Monday, August 15, 2011

Of course the real strength of German football was the Bundesliga and by 1975 it was arguably the best championship in the world. Unlike the other big European domestic leagues West Germany lacked the thrill of derbies and also lacked large number of potential candidates for the title. Bundesliga was not unpredictable as the English club football. It did not have the massive clash of mighty traditional enemies as in Italy and Spain. In terms of competition Bundesliga was more like the smaller European leagues: dominated by 2 clubs. It was also similar to France – most cities were represented by only one club, thus, local derbies were absent. Also absent was the clash between cities, regions, and social classes. There was nothing like Manchester United vs Manchester City, Barcelona vs Real Madrid, Juventus vs Milan, Ajax vs Feyenoord. Bayern – Borussia Moenchengladbach was paling in comparison and this was the closest West Germany had as a derby – other cities somewhat weakened and second clubs of the same city were never strong enough to make for a derby even when playing in the Bundesliga, which was rare. Bayern – TSV Munchen 1860 had original potential for a big derby, but by 1975 TSV Munchen 1860 was a second division club.
West Germany compensated for the lack of traditional thrills with financial stability of the clubs, good pay, thoughtful selections, vanguard training and tactics, and entertaining football. It was fast, attacking, high scoring open football, employing most elements of total football with specific German addition: very physical brand of game, performed by very fit players. The increasing lack of technicality and imagination was compensated by speed and stamina, and avoidance of defensive tactics. Increasingly better players were hired from abroad and by 1975 foreigners were more than willing to play for German clubs – from salaries to football itself, West Germany was attractive.
The success of German football was to be continued by stabilizing the lower levels – thus, introducing the Second professional division, which immediately affected the First as well – the number of relegated clubs was increased from 2 to three.
Wuperttaler SV ended dead last. It was meteoric performance – Wupertteler SV won promotion in 1971 and finished 4th in their first season in the Bundesliga. They immediately played in the UEFA Cup, although the club was not seen as a potential major force in German football. And it was not – downfall followed. In 1974 Wuperttaler SV barely escaped relegation, but in 1975 the inevitable happened and were to taste the new Second division in the next season. Coming out of nowhere and just as quickly returning back to a level more suitable for them.
Perhaps the squad explains best the downfall: not a single even barely recognizable name in it. Wuperttaler SV exited Bundesliga after a weak season – only 2 wins! They never returned.