SC Preußen Münster are a team based in the North Rhine-Westphalia region now playing in 3. Liga. Once upon a time, (1963 to be specific), though, they were one of the sixteen teams tabbed to inaugurate the Bundesliga. Although they currently play in 3. Liga, the club has an interesting history of ups and downs, with one of the high points of the club’s legacy being a German championship final appearance in 1951. Preußen Münster are indeed one of German football’s forgotten teams.
Münster is a city with origins dating back to the time of Charlemagne and is located in the North Rhine-Westphalia region. By 850 AD, its first cathedral was completed and in the Middle Ages was a member of the Hanseatic League, fostering trade among cities along the coasts of Northern Europe. Today Münster has a population of 270,000 and a very large student population bulging to almost 50,000 in number. The city is famed as the location for the signing of the Peace of Westphalia in 1648 and for its bicycle-friendly atmosphere that has earned it moniker of “bicycle capital of Germany.” Within fifty miles of Münster lie the home parks of such football clubs as Borussia Dortmund, Arminia Bielefeld, VfL Osnabrück and 2010 Dutch champions FC Twente.
SC Preußen Münster traces its beginnings to 1906 as they formed under the moniker of SC Preußen. They became known as SC Preußen Münster in 1921, and were playing second division football by 1928. By 1933, the club were members of the Gauliga Westfallen as the Third Reich re-organized German club football into sixteen top-tier leagues. Münster were not largely successful during this period and dropped out of first tier football until the end of World War II.
Die Adler (The Eagles), however, climbed back to the Oberliga West in time for the 1948-1949 season. Their rise was not without controversey though, as Preußen Münster were the first German club to build a team by purchasing players. This departure from the “purity” of amateur football caused concern from old-school fans, but the success of the club’s ” Hundred Thousand Mark Line” was difficult to ignore as professionalism became more acceptable and widespread and the ideal of amateurism at the top level of club football was beginning to die out in Germany as it had throughout Europe.
In 1951, Preußen Münster hit one of the high-water marks in its history, as their earlier decision to purchase players resulted in the club making it all the way to the German finals. In Berlin they met Kaiserslautern led by the incomparable Fritz Walter and his younger brother, Ottmar. (Fritz Walter was also the German National team captain under Coach Sepp Herberger and led the national team to their first World Cup title in 1954, which is often referred to as the Miracle of Bern). While SC Preußen Münster fell 2-1 against the Red Devils in the 1951 final in front of a crowd of over 100,000 at Berlin’s Olympicstadion, it certainly could be no cause for shame to lose to such an outstanding Kaiserslautern side. Three other Red Devils in addition to the Walter brothers would take place three years later in the Miracle of Bern.
The next decade saw Münster play in the competitive Oberliga West, and although they won no hardware, the team did play well enough to be included, with four other Oberliga West clubs, as one of the original clubs playing in the inaugural edition of the 16 team Bundesliga in 1963.
Preußen Münster’s debut match in the newly formed league was played on Saturday, August 24, 1963 against a highly-touted Hamburg side featuing Uwe Seeler at the Preussenstadion. Led by Coach Richard Schneider and played before a capacity crowd of 38,000, the fans in attendance witnessed a scoreless first half, Münster got on the scoreboard first on a goal by midfielder Falk Dorr in the 72nd minute before HSV equalized eight minutes later from Gert Dörfel. The match ended in a 1-1 draw. Considering their opponent it was a good first step for Preußen Münster.
The last day of August, 1963 saw Münster play their first Bundesliga away match against Eintracht Braunschweig, where a 15th minute goal by 23 year-old Jürgen Minor held up as Braunschweig ‘s Hans Jacker recorded the clean sheet in front of 27,000 fans in handing Münster their first league defeat. The Eagles rebounded on MatchDay 3, winning at home 4-2 over Meidemricher SV (the club currently known as MSV Duisburg). Preußen Münster striker Hermann Lulka scored the first three goals of the match against a club that would finish runner-up to FC Koln in the inaugural Bundesliga table.
