Borussia Dortmund made club history on the 23. June, 1957. The team of Head Coach Helmut Schneider did what no one has ever achieved before and that is still unmatched today, 60 years later: the team defended their Championship title as the first and only team in the history of German football with the identical line-up as in the previous season.
The final round matches are not played as 1st and 2nd leg matches as in the previous year, instead they are played at a neutral venue. They beat Offfenbacher Kickers 2-1 in Ludwigshafen, then they play 1. FC Kaiserslautern in what is seen as the premature final. Kaiserslautern had provided the German national team with the core of the team that won the World Cup three years before. Borussia win the match 3-2 in a high class game. They then beat Hertha BSC 2-1 in Braunschweig and reach the final.
The final will be played in the Niedersachsenstadion in Hannover on the 13. June, 1957. Head Coach Helmut Schneider names exactly the same team that won the title the year before: Heinrich Kwiatkowski - Wilhelm Burgsmüller, Herbert Sandmann - Elwin Schlebrowski, Max Michallek, Helmut Bracht - Wolfgang Peters, Alfred Preißler, Alfred Kelbassa, Alfred Niepieklo and Helmut Kapitulski. A situation like this has never happened before and it will remain unique in the history of the German Football Championship. There is no place in the team for young German international Alfred "Aki" Schmidt, who had scored some important goals on route to winning the West-German Championship and also in the final round of the Oberliga!
Schmidt (who passed away in November 2016) said many years later: "that was the worst experience I had to go through after the war, because I didn't know why? The football world could not be so cruel, could it?! Without blowing my own trumpet: I was one of the best players in this team - and I wasn't selected."
Even without Schmidt BVB has what it takes to easily beat Hamburger SV 4-1. Both Mal Kelbassa and Niepieklo get a brace. Borussia's team is full of experience and has an average age of 29 years. Experience and maturity mixed with real footballing class. Just before kick-off there is the following dialogue between Borussia's technically gifted defender Max Michallek (34 back then) and his direct opponent Uwe Seeler (20): "so-so Granddad, you're still here, are you?" Max answered: "I'll keep you in check even if I'm 70!", and that is what happened.
The German Champion 1957 is triumphantly welcomed back at the Dortmund main train station similar to the way the team was welcomed back the year before - and at the end of the year they were the first team to be given the title: "Team of the Year". Boris Rupert