Where it all began: Bundesliga Matchday 1, 1963

As the Bundesliga celebrates its 60th anniversary this year, we’ve turned the clock back to the famous afternoon in August 24th, 1963, when the nascent Bundesliga season kicked-off. For the first time there would be a unified national top division replacing the various regional leagues that used to provide the participants for the National Championships finals.

Only five of the original sixteen members of the first Bundesliga season remain in the top flight sixty years later with many fallen giants amongst the original batch of clubs. The original make-up of the Bundesliga wasn’t without controversy as many big clubs were omitted, (Bayern Munich amongst them) in order to make the league a truly national representation.

As is still the case today, the excitement ahead of the debut Bundesliga season was huge and here is what happened on that historic opening weekend 60 years ago…

Werder Bremen 3-2 Borussia Dortmund

BVB’s Timo Konietzka went down in history as the man to score the very first Bundesliga goal when he opened the scoring against Werder Bremen at the Weser Stadion in front of 30,000 supporters in only the first minute of the game.

The home side however recovered from their early setback to score three goals of their own through Willi Soya, Arnold Schütz and Theo Klöckner. A second goal from Konietzka in the 90th minute proved too late to save anything from the match and Bremen opened with a win.

Werder’s coach Willy Multhaup would lead the Grün-Weißen to the league title in the second Bundesliga season and later coach Dortmund to their 1966 European Cup Winners Cup triumph.

FC Saarbrücken 0-2 1FC Köln

Köln would finish the inaugural season as champions and they got things off to a winning start with a 2-0 away win at Saarbrücken. A 19-year-old by the name of Wolfgang Overath opened the scoring on his debut for