clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Zerhacke das Holz: The Black Forest’s Wacker 09

New, comments

If you are looking for a hard-partying raucous bunch, Wacker 09 and its Lumberjacks are the squad for you!

Wacker 09 is a proud and often misunderstood club on a mission to rediscover itself and the greatness it once had. Born from the blue-collar population of the heart of Germany’s Black Forest, Wacker 09 has always field a team that has relied on grit, courage, and a hard-working spirit.

The Early Years

Located in the Black Forest region roughly between Freiburg and Stuttgart in southwestern Germany, the club and its disorderly fan base adopted the nickname “die Holzfäller” (“the Lumberjacks”). Since many in the area were employed by lumber companies during the early years, it was only fitting to capture the blue collar spirit of the supporters, many of whom spent all week chopping wood before spending their nights indulging in the region’s cheap beer selection, led by sponsor Meister Bräu. The population in the region flocked toward the bargain brand over some of the area’s more tasty – yet more expensive – brews.

As the team’s popularity grew, its fan base grew with it. Before long, the “Holzfäller” began to make a name for themselves as the rowdiest fan group in Germany. That reputation, however, would come with a price and would ultimately lead to an incident still recounted by many to this day.

A Chapter Not Often Told

The ugliest moment in the club’s history came in the early years when the Lumberjacks’ drunken behavior went too far. In 1966, as Wacker 09 was mired in a 19-game losing streak, the raucous fan group viciously attacked the club’s original mascots, Fritz the Clown and his pet monkey, Oswald.

After the heavy-drinking and hardly affable clown got into a shouting match with a few ten-year-olds over a balloon animal gone awry, many of the Lumberjack Ultras sprung into action. After a few minutes of back-and-forth, the clown uttered the now infamous phrase, “Was für ein Haufen Wichser!” It did not go over well.

Several Lumberjacks first punched the clown before the action spilled over, leading several others to spank Oswald the monkey in a brutal attack. It was a sorry day that saw seventeen Lumberjacks arrested in all and left a black eye forever on the club. After the incident, the mascots were retired and never seen on the Wacker 09 grounds again.

The Lumberjacks, though seeking to rebuild their image, could never shake their reputation as brawny brawlers. Adopting their own fan motto — “we’re coming knocking, you thrust back!” (“wir klopfen an, ihr stoßt zurück!”) — the Lumberjacks spearheaded a movement not just to live by the motto, but also to ensure that every other club’s fan base would experience the “Lumberjack” lifestyle first hand.

Opposing teams often despise when Wacker 09 visits town. The Lumberjacks, always looking for a release, often travel heavy taking their brawling style to the bars of each rival’s city. One thing is fore sure, when the Lumberjacks come to town, they’ll be throwing down in a bar near you!

The Championship Season

It was the 1980s and it was the “Golden Age” of Wacker 09. Having worked its way up to the Bundesliga’s first division, Wacker 09 was among the best teams in the league. Led by an ultra-hard-nosed core of homegrown players, Wacker 09 had consecutive seasons of top 5 finishes before reaching the ultimate goal of a league title.

In the 1982-83 season, Wacker 09 finally reached the pinnacle of its existence by wrapping up the league crown, outdistancing chief rival, 1. FC Giemnippel, by 1 point with a 3-2 extra time victory over Die verdrehten Herren in what is considered the greatest (and most timely) victory in club history. Early in the championship season, the players were motivated by the bleach blonde, punk image of Billy Idol and began using “Dancin’ With Myself” as the team’s new anthem (Taking over for the anthem from the 1981-1982 season, “Stroke Me” by Billy Squier). To this day, Wacker 09 still uses the Billy Idol tune to celebrate its wins in remembrance of its Golden Era in the 1. Bundesliga.

The Fall from Grace

Unfortunately for Wacker 09, the hard-partying 80’s may have yielded great results on the pitch, but, like Nu-Wave, the organization took a precipitous fall as the decade changed over. Numerous off-the-field scandals led to the club’s demise and pushed the team into what has become known locally as “The Lost Years.”

Team ownership, led by Dieter Wacker, indulged heavily in alcohol and cocaine before nearly bankrupting the team as all of the squad’s key players were sold off. The youth academy – led by chain smoking 70-year old trainers — was left in shambles. Truly, Wacker 09 never was able to run it back, even after a long break.

The Rebuild

Today, in the 3. Bundesliga, Wacker 09 and its hard-core fans are in a constant struggle to work their way back to its past 1. Bundesliga glory. After being sold in the early 1990s to pharmaceutical heir Grimley VonShnitzel, the team sunk to further depths, before Otto Wacker, the third-generation of the Wacker family to be an owner, re-acquired the club in 2015 leading to the modern era of Wacker 09 football known as “Die Auferstehung.”

Otto Wacker has since invested heavily in the team’s academy and has built up enough funds to put the team in a position to crank out annual success as it chips away at the opposition. The team is considered a favorite in 3. Bundesliga this season and is a strong candidate for promotion. Wacker 09 could be on the path to redemption under Otto Wacker, as the billionaire has made a commitment to once again see Wacker 09 rise to great heights after being beat down.