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50 years in the Bundesliga

Promotion series, part 1: FCB and the Bundesliga

26 June 1965, 17:42, full time at the Olympic Stadium in Berlin, FC Bayern beat Tennis Borussia Berlin 8-0 - done and dusted: FC Bayern are finally promoted to the Bundesliga.

Next Friday is the fiftieth anniversary of that promotion. Looking back at that great achievement, fcbayern.de brings you a five-part series on the rise of FC Bayern as they set out on the road to conquering the world of football, in Germany and across the globe.

Promotion series, part 1: Bayern and the Bundesliga

According to the FCB history published on the club’s 70th anniversary in 1970, 11 May 1963 was “one of FC Bayern’s darkest days.” The German Football Association (DFB) informed the Munich club they would not be in the newly founded Bundesliga. The DFB explained their decision as follows: “At least for the opening season of the Bundesliga” there would be no place for two clubs from the same town or city - and that meant 1860 Munich had priority as the champions of the regional Oberliga South.

“The crushing blow for FC Bayern contained in the letter from the DFB obviously led to a depressed mood at the club. The people of Munich could not make sense of their lot,” reports the FCB history. A 13-page protest letter from club president Wilhelm Neudecker had no effect. Bayern were one of the most successful teams in the Oberliga South, ahead of the Lions in the all-time records. They had also finished third twice in succession (1962 and 1963), and won the DFB Cup in 1957. “We players thought it was bad that the Bundesliga didn’t want us,” reported FCB striker Rainer Ohlhauser, “we felt like we were being overlooked.”

With fire in their bellies, Bayern fought to get into the Bundesliga. In 1963/64 they finished second in the Regional League South to qualify for the promotion play-offs only to lose out unexpectedly as Borussia Neunkirchen edged FCB out of the promotion race. Bayern were disappointed again as they finished one point short thanks to a 2-0 home defeat against Neunkirchen.

In retrospect, Franz Beckenbauer, in his autobiography ‘Gentleman on the Ball’, described the missed promotion as “perhaps being very fortunate” for FC Bayern. “Another season in the Regional League definitely did us young players a power of good.” Coach Zlatko Tschik Cajkovski explained how his players bounced back: “I kept telling them: You are good and nobody in the Bundesliga is playing better and the future belongs to you. The future really did belong to you.”

Part two of the promotion series on Tuesday looks at: FC Bayern 1964/65.