Long overdue promotion

1965: Bayern finally rise to the Bundesliga

26 June 1965 is a big date in Bayern's history, not because the club won the championship, the domestic cup or even a European trophy. Nevertheless, the date is precious because it marked the end of a ferocious two-year battle to gain membership of the Bundesliga. FCB beat Tennis Borussia Berlin 8–0 in the last match of the promotion play-offs and sealed a berth in the national top flight, established two years earlier.

At the time of the league’s foundation in May 1963, Bayern were denied a place in the Bundesliga by the German FA (DFB). To this day, the decision remains controversial. FCB fulfilled all the sporting and financial requirements for the new first division, but were passed over in favour of local rivals TSV 1860.

Bitter and angry, club president Neudecker made it his personal mission to gain promotion to the Bundesliga as soon as possible. He made a star signing to spearhead the effort in the shape of Tschik Cajkovski, the coach who led Köln to the championship in 1962. Cajkovski realised the potential in his new team, insisting not only on a bonus for promotion, but also for sporting success at every conceivable level, including winning a European trophy. Understandably, president Neudecker didn't take the bonus demands especially seriously – or he surely wouldn't have agreed a 1 million Deutschmark payment to the coach for a European triumph.

Cajkovski came up just short in his first season, as FCB missed out on the Bundesliga by a single point in 1963/64. A host of new young players were brought in, as the squad featured 14 of the club’s own youth products and had an average age of just 22.5. In the 42-game 1964/65 season, the skilled and energetic youngsters scored an astonishing 164 goals. Ohlhauser, Gerd Muller, Beckenbauer, Brenninger, Nafziger and Koulmann were the free-scoring stars, with young keeper Sepp Maier keeping numerous clean sheets and finishing with just 0.83 goals against per match. The 8–0 victory against Tennis Borussia at Berlin Olympic Stadium was a worthy finish to an exceptional season.

However, before Bayern ever stepped out onto Bundesliga turf, president Neudecker had some “stepping out" of his own to do, as he walked all the way round Lake Tegernsee supported by 500 members and friends of the club. But why was he obliged to do it? And just two years later, when FCB stunned the footballing world by winning the 1967 European Cup Winners’ Cup, did he really transfer 1 million Deutschmarks to coach Cajkovski? We have all the answers and even more fascinating facts at the FC Bayern Erlebniswelt.