When was a goalkeeper last named as the World Cup's outstanding player?
The answer is never, although today's final of the 2002 tournament between Germany and Brazil in Yokohama could change all that.
Maier, the Germans' outstanding goalkeeper when they won the World Cup in 1974, is renowned as a severe taskmaster; but even he, arms aching, had to call a halt to the hard work demanded by the man who is probably his country's finest goalkeeper since his mentor.
In fact, it was not until Andreas Kopke announced his retirement at the end of the latter tournament that Kahn was finally recognised as Germany's first-choice goalkeeper.
By then, he had been a regular with the country's leading club, Bayern Munich, for four years.
At 6ft 3in and nearly 14st, he must loom large in the vision of any striker bearing down on goal.
Those fearsomely craggy Teutonic features and that mad glint in the eye do not exactly encourage opponents to take liberties with him, either.
Even then, though, there was adversity to be overcome.
Soon after signing for Bayern, Kahn suffered a serious knee injury that kept him on the sidelines for five months.He went to the finals of the 1994 World Cup as reserve goalkeeper to Bodo Illgner, but did not make the starting line-up.He eventually won his first cap against Switzerland in 1995, but had to be content with the role of reserve again at the finals of Euro 96 and the 1998 World Cup.Indeed, Michael Owen's success in scoring a hat-trick for England against Kahn in that now curiously irrelevant 5-1 qualifying victory over Germany in Munich was proof of the little Liverpool striker's nerve as much as anything else.As was evident from the anguish on Kahn's face at the time, and from his comments later, taking that beating from England on home soil was just about the worst moment of the big man's career.But trust me, there is much more to Oliver than his short temper.