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RECOVERY FROM KULTURSCHOCK
Clive Gammon
June 13, 1977
Even with a $2.8 million contract in hand, Franz Beckenbauer, the world's best soccer player—late of Munich's F.C. Bayern, the best team—had some trouble adjusting to New York and the Cosmos
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June 13, 1977

Recovery From Kulturschock

Even with a $2.8 million contract in hand, Franz Beckenbauer, the world's best soccer player—late of Munich's F.C. Bayern, the best team—had some trouble adjusting to New York and the Cosmos

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In the second of his games here, an exhibition last week against Lazio of Italy, Beckenbauer played farther upfield than he had against Tampa Bay, pushing perfectly timed passes to the feet of Giorgio Chinaglia, Pel�, Ramon Mifflin, et al. Monotonously, one after the other, the scoring chances he set up were wasted. The two goals that the Cosmos scored in reply to Lazio's three were from set-piece, free-kick situations, the kind of shots that can be well rehearsed in practice.

Immediately after the Tampa Bay game, Bildzeitung, the sensationalist German tabloid, carried banner headlines saying that Franz was unhappy, homesick, kaputt. Bild is not Beckenbauer's favorite newspaper. (Indeed, some say that it was to get away from its numerous stories about his alleged love affairs and their effect on his marriage that he accepted the Cosmos' offer.) Last week he said that when he read the German papers he had the feeling that M�nchhausen, the traditional teller of tall tales, was not dead. And he professed confidence in the Cosmos' future and his with them.

"In Tampa they tell me the ball was passed to me 78 times," he says. "That means my teammates played to me, sought me out. They are openhearted, and I had not expected this. Technically, we have problems. Leadership is missing a little. With so many nationalities, there are difficulties of understanding."

Nevertheless, last Sunday afternoon at Meadowlands it seemed that M�nchhausen did exist after all—as a teller of tales with happy endings. Led by the Kaiser, the Cosmos came together as a team and drubbed Toronto, the NASL Northern Division co-leader, 6-0. Three minutes into the game Beckenbauer slid a long midfield pass forward to start a movement that ended in the first goal of a torrent that included three by Steve Hunt, two by Chinaglia and an NASL record four assists by Vitomir Dimitrijevic.

A dose of victory would seem to be a cure for Kulturschock.

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