Now that the regular season has made way for Silly Season, which has taken over most coverage on football websites, it is always nice to take a break from the madness of endless rumors and announcements. I’ve decided to start a BFW Series which I’ve named “Five games that defined a decade.” In this six-part series, I will write about the history of Bayern Munich, starting with the 60s and ending with the 2010s.
Studying history has always been a part of my life. Whether it was reading my dad’s old Kicker magazines from the 1970s and 1980s or studying it at university, it has always been the subject I’ve enjoyed the most. I hope this series will educate and bring joy and nostalgia to the people reading it.
Before Bayern’s first-ever Bundesliga game:
The Bundesliga was formed in 1963, when the league authorities decided to merge the five Oberligen (Premier Leagues) that existed in West Germany. The founders wanted to create a German league modeled on the long-established English league. There were many reasons for this, but the primary objective of the newly formed league was arguably to improve the German national team. The Nationalmannschaft had a bad 1962 World Cup in Chile, where they were knocked out in the quarterfinals after losing 0-1 to Yugoslavia.
Sixteen teams were selected based on their success in their respective Oberliga, their economic situation, and a fair representation of the five leagues. In the very first Bundesliga season, 1963-1964, Bayern Munich was not selected. The authorities wanted only one Munich club to be part of the newly-created top flight. They choose 1860 Munich instead, since the Die Löwen had won Oberliga Süd in 1962-1963.
This didn’t stop the Bayern president to sign Zlatko “Čik” Čajkovski, a former Yugoslav World Cup player in 1950 and 1954, who had found success at 1.FC Köln when the team won the 1962 Oberliga West.
Bayern won the Regionalliga Süd in 1965 and gained promotion to the first league for the first time. It almost seems like an act of fate that their first-ever Bundesliga game was against their city rivals: 1860 Munich.
1. 1860 Munich 1-0 FC Bayern Munich, August 14, 1965
The first-ever Munich derby was contested in September 1902. Bayern won most of its first games against 1860 and was considered the more successful side. During the Nazi era, however, all this changed. Bayern suffered when many Jewish members, such as Kurt Landauer, were forced to leave the club. 1860 enjoyed greater success during the wartime period, since they were less affected by the application of the “Aryan paragraph.”
After the Second World War, other Munich-based teams declined in importance. This only increased the rivalry between 1860 and Bayern. 1860 Munich had finished 7th and 4th in the first two seasons of the newly created Bundesliga. Bayern’s newly promoted team was a young, exciting group of talents with an average age of 22. The star of the team was a 20-year-old sweeper named Franz Beckenbauer. Another talent was a 21-year-old goalkeeper who picked up the nickname Die Katze von Anzing — “the cat from Anzing” — Sepp Maier. Another talent was the 20-year old striker Gerhard “Gerd” Müller, who scored 15 goals in his first Bundesliga season, the same tally as one of his striker partners, Rainer Ohlhauser.
But Bayern’s first game in the Bundesliga could not have gotten off to a worse start. In the very first minute, Timo Konietzka scored for the 1860, and it was the only goal of the match. The game was played at the Grünwalder Stadion, where both 1860 and Bayern played their home games. Despite the disappointing start, Bayern reached the third place in the league. 1860 Munich won their first and only Bundesliga title. It was enough for Munich to be labeled as the new football capital of Germany.
Fun, random fact about the 1965/66 season: it featured SC Tasmania 1900 Berlin, a team who managed to win only 8 points (it would be 10 under today’s system) in 34 games! They scored 15 goals... and conceded 108.
2. MSV Duisburg 2-4 FC Bayern Munich, June 4, 1966
Third place as newcomers was enough to declare the 1965/66 season a great one, but the fact that Bayern reached the DFB-Pokal final made the season one of Bayern’s best to date. The venue was Waldstadion in Frankfurt. Bayern had already won the DFB-Pokal in its 5th edition in 1957, beating Fortuna Düsseldorf 1-0 in Augsburg.
