Fiftieth anniversary

Heroes of 1965 recall historic promotion

Increase font size Text size

It is exactly 50 years since Bayern were promoted to the Bundesliga, and 29 June 1965 ranks as an historic day in the famous club’s history. “Our victory back then was as important as winning the Champions League today,” said Dieter Brenninger, who joined fellow players of the time Peter Kupferschmidt, Jakob Drescher and Rudolf Grosser at the FC Bayern Erlebniswelt to recall the momentous events of half a century ago.

The former players reminisced as they watched footage of the decisive match with the original commentary. Football has become faster and more athletic, but the game 50 years ago was just as important as any big clash nowadays. Kupferschmidt, Brenninger, Drescher and Grosser were brimming with pride when they toured the FC Bayern museum. “Back in 1965 we laid the foundations for all this success,” Kupferschmidt said as he surveyed the club’s glittering trophy collection. His team-mate Grosser agreed: “I know of no other club that’s had so much success in the last 50 years.”

The quartet brought not only anecdotes and memories to the Allianz Arena, but also a new exhibit for the FCB Erlebniswelt: the shirt worn by skipper Adi Kunstwadl in the decisive match in Berlin on 26 June 1965. Since a reunion a couple of weeks ago hosted by Kunstwadl, the shirt has been signed by a number of the team. The remaining signatures will be added on 14 August, when the promotion team will be honoured by the club prior to the Bundesliga restart fixture against Hamburg. Drescher is already looking forward to it: “When the team reconvenes and you see your former comrades, it’s a wonderful moment.”

History behind the shirt

The shirt comes complete with a remarkable history. Kunstwadl has never forgotten the moment shortly after the 8-0 victory over Tennis Borussia Berlin, when a euphoric member of the 15,000 crowd raced towards him and asked if he could have the garment. “I said to him: Are you mad?” the former captain relates. However, he warmed to the enthusiastic young fan by the name of Klaus Hartmann: after all, he had hurdled the stone wall at the Olympic Stadium to put his request to his idol. Forty-nine years later, Hartmann has made the historic shirt available to the FC Bayern Erlebniswelt: “An original like this belongs in our museum,” he said.

The shirt worn by Kunstwadl, a Bayern player from 1961 to 1966, is the third from that match on display at the museum, joining Franz Beckenbauer and Gerd Müller’s. “In fact, original shirts from this period are very hard to find,” remarked the Erlebniswelt’s Fabian Raabe. Klaus Hartmann’s gesture is worthy of the highest praise.

The players explained why mementoes of the time are rarities. Brenninger said his shirt was “torn to bits” in the celebrations, and some of the players had lost their boots before they reached the sanctuary of the dressing room. Everything they wore was precious because they were stars and heroes, and it was a pleasure to see the foursome at the FC Bayern club museum.