Saturday, March 31, 2012

The top was slightly different this season. Bayern and Borussia (Moenchengladbach) naturally, but two other clubs joined the masters, fueling new hopes for a third grand German club: 1. FC Koln and Hamburger SV. Neither was a newcomer – in fact, both clubs traditionally dwelling in the upper part of Bundesliga, but without being real contenders. 1. FC Koln may be underperformed a bit in the last few seasons, considering the players in the squad. Or may be the team as slowly building momentum – it has been mostly Overath and Weber at the beginning of the 1970s, but by 1975 there were Flohe, Cullmann, already World champions, and young talent, like Dieter Muller and Schumacher. The rest was solid professionals, of course: Konopka, Glowacz, Welz. The builder of the great Bayern – Zlatko Cajkovski – was coaching them. Koln finished 4th , just a point behind Bayern, but with better defensive record than the European champions.
Ascending Koln, still a bit shaky, but just wait a bit!
Bayern finished 3rd, which by now was supposed to be disappointing weak year. A crisis may be? There was something unusual in the 1975 transfers – Bayern got big number young unknowns: only the left full back Horsmann was relatively familiar. On one hand, it looked like Bayern was going to play its usual team, making sure that the stars would have no competition. On the other hand, it looked like start of make-over: the stars were aging and may be new blood was to replace them. Unknown players? Well, back in 1965 Bayern was full of unknowns – some guys named Beckenbauer, Maier, Muller… so may be new team was coming? Well, the summer of 1975 provided for speculations. Then reality settled down… Dettmar Cramer used the same familiar squad. It was clear that the new boys were fluff… Marek, Mamajewski, Kaszor, Arbinger, Ober, Seneca, Agatha… they hardly ever played and were to disappear without a trace. Even Horsman, who lasted a few years, was unable to establish himself as a starter, let alone becoming a star. Bayern was experienced, but dangerously aging squad. It looked tired already. Expect Rummenigre, there was not a single youngster capable of relieving the stars. Hoeness was out of form and increasingly troubled by injuries – and he was more or less the future of Bayern, the player, around whom a new team was eventually to be formed. A bleak season and major troubles in near future…
Hamburger SV was just the opposite – after many weak years followed the retirement of Uwe Seeler, finally HSV was going up. They finished 2nd and it was not even the best moment of the year.
Kuno Klotzer built his team somewhat unusually – the best German clubs were built with bunch youngsters, gradually becoming superstars. New additions tended also to be young unknowns. Klotzer preffered different approach: he shrewdly endured the dark years after the retirement of Seeler, keeping skeleton of players who never became first-rate stars. By 1975 Nogly, Volkert, Zaczyk, Hidien, Reimann, Ripp were vastly experienced and no longer young, yet, they were not among the top West German players. Young talent was infused of course – Kargus and Kaltz most notably – but oldish well known names were more likely to be bought for reinforcement. Horst Blankenburg was bought from Ajax (Amsterdam) in 1975. May be because of his practice Klotzer did not become really famous coach like Weisweiller, Zebec, Cajkovski, Cramer, Latteck, but he managed to rebuild ailing HSV and to reverse the decline. Sceptics were slow to hail Hamburger SV yet, although the season was particularly strong: HSV reached the Cup final and confidently prevailed over 1. FC Kaiserslautern 2-0.
Fresh Cup winners, from left: Nogly, Kargus, Kaltz, Blankenburg, Reimann, Volkert, Memering, Bjornmose, Hidien, Zaczyk, Eigl.
It was the first trophy won by Hamburger SV since 1963. It was their first success during the existence of the Bundesliga. May be the injection of Ajax spirit was the real reason… Horst Blankenburg, just like the rest of his former teammates, was not done with winning just because he was no longer playing for Ajax. He came – and HSV had fantastic season. Was it Ajax spirit or not – who knows? HSV was to buy one more player from Ajax soon – and win again. Sky was the limit… the great years of Hamburger SV were just beginning with players who were not seen as the bright future of West German football, save for Kaltz and Kargus.