SC Preußen Münster had only suffered one defeat after their first six Bundesliga matches as they sandwiched draws against Nürnberg and Kaiserslautern around a 4-2 win over Stuttgart. After six matches, Münster were in the7th spot in the table, and showed no signs of being threatened by relegation, sporting a +3 goal differential.
MatchDay 7 of the 30 game season saw Münster’s first home loss. After taking a 1-0 lead into intermission on a Manfred Pohlschmidt goal, the yellow-blacks came back with two second half scores to defeat Münster 2-1. The next week Münster was shut out by eventual champions FC Köln 2-0., and were unable to gain victory in their remaining even matches of the season’s first half, with only three draws keeping them from complete ruin.
The second half of the season began on the wrong foot as Hamburg slapped down Münste 5-0 at the Volksparkstadion, with Uwe Seeler scoring three goals. Seeler also became the league’s top goalscorer that year. The loss placed the Eagles firmly in the relegation zone, as only 1. FC Saarbrücken ‘s poor season kept Münster from the league cellar. Still, at this point Münster were only two points behind Karlsruhe from safety (in this era a win only counted for two points).
Münster did get a win on MatchDay 20 (february 15, 1964) against Stuttgart, taking both season matches from the Swabians, and followed up with a win over Kaiseerslautern and a scoreless draw with Dortmund.. But big, bad FC Koln came to town on March 7 and ended Munster’s nice little run with a 2-0 win. Munster suffered another loss, 3-1, the following week against 1860 Munich as the Bavarians scored three second half goals to erase Munster’s first half lead. At that point, with six matches remaining, Muster clung to the safety of 14th place, only two points from relegation ahead of a Hertha Berlin squad that had two games in hand.
A draw and wins over Saarbrücken and Schalke yielded no ground gained for Münster as Hertha Berlin drew level in points. Unfortunately for the Eagles, they lost their next two matches against Eintracht Frankfurt and Werder Bremen and the team would be demoted. In their last Bundesliga match, Münster did rebound to defeat Hertha Berlin 4-2, but ended up one point shy of HSC in the standings. Only 3000 fans showed up for Münster’s last Bundesliga home game.
Preussen Münster finished last in league scoring 34 goals in 30 matches, while champions FC Köln scored 78 times. Hermann Lulka led the Eagles with nine goals, while Manfred Rummel added seven. In comparison, Uwe Seeler led the league with 30 goals, one per match, ten more than runnerup Timo Konietzka of Borussia Dortmund.
Since that 1963-1964 season, Münster have never played again in the top tier. They’ve bounced between 2nd division and fourth division play. Ironically, the first German club to openly embrace professionalism won the 1994 German amateur championship, and are currently in 3. Liga.
Preussen Münster Fun Facts
– Football made its debut on German radio in November 1925 with the broadcast of part of the game between Münster and Arminia Bielefeld.
– On the first ever day of Bundesliga play on 24 August 1963, Preussen Münster’s game against Hamburg was the only complete sell out. The team earned another broadcasting first as this was also the first recorded Bundesliga match. The contest ended in a 1:1 draw.
– Preußen Münster are the only founding member of Bundesliga who only played for one season in Bundesliga.
– Current Bundesliga Christian Pander (Hannover), Sebastian Langkamp (Augsburg) and Cristoph Metzelder (Schalke) came up in Preussen Münster youth system, and Metzelder played for the senior Münster squad. Metzelder’s younger brother, who’s been at FC Ingolstadt since 2007, also came up in the Münster youth system.
– Turkish striker Sercan Güvenisik, 31, left in January,2011 on a transfer to MLS side San Jose for an undisclosed amount. The German-born Turk had two stints with Preußen Münster, scoring a total of 20 goals in 67 matches and also played for MSV Duisburg, SC Paderborn, RW Essen and FC Carl Zeiss Jena.
-Jonathan Beaulieu-Bourgault is a Canadian international who currently plays for the Eagles. The Montreal native has earned six Canadian national team caps and has played over 50 matches for Münster since 2010.