Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Inaugural seasons deserve some more words and statistics. Second Bundesliga established itself and went into two changes – the two divisions were amalgamated into one in 1981, the number of the clubs reduced. The unification of Germany led to two divisions again for the 1991-92 season, reduced to the current one in 1992. This format seems final – one group of 18 teams, matching the number of the Bundesliga. Since by their nature second divisions are transitional level, not a single club played all seasons in the Second: 35 years after creation, by the summer of 2009, a total of 121 played in the Second Bundesliga. Fortuna (Koln) played the most seasons – 26. At the other end are clubs surviving only one year in the Second Bundesliga and if Fortuna (Koln) did not play in the very first season, some unfortunates participated only in the inagural season: 4 clubs were to be relegated by rules. From the total 8 relegated clubs from both divisions, 4 never returned to second level football:
From the North,
Olympia Wilhemshaven (17th) and
HSV Barmbeck-Uhlenhorst (20th). From the South:
VfR Heilbronn (17th) and
VfR Mannheim (20th). Hardly clubs to remember, except for VfR Mannheim – they were West German champions in 1949. Sepp Herberger was player of the club as well – surely his name is familiar: he coached the World champions of 1954. Did not help VfR Mannheim in 1975, or ever since…
Among the relegated was another small , unknown club, hopelessly finishing second to last in the North Second Bundesliga:
VfL Wolfsburg were going back to complete obscurity, where they belonged. Speaking of 2009 German champions… suggesting a title in 1975 would have been a fantastic joke. It would be interesting to compare the first season with the one of 2009-10: eight of the ‘founders’ present – Sanct Pauli, Arminia Bielefeld, Alemannia Aachen, Rot Weiss Oberhausen, Karlsruher SC, TSV Munchen 1860, FC Augsburg, and SpVgg Greuter Furth, which used to be simply SpVgg Furth.