and respected
The technically gifted player, a crowd hero in Munich since joining the club in 1992, will start a match for Bayern for the first time in more than a year. Tears are likely, both from the player and the majority of the 69,000 at the Allianz Arena, when he leaves the field as planned after 50 minutes.
"That's basically it. The time has come to say that I'm going - and more than anything else, I'm going happily," declared the man who recorded his Bundesliga debut for Karlsruhe on 21 April 1990. He made the switch to Bayern at the age of 21, collecting a record eight Bundesliga titles and five German Cup triumphs in the following 15 years. Scholl's medal collection also includes honours in the Champions League, the World Club Cup and the UEFA Cup.
However, he is not prepared to place his achievements in any kind of priority order. "My biggest success has been Bayern Munich. I've managed to survive 15 years in the circus we call football, and I've not been devoured by this shark-infested pool." Scholl's transformation from teenage pin-up to a reserved, media-shy cult figure has unquestionably helped along the way.
"It may well have been the right decision to stay clear of various situations and concentrate on football," the 36-time Germany international reflected, determined to be judged solely on the basis of his performance as a player. "Looking back over the last 15 years, I see so many positives, so many things I've been able to learn, which you could only ever learn at Bayern Munich. These are things which make you stronger in your daily life. Overall, I have no regrets."
Heading for satisfaction
Scholl, plagued by injury in the later years of his career, does not have a concrete plan for the future, "and it's better that way. You can't plan your own future." The father of two is determined "to get away in the first instance, and do the things I never had time for in the past."
It remains unclear whether Scholl will take up a much-mooted staff position at the club. "That's been talked about in the media, but not with me," he insisted. "But it's not something I can't necessarily do without. I'm too busy thinking about other things I'd like to do at the moment. I'm nicely on course to achieve satisfaction."