Bayern Munich attacker Thomas Muller has selected former Bundesliga veteran Maik Franz as his toughest ever opponent, adding that he once won a free kick whilst trying to dive out of the way of an oncoming challenge from the ex-defender.
Franz had a fearsome reputation in the German top tier, known for bone-crunching challenges and continued provocation of opposing players. So much so, in fact, that fans nicknamed the stopper ‘Iron Maik’ (a play on Mike Tyson’s Iron Mike moniker) during his time at Karlsruhe.
Players such as Mario Gomez, former Werder Bremen captain Torsten Frings and coach Thomas Schaaf all had their say at different points on Franz’s dangerous style of play, the latter piping up after Denni Avdic took an elbow to the face.
Given Franz was booked 13 times in 23 matches in the 2010-11 season, it is easy to see why Muller was so keen to get out of his way early on in his career.
“When I was very young I had a lot of respect for Maik Franz,” Muller told DAZN.
“In one of my first seasons he came in for a one-on-one tackle near the halfway line at the Allianz Arena – I thought he was going to crack me. That’s why I jumped up and fell down even though he pulled away.
“In fact, it was a dive, but an unintentional one. Actually, it was a lifesaver.”
Source: News update