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Max Gablonsky: FC Bayern’s first German international and the story of a lost goal

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On 16 May 1911, Max Gablonsky made history as FC Bayern Munich’s first German international player.

Photo by Alex Grimm/Bongarts/Getty Images

Max “Gabrel” Gablonsky created history in becoming FC Bayern Munich’s first German international. Throughout his extensive thirteen-year career in Bavaria, Gablonsky became one of the early influential players at Bayern who laid the foundations of modern Bayern Munich.

At Bayern in its infancy

Gablonsky joined FC Bayern in 1909, nine years into the club’s existence. The nineteen-year old’s attacking talent quickly came to fruition in his first season in Bavaria. Gablonsky commenced his career by winning both the Bavarian and South Bavarian Championship in 1910, narrowly missing out on the Southern German Football Championship to eventual national champions, Karlsruher FV. Replicating the exploits of the previous year, Die Roten secured the Bavarian and South Bavarian Championship, while also finishing as runners-up once again in the Southern German Football Championship.

Gablonsky’s exploits in Bavaria earned the attacker a place as a member of the Association of South German Football Clubs at the Kronprinzenpokal 1910/11. This competition consisted of eight regional federations of the DFB. In the third year of the cup, South Germany reach the final after overcoming Berlin in Frankfurt. Despite scoring against Berlin in the semi-final, Gablonsky was replaced by Karlsruher FC Phönix striker, Karl Wegele. The final in Berlin put on a 140-minute spectacle of football for the five thousand spectators in attendance at the Viktoria-Platz. South Germany were unable to overcome their Northern counterparts, losing 4-2 due to a brace from Ernst Möller.

At the age of twenty, Gablonsky had already established a career in German football. A momentous and historic occasion for the attacker then occurred on May 16, 1910: Max Gablonsky became FC Bayern’s first German international.

A frustrated international debut

Germany’s fixture against Belgium in Duisburg was played against the backdrop of controversy. The Germans were frustrated because the 1910 German Football Championship final was held on 15 May, one day before the international fixture. Germany’s preparation was thus severely limited. Since officials were missing and only seven players arrived in Duisburg, Germany called upon players whose only international cap would be for this game against Belgium. Germany lost 3-0. Gablonsky’s international debut thus commenced with frustration and disappointment.

Gablonsky was a player known his remarkable athletic ability. Two years after making his international debut, he was included in the German 4x100m relay team for the 1912 Olympics in Stockholm. Unfortunately, Gablonsky was ultimately unable to participate in the Olympics.

The striker was able to log over five hundred appearances in his extensive career in Bavaria, as Bayern developed into an established football club with aspirations of glory. During this period of success, Bayern won the Kreisliga (4) and finished as the runner-up in the South German Football Championship.

Representing his country on four occasions, Gablonsky played during an era in which international football was in its developmental stages. His second international appearance would become the pinnacle of his footballing career.

A misattributed goal

Germany versus Switzerland on March 26, 1911, saw the attacker score his first and only goal for his country. But that was not what went into the record book: the goal was attributed instead to Gottfried Fuchs. In the later stages of the Second World War, allied forces carried out a bombing campaign of Munich and the surrounding area. In the aftermath, Gablonsky’s personal documents were destroyed apart from one important piece: a short-handwritten piece documenting his goal against Switzerland.

Max Gablonsky’s passed away in 1969. Long after his death, his son Han Georg, alongside employees of the FC Bayern Erlebniswelt, sought to uncover the truth and correct the history books. In 2011, one hundred years after the fixture took place, Han Georg’s efforts in memory of his father were finally rewarded. Befitting of a player who contributed so much in the early years of football in Germany, Max Gablonsky was officially credited for his ninetieth-minute goal against Switzerland.