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Dr Werner Wilms and the board today received an unexpected visit from a delegation of players ahead of the championship game against Karlsruher SC. The reason? The board had cunningly chosen precisely this moment to advise Erich Schanko in writing that they were not inclined to extend his contract at the club. Preissler and the players were not happy about this and quite simply set the board the following ultimatum:
”If Erich’s contract is not extended, then we will not be taking the field today!“ Not unexpectedly, Erich duly got his contract extension.
Following their win in the final of the 1956 championship Borussia travelled back to Dortmund by train drunk with joy but still wide awake. The players‘ wives were on board too, of course. But the then board did not find that fact so obvious, because the decision was taken for the players to be presented to their fans without their loved ones. The players rallied around Max Michallek and stood their ground. In turn the board sought to get their own way by engineering it so that the players were all at the front of the carriage, the wives further back. The intention was that the carriage containing the wives would be secretly unhooked off the back of the train before it arrived in Dortmund. The players again saw through this manoeuvre and quickly spread themselves amongst the ladies to thwart the very strange plan.
Bobby Charlton, one of the most important figures in World football in this century, was simply the highlight of the 16th fan-gathering on the ”Alten Markt“. Ahead of the Champions League game between BVB and Man Utd (1-0 to United) he called for the fans of both teams to ensure that the night would be a celebration of European football. His first visit to Dortmund, albeit as a substitute, was back in November 1956. It was the return leg of the European Cup tie between the same two clubs and took place at the „Rote Erde“ stadium. BVB keeper Kwiatowski has entered the annals of football history as the ’Hero of Manchester‘ for his performance denying the likes of Taylor and co. The return leg in Dortmund ended goalless. Bobby Charlton was one of the few to survive the Munich air crash on 6 February 1958. 21 people lost their lives that day on the runway at Munich airport.
BVB won their first German championship in 1956 with a 4-2 win over Karlsruher SC. Coach Helmut Schneider (who had replaced the legendary ”Bumbas“ Schmidt a year earlier saw his selection (Kwiatowski, Burgsmueller, Sandmann, Schlebrowski, Michallek, Bracht, Peters, Preissler, Kelbassa, Niepieklo and Kapitulski) justify his ideas and bring home the championship bowl to the heartland of football. The title secured entry into the next season’s European Cup for the first time. The following year, and with the same line-up, BVB repeated their championship win this time seeing off a Hamburg SV team including a young Uwe Seeler and Klaus Stuermer with a resounding 4-1 win.