The whole of the extended Bayern family gathered on Thursday evening to honour one special personality, Dr Hans-Wilhelm Müller-Wohlfahrt. The guests included Franz Beckenbauer, Gerd Müller, Paul Breitner, Bulle Roth and Katsche Schwarzenbeck, the club committee with Uli Hoeneß, Dr Fritz Scherer and Bernd Rauch, the board of directors with Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, Karl Hopfner, Matthias Sammer and Andreas Jung, the first-team squad and coaching staff headed by Jupp Heynckes, plus high-ranking German FA (DFB) representatives, association president Wolfgang Niersbach and Germany team manager Oliver Bierhoff.
The event in a relaxed, family atmosphere at the Seehaus in Munich's English Garden was to mark the club chief medical officer’s 70th birthday. Some 190 guests raised a glass in the doctor’s honour. “I'm overwhelmed by this wonderful, wonderful festival which the club has generously provided," the world-renowned medic said in his speech, during which he effusively thanked his wife and two children: “I draw strength from my family."
The club too is “a driving force," said Müller-Wohlfahrt, “I feel there’s faith in me. That's the greatest thing I could have in my professional life." He also named the players as an inspiration: “When I see the utter determination, commitment, enthusiasm and drive the players invest in training and matches, I'm caught up in it all."
Chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge responded with praise for Müller-Wohlfahrt, who has been “one of the most important people at the club for 35 years, exactly half his life so far. He may never have scored a goal for us, but he's made countless goals and triumphs possible in the first place. There are people who take a job, and there are jobs which take hold of a person. That's how it is with Hans-Wilhelm Müller-Wohlfahrt. If I was asked to name one person who is totally absorbed in his profession and radiates utter joy in his work, it would be him."
Bayern are not the only beneficiaries of the doctor’s unique expertise, as Niersbach stated. “You've earned unbelievable trust, as evidenced by other clubs sending their players to you, even with a match against Bayern coming up. It would be tempting not to give the very best treatment to a player from another club, but that question would never arise for you, and has never arisen for FC Bayern," the DFB president said, “it is magnificent that you, Uli, Karl-Heinz and Karl, have explicitly sanctioned your doctor’s ability being made available to others."
The party went on until half-past one in the morning, over a dinner of lobster with pea purée, fish carpaccio, saltimbocca and a desert buffet. Instead of gifts, Müller-Wohlfahrt requested donations to the Bavarian State School for the Disabled, although there were still small presents from Bayern and the DFB. “You are simply an exceptional person," Niersbach told Müller-Wohlfahrt, “huge compliments on your life's work, which is far from over yet!"