Bundesliga promotion 1965: From spectators to dominance

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120 years of FC Bayern - that's 120 years full of triumphs, emotions and passion. On the occasion of the club’s 120th anniversary on 27 February, fcbayern.com looks back on significant moments in the history of the German record champions.

When the Bundesliga was launched on 24 August 1963 as the new, central German football league, FC Bayern could only look on as spectators. 46 teams from four upper leagues and the Berlin city league had applied for the 16 initial places in the new top division. Bayern had to give way to local rivals and current Oberliga Süd champions 1860 Munich, despite fulfilling all the required conditions and having achieved better performances over the previous 12 years.

Another reason to celebrate: Bayern scored 146 times in the regular season; 18 more goals came in the promotion play-offs.

It was a setback that fired the sporting ambition of the Munich side and proved a stroke of good fortune in retrospect. President Wilhelm Neudecker appointed no other than Zlatko “Tschik” Cajkovski for the first season in the newly formed regional league, the FC Köln coach from their 1962 title winning season. However, Bayern had to manage without signing any expensive players due to a tight economic situation.

First season finishes with second place

Out of necessity, the club looked to the youth and relied on homegrown players as well as talented players from the wider Bavarian region. Young players like Franz Beckenbauer, Sepp Maier and Dieter Brenninger moved into the limelight and caused a storm. The Munich team ended their first season in the regional league in second place behind Hessen Kassel. In the subsequent promotion play-offs, they missed out on promotion to the Bundesliga, finishing just one point behind Borussia Neunkirchen.

Standing tall: Coach Zlatko “Tschik” Cajkovski on the shoulders of his players. Far right is president Wilhelm Neudecker.

The following season it would finally work out with promotion to the top flight. The squad was made even younger for the new season and the average age went down to 22.5. It included 14 players from the Bayern youth team as well as old hands Werner Olk, Rainer Ohlhauser and captain Adi Kunstwadl. The 18-year-old Gerd Müller signed from TSV Nördlingen to strengthen the attack.

FC Bayern storm into the play-offs

With this setup Cajkovski’s “young animals” swept through the season. In 36 league games they scored a remarkable 146 goals, with Ohlhauser (42) and Müller (33) accounting for over half of them. At the back the young Sepp Maier played his part, conceding a mere 0.83 goals per game. At the end of the season, Bayern were champions of the regional league and qualified for the play-offs.

They’ve done it! Gerd Müller and Dieter Brenninger celebrate promotion to the Bundesliga with the fans after the last game in Berlin.

During the play-offs there was no change in Bayern’s hunger for goals and success. With 18 goals and nine points they topped group two ahead of Saarbrücken, Alemannia Aachen and TeBe Berlin. In the last two games against Saarbrücken (5-0) and Berlin (8-0), Cajkovski’s team really turned up the heat and secured the long-desired promotion to the Bundesliga. 55 years later FC Bayern have 29 German titles to their name and occupy a dominant position in German football.

50 years later: The promotion-winning team were honoured at the Allianz Arena in August 2015 to mark the 50-year anniversay.

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