Munich - Off the Ball,'s weekday feature, casts an eye over some of the offbeat and occasionally controversial tales to have emerged from Germany's top-flight.

Today, we find out about yet another award FC Bayern could pick up, discover that the gates to Gelsenkirchen will always be open to Raul and also wish a happy 70th birthday to a feline friend.

If you thought there were no trophies, awards and gongs for FC Bayern still to win, then think again. They have now been nominated for the Laureus Team of the Year. Who will the , DFB Cup, World Club Cup, UEFA Supercup and UEFA Champions League holders be up against? Miami Heat and Red Bull Motor Racing to name just two. The winner will be announced in Kuala Lumpur on 26 March.

Raul Gonzalez (pictured, l.) was unable to accept an invitation to attend Wednesday night's clash between his two previous clubs Schalke and Real Madrid CF due to commitments with Al-Sadd Sports, but if he's wondering what to do when he finally pins his boots to the wall, Schalke CEO Clemens Tönnies (pictured, r.) has an idea. "He still has a bond with Schalke and he keeps telling us this," he told Sport Bild magazine. "If there were the chance for him to work here, then we'd find a way."

Finally, we bid Happy Birthday to Anzing's most famous cat, Sepp Maier. The former Germany international earned his feline "Katze von Anzing" nickname for the way he pranced around his penalty area, nothing seemingly out of his reach. On his 70th birthday, Maier told the Az how his previous gymnastic training came in so useful during his career: "I had it drilled into me how I was to throw myself around and how I should fall. And when the ground was soft, there was nothing I liked more than throwing myself into the mud," he said.