Saturday, August 13, 2011

Second division teams are hardly full of famous players and inaugural seasons usually are not having any recognizable names, but trivia is trivia too… After many years in Italy, Helmut Haller, one of the greatest players of the 1960s, returned home and joined FC Augsburg. Thus, Haller became to be the first big-name player in the Second Bundesliga.
35 years old and fat, after 10 years playing for Bolgna and Juventus, and after 3 World Cup tournaments, Haller went ‘up’ to 2nd Division football… he returned to his native club FC Augsburg in 1973 and in 1974 was ‘promoted’ to Second Bundesliga. Haller was not thinking of quitting yet – he added one more low club, BSV Schwenningen in 1976-77, before returning again to FC Augsburg, where finally retired in 1979 at 40 years of age. The great player was not really up to his old form anymore and his presence helped FC Augsburg only to 12th place in the 1974-75.
Foreign players were playing in Second Bundesliga, but they were as little known as the Germans playing down there. Except for two, who played at the World Cup 1974: Henri Francillon, the goalkeeper of Haiti, and now TSV Munchen 1860 player, one of the very few blacks in West German football at the time, and
Carlos Babington, the midfielder of Argentina, now 1. FC Saarbrucken player.
TSV Munchen 1860 with easily recognized, if not exactly helpful Haitian goalie Francillon. Just like Haller, neither recent World Cup player elevated their new clubs to success – TSV Munchen 1860 finished 5th and 1. FC Saarbrucken – 7th in the South Second Bundesliga.