Bayern Munich – 50 years of Bundesliga football

“It was twenty years ago today, Sgt. Pepper taught the band to play’. But it was fifty years ago today that Bayern Munich made it into the Bundesliga and set in motion half a century of trophy winning both at home and abroad.

It was the 26th June 1965 and Bayern Munich knew that a win over Tennis Borussia Berlin would seal their long-awaited promotion to the top-tier of German football. The wrong they felt had been done, by denying them a place in the debut Bundesliga season, was to be rectified.

Let us in

The letter that arrived at the club back in May 1963 informing them that they wouldn’t be admitted to the newly formed Bundesliga on the grounds that “there would be no place for two clubs from the same town or city” (meaning rivals 1860 took their place) was a hammer blow.

They had finished consecutively third in the Oberliga Süd and had one of the highest attendance figures to boot. The snub was hard to take. Never mind, it was up to the club to earn access to the top flight on merit.

The 1963/64 season saw Bayern finish as runners-up to Hessen Kassel in the Regionalliga Süd meaning they had to enter the promotion play-offs. They were unfortunately edged out by Borussia Neunkirchen, meaning another season in the Regionalliga.

The triumphant 1964/65 season

The 64/65 campaign was the first season that a certain Gerd Müller was in the Bayern line-up. That said it took 11 games before the Bayern hierarchy, disappointed in a lack of goals, ‘suggested’ to coach Tschik Cajkovski that the striker should be given a chance. It was a good move with ‘kleines dickes Müller’ (short, fat Müller) scoring 32 goals in 26 games (a sign of things to come). Rainer Ohlhauser ended as the league’s top scorer with 42 goals.

Bayern led the table by five points by the end of January 1965 but then stumbled after taking just six points from twelve while rivals SSV Reutlingen won game after game to regain top spot by matchday 31. However, a 3-0 away win at their nearest rivals swung the momentum Bayern’s way and the Bavarians sealed the Championship with a convincing 6-1 victory over FC 1896 Pforzheim on the last game of the season.

Bayern finished as champions, three points ahead of SSV Reutlingen, sending them into the play-offs once more. The Bavarians had racked up some high scoring wins throughout the season (10-0 v Emmendingen and Darmstadt 98, 11-2 v Freiburg, and 9-1 v Ulm).

The play-offs saw the Bavarians win four, draw one and lose once meaning they pipped 1FC Saarbrücken, Alemania Aachen, and Tennis Borussia Berlin to the promotion berth.

But it was the 8-0 win over Borussia in Berlin that ultimately clinched access to the ‘Promised Land’ and brought about today’s historic anniversary. In front of a crowd of 15,000, goals from Ohlhauser (4), Müller, Nafziger (2) and Brenninger clinched a vital win and set about a chain of events that would set Bundesliga records over the proceeding 50 years.

The 1964/65 promotion squad: (games/goals)

Ohlhauser (36/42), Nafziger (36/13), Maier 36/0), Kunstwadl (34/1), Kupferschmidt (34/1), Beckenbauer (31/16), Koulmann (31/9), Olk (29/0), Brenninger (27/11), Müller (26/32), Schneider (26/6), Drescher (21/7), Borutta (13/1), Grosser (5/3), Schwalm (3/1), Werner (3/0), Wodarczik (3/0), Mokosch (2/0).

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Mathew Burt

A year spent living in Bremen got Mathew hooked on the Bundesliga with regular visits to the Weser Stadion getting in the way of his studies. Back in the UK now, he still keenly follows the Grün-Weißen and German football in general. Follow him on Twitter @matburt74.