|Deutscher Meister BVB: A look into the history books|
|[20.04.] On 24 June 1956, Borussia Dortmund clinched their first German league title. The Black īnī Yellows defended the trophy a year later with exactly the same team, and in 1963 they won the last German final before the introduction of the Bundesliga. Since then Borussia have won another four domestic championships, in 1995, 1996, 2002 and 2011. Hereīs a short recap of their first six "Meisterschaften".|
German champions at last!
|Hundreds of thousands people in Dortmund celebrate the German champions of 1956.|
Seven years after a 3-2 defeat to VfR Mannheim in what was known as the "heat battle of Stuttgart" (10 July 1949), Westmeister (West Champions) Borussia Dortmund qualified for the domestic final for a second time. They first had to go through a group stage, facing Hamburger SV (North Champions), VfB Stuttgart (runners-up in the south) and Berlinīs Viktoria 98. After an opening 2-0 win at Stuttgart, the Black īnī Yellows were held to a 1-1 draw by Viktoria Berlin at home before crushing HSV 5-0. The "three Alfredos" - Niepieklo, Kelbassa and Preißler - were unstoppable in this match, splitting the goals between them. A 6-0 away win at Viktoria put BVB on course, though a 2-1 defeat at injury-stricken Hamburg jeopardised their chances of reaching the final again. Both clubs went into the final group game on seven points. BVB won their match against Stuttgart 4-1 which, due to a superior goal difference, was enough to book them a place in the final.
That took place in Berlin on 24 June 1956, and Borussia faced surprise finalist Karlsruher SC, though they would have rather met Schalke 04 who had missed the final by 0.07 goals. After KSC took the lead, BVB took control of the match, played some great football and stormed to a 4-2 win through goals from Niepieklo, Kelbassa, Preißler und Peters.
|Adi Preißler with the championship shield.|
A novelty for the ages
|Coach Helmut Schneider|
A year later BVB defended their "Westmeisterschaft" and cruised to the final. Unlike the previous year, the group matches were not played on a double round-robin basis but on neutral terrain. Borussia started the group stage with a 2-1 win over Offenbacher Kickers in Ludwigshafen. In the second game they met Kaiserslautern in Hannover, a match which could also have been a final as Kaiserslautern had a lot of players in their team who had won a World Cup winners medal for Germany three years earlier. It was a great game that ended in a 3-2 win for BVB.
The final took place at the Niedersachsenstadion in Hannover on 13 June 1957. Coach Helmut Schneider fielded the same side that had won the title the previous year: Heinrich Kwiatkowski - Wilhelm Burgsmüller, Herbert Sandmann - Elwin Schlebrowski, Max Michallek, Helmut Bracht - Wolfgang Peters, Alfred Preißler, Alfred Kelbassa, Alfred Niepieklo and Helmut Kapitulski. This was and remains a novelty in the history of German football championships. For Alfred "Aki" Schmidt, a young Germany international who had scored vital goals on the way to the "Westdeutsche Meisterschaft" as well as in the Oberliga campaign, there was no place in the team! In the final Kelbassa and Niepieklo each scored twice to lead BVB to a 4-1 win over Hamburger SV.
The last German final
|A picture from the 1963 final.|
In 1963 Borussia Dortmund reached their fifth German final after 1949, 1956, 1957 and 1961. It was also the last time a German league champion was crowned this way as a year later the Bundesliga was introduced. The 52nd and last final took place at the Stuttgart Neckarstadion on 29 June 1963, and BVB registered a 3-1 win against Cologne who had beaten the Black īnī Yellows in the two regular league matches earlier that season.
The side from the cathedral city, with nine internationals in their squad, were clear favourites. "Not only the weather was hot," remembered Aki Schmidt, BVBīs playmaker at the time. "Cologneīs coach Tschik Cajkowski had fuelled the anticipation ahead of the game by speculating in the media about the margin of victory. We went totally relaxed into the game and prepared without much fuss." Schmidt, who as mentioned before had been denied a winners medal in 1957, was one of the scorers in the 3-0 win, the other two goals came from Kurrat and Wosab.
Hitzfeld arrives at Borsigplatz
|Championship-winning coach Ottmar Hitzfeld|
The DFB Cup triumph in 1989 awakened Borussia Dortmund from their slumber. Two years later a new coach came to Borsigplatz: Ottmar Hitzfeld. At his helm, BVB returned to the top of the table, and in the season finale of 1991/1992 were only a few minutes shy of clinching the Bundesliga title. A year later Borussia then stormed into the UEFA Cup final, and because all of the other German clubs went out of Europe early that year, they not only gained reputation but above all a lot of money.
After a year of transition Hitzfeld succeeded in molding well-known players into a team that started the season with a three wins in a week (4-0 against 1860 Munich, 6-1 at Cologne and 2-1 against joint favourites Kaiserslautern) and were later crowned autumn champions, and yet, due to an unbelievable string of injury blows, looked to finish the season empty-handed. Werder Bremen took over top spot from BVB after beating the Black īnī Yellows 3-1 in week 29, and looked certain champions. But in the last match of the season Werder lost at Bayern while BVB, thanks to goals from Möller and Ricken, celebrated a 2-0 win over HSV, the return to the top of the table and so the Bundesliga title.
BVB defend their title again
|Michael Zorc was BVBs top scorer in 1995 as well as 1996.|
Itīs difficult to win a title, but to defend a title is a lot more difficult. Borussia Dortmund went through this experience in the 1995/1996 season. That they still found themselves at the top of the Bundesliga after 34 games played makes it all the more remarkable. The side, which had been strengthened again, failed to win any of their first three games before going on an unbeaten run that lasted until week 20 of the season. It started with a 3-2 defeat against Rostock, and ended with 2-1 defeat against the same opponents. Bayern Munich led the table for much of the season, but on "Super Tuesday", 7 May 1996, when Bayern had to play a postponed match at Bremen and Dortmund were due to play their rescheduled fixture from week 19 against Leverkusen, the Bundesliga saw a change at the top of the standings. Bayern lost 3-2 after leading 2-0 while Borussia picked up a 2-0 win, and the Black īnī Yellows went on to seal the title with a 2-2 draw at 1860 Munich with a game to spare.
A dream start and an amazing finale to the season
|Koller and Amoroso celebrate the 4-3 win at Hamburg. [pictures: archive, firo]|
The proceeds from the clubīs initial public offering in October 2000 were invested to a large part in the squad. BVB were labelled "team of the future" which might explain their fluctuating performances in the 2001/2002 season. It was really a rollercoaster of a season which had begun with their best start to a campaign ever (four wins, 10-0 goals). After a 1-0 defeat at Kaiserslautern in week 31, three games before the end of the season, BVBīs general manager Michael Meier already congratulated Bayer Leverkusen, who at that time had established a five-point lead at the top, for winning the league. With Bayern breathing closely down their neck, BVB decided to narrow their focus on a direct Champions League spot.
But things turned out differently. In a breath-taking finish to the season BVB managed to climb back to the top with a last-gasp win over Cologne and a 4-3 victory at Hamburg while Leverkusen crashed to defeats against Bremen and Nuremberg. At half-time (1-1) in the last match against Werder, BVB were pushed down to third place again before Ewerthon, only 43 seconds after coming on, steered a Dede cross home with an acrobatic strike to seal the 2-1 win and Borussiaīs sixth German league title.