“Only in Suxdorf,” say the faithful of the aqua-green and white club with puce trim. Hailing from Schleswig-Holstein in northern Germany, near the border of Denmark, the Baltic club SV Suxdorf is famous for implausibly clinging to a Bundesliga berth and escaping relegation for decades on end.
Fans of SV Suxdorf have come to expect nothing less than survival (but also not much more). The team with the puce trim has shown a knack for late season wins and playing spoiler to other clubs. And 2nd Bundesliga clubs fighting for promotion prefer to meet anyone other than the “Suxxors” in the relegation playoff match: despite playing in a record number of relegation playoffs, Suxdorf has never lost one.
Suxdorf has suffered relegation only twice, each time finishing dead last after winning the Bundesliga just the season before. Both times, it took years of fourteenth and fifteenth-place finishes in the 2nd Bundesliga before the Suxxors were back.
Suxdorfer Sportverein für Leichtathletik und Ballsport 1919
SV Suxdorf began its history as the “Suxdorfer sport club for light athletics and ball sports est. 1919” in the aftermath of World War I. It was a timely move. Under the early Weimar Republic, the club’s value skyrocketed an astounding 107.25 billion Marks — but in the hyperinflationary chaos of the 1920s, the club’s leadership unwisely invested it all in a bag of soccer balls, some of which were flat. It would be years before the club recovered.
During the Nazi era, the Suxdörpler (in the local dialect) served largely as a punching bag for the more aggressive teams in the Nordmark division of the Gauliga, never finishing higher than seventh, but also somehow managing to avoid relegation.
The club suffered its worst defeat in 1944, when the club was beaten by Nordmark Rekordmeister Eimsbütteler TV 14-1 at home, conceding four own-goals. Goalkeeper Rupert “One Eye” Hosenkrieger controversially scored Suxdorf’s only goal from fifty meters out while Eimsbütteler’s midfielders were taunting striker Werner Dreckenschieber. Eimsbütteler retaliated after the match by kicking all of Suxdorf’s balls into the Baltic Sea.
“Die kaputte Uhr”: twice right in fifty years
After the creation of the Bundesliga, the club on the Baltic, now known simply as SV Suxdorf, spectacularly captured the championship in just its second season, 1964-65. Suxdorf has been chasing that elusive glory almost ever since. The 1964-65 team brought an improbable combination of grit and completely unexpected Fußball-ing skill: led by attacking midfielder Herbert “Halilali” Funkelbauer, then just 18, Suxdorf stunningly clinched the league with two games to spare.
The drop was swift: the board had somehow signed Halilali only through 1965; after the season, he promptly transferred to FSV Bretzenhütte and went on to become one of Germany’s all-time greats. While Funkelbauer plied his trade with the “Pretzels,” Suxdorf plummeted. They finished the next season dead last and kicked around the 2nd Bundesliga for a decade before another equally unanticipated good season saw them reclaim a place in the top tier.
After winning promotion in 1976, Suxdorf was back in business. And that business stank: the Suxdörpler strung together an almost unbroken string of completely forgettable seasons until the late 1990s, when the club unwittingly hired a young and, at the time, completely unknown coach named Agosto Stortabaffi.
For four magical seasons under Stortabaffi’s leadership, the club rocketed up the Bundesliga table, finishing 8th in 1998, 4th in 1999, 2nd in 2000, and, for just the second time in its history, winning the Bundesliga championship in the 2000-01 season, edging out runner-up RRK 90 Luty-Gland by 7 points. The quirky Italian Stortabaffi’s tactics were utterly inscrutable, but one thing was clear: Suxdorf sucked no more.
The post-Stortabaffi era
But time stops for no Mannschaft. Stortabaffi’s contract with Suxdorf ended in the summer of 2001, and he accepted “a new challenge” as the head coach of Ecuador rather than extend. While Stortabaffi led his new team to 2002 World Cup glory, Suxdorf flailed wildly. The team burned through four managers in the 2001-02 season and finished dead last with a grand total of 12 points and a -80 goal difference.
The post-Stortabaffi relegation brought the team two new nicknames. Longtime fans and pundits began to call the club “die kaputte Uhr,” that is, “the broken clock” that had somehow won the league twice despite its heavily lopsided overall losing record. Young fans, meanwhile, took to calling the team “die Suxxors” as Suxdorf fought its way back up from the 2nd Bundesliga yet again.
Promotion came sooner this time around, as a sponsorship deal with Ryanair helped lift the Suxxors above their 2nd division competition. Since rejoining the 1st Bundesliga in 2005, Suxdorf has finished 16th eight times, but it has yet to lose a relegation playoff.
Only in Suxdorf!