Both teams played in a 2-3-5 formation. The game was an exciting one, as it became the third highest-scoring DFB Pokal game of all time. Two penalties were awarded, one to each team. Duisburg took the lead, lost it, and equalized in the 72nd minute, only to concede in the 77th and 82nd. Franz Beckenbauer scored the last goal and Bayern celebrated their second DFB title in front of 60,000.
3. Bayern Munich 1-0 Glasgow Rangers, May 31, 1967
The Golden Years had begun (1965—78). Bayern’s victory in the DFB Pokal meant that they were qualified for the European Cup Winners Cup. The UEFA competition was held annually between the most recent winners of all European domestic cup competitions. The final tournament was held in 1998-99 after which it was absorbed into the UEFA Cup which later in 2009 was rebranded as the Europa League.
The match took place at the Städtisches Stadion in Nuremberg in front of a crowd of 69,480. The 1966/67 edition had no group-stage but rather only knock-out rounds that were decided in two ties. On the way to the final, Bayern had eliminated teams such as Tatran Presov from the Czech Republic, Shamrock Rovers from Ireland, Rapid Wien from Austria and Standard Liege from Belgium.
The match in Nuremberg was goalless after 90 minutes. The thousands of Scots who had traveled to Nuremberg were frustrated as the Glaswegian side dominated the first half and even had a goal disallowed during the first 90 minutes. Zlatko “Čik” Čajkovski was famous for his defensive tactical acumen, and Bayern’s superb defense won them the game.
The only goal of the game came in the 109th minute when the new signing Franz “Bulle” Roth scored with a creative volley. “Bulle” Roth became a cult-figure for Bayern because of his ability to score crucial goals in different finals. His goal against Rangers gave Bayern their first international trophy.
4. Hamburg SV 0-4 FC Bayern Munich, June 10, 1967
Bayern became the third club to defend the German Cup title when they battered Hamburg at the Neckarstadion in Stuttgart. On the way to the final Bayern beat Hertha Berlin, SpVgg Erkenschwick, and Schalke 04, and in the semi-final Bayern won over their city rivals 1860 Munich 3-1.
In Stuttgart, the successful striker partnership of Gerd Müller and Rainer Ohlhauser won Bayern the game with a combined three goals. Müller gave Bayern the lead in the 23rd minute, Ohlhauser increased the lead in the 72nd and Müller got his double in the 76th. Dieter Brenninger, Bayern’s left-winger in the 4-2-4 formation, scored the last goal on a penalty in the 85th minute. Even though Bayern only came 6th in the league, the European Cup Winners Cup title and the DFB Pokal title was enough for Bayern to establish themselves as an emerging German powerhouse.
5. Bayern Munich 2-1 Hannover 96, June 7, 1969
The 1967/68 campaign was not as promising as the previous season. Bayern came 5th in the league and was knocked out in the semi-finals of both the DFB Pokal and the European Cup Winners Cup.
Before the 1968/69 season, Bayern hired their former international player of Čajkovski, Branko Zebec as manager. Zebec’s strict approach off the pitch brought discipline on the pitch. Beckenbauer later recalled that Zebec molded the Bayern team in a new style. The result was more professionalism, order, and discipline in the Bayern squad. Bayern, astonishingly, used only thirteen players the whole season, epitomizing Zebec’s approach.
Bayern still relied on the core of Maier, Beckenbauer, and Müller. Der Bomber scored thirty goals that season, and Bayern, who had been at the first place all season, all but secured the title when they drew 1-1 with Alemania Aachen on matchday 27.
In the last game of the season, Bayern won against Hannover 96 with 2-1. After Hannover took the lead, Müller scored twice to ensure Bayern won the league in front of their own fans by an eight-point margin. A week later, Bayern completed the double as they beat Schalke in the DFB Pokal.
48 years ago today we won our very first @Bundesliga_EN title! pic.twitter.com/3mAw2aUsdi— FC Bayern US (@FCBayernUS) June 7, 2017
Stay tuned for the next edition, which will cover Bayern’s famous 1970s, which is today still considered to be the most successful decade in the Bavarian giant’s history!