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The Ultimate BIMBO: Franz Binder

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The complaints about BIMBO's jersey sponsorship of the Philadelphia have long since subsided. Now fans are happy for the partnership, which has resulted in cross-promotions increased revenue for the team and free bread after games at PPL Park.

Perhaps if fans knew about the "original" soccer BIMBO, they would have had a different approach to the sponsorship in its beginning.

Franz Binder is a notable name for multiple reasons, but one will stand out to Union fans: his nickname was "The Bimbo" (or simply Bimbo).

Bimbo has a poor connotation in English, but elsewhere it can be used as a term of endearment or even for a company, as is in the case of the Union's current shirt sponsor. For Binder, Bimbo was a nickname adorned upon him by teammates who saw likeness between him and an actor in a German film.

Binder helped to lead Rapid Wien to a victory that will quite possibly never be able to be replicated. Because of the Anschluss that allowed - or forced - Binder to play for both Austria and Germany at the international level, the two countries' leagues combined and their teams faced off against one another.

Rapid Wien played German power Schalke 04 in the 1941 German league championship. In today's world of soccer, the equivalent would be Red Bull Salzberg, or perhaps even Rapid Wien still, versus Borussia Dortmund (current Bundesliga leaders) or Bayern Munich, who have been probably the best team in Germany for the past couple of decades. 

Schalke proved its predicted superiority by going ahead against Rapid, but Binder provided the offensive genius that allowed Rapid to claw back. A hat-trick by the Bimbo gave Rapid the 4-3 win over Schalke. It gave the Austrian team the German crown, becoming the first, and only, Austrian side to ever win it. Though two other Austrian clubs would make the finals of the German championship, they would lose by a combined total of 11-0. Binder and Rapid Wien also won the German Mitropacup in 1938, something that they only qualified for five times during Binder's playing days.

On a list of the 50 greatest forwards of all time, Binder sits at 42, ahead of German great Rudi Voller, and right behind Spanish wonder Isidro Langara. On a Pro Evolution Soccer forum, a user from Vienna, Austria had this to say about Binder's playing style:

He was known to have had the strongest shot back in the days... he even destroyed the nets of goals and keepers had no chance to save his rockets.

Binder remains as one of a handful of players to have recorded over 1000 goals in a career (Along with Romario, Pele, Gerd Muller, Arthur Friedenreich and Josef Bican). His 1.33 goals-per-game average is the unofficial world record (1006 goals in 756 matches).

Having incredibly strong legacy in both Austria and Germany, Binder has influenced many future players into the current era of his. His popularity is so great to this day that Stefan Binder, who is currently playing with SSV Jahn Regensburg, was given the nickname "Bimbo" solely because of Franz's influence.