Saturday, August 20, 2011

The disgrace of VfB Stuttgart brings the question of the possible third big German club. Internationally, West German football ranked best. It was natural to produce more than two top clubs – which so far did not happen. Instead, something different happened – the champions of the early years of the Bundesliga not only did not repeat their first success, but rapidly faded. Only the ‘newcomers’ – Bayern and Borussia M – got better and stable. There was to be at least more great club, though… in the early 1970s Schalke 04 was on the verge of greatness. The flight was cut short by the bribing scandal in 1971 and although penalties were short, and by 1975 every guilty player was already on the pitch, Schalke 04 not only did not recover, but was entering a crisis. The search continued, alas, year after year there was a club playing well one season only to disappoint the next. However, there was hope in 1975 – Hertha finished 2nd; Eintracht Frankfurt – 3rd; Hamburger SV – 4th; 1. FC Koln – 5th; and Fortuna Dusseldorf – 6th. Sifting them carefully, potential third strong club was more than possible.
Perhaps not Hertha. It was hoped that the West Berliners would be strong, but they had checkered history so far – even relegation. Not it looked like they were rising, but it was too early to be sure.
It was still unshaped team – solid, yet, not stellar players. The seeds of better team were the Swede Magnusson, the former German national goalkeeper Wolter, and the increasingly getting better striker Beer, already attracting the eye of Helmut Schon. But it was a team in need of acquiring more top players and shaping into stronger squad. Probably in few years time; not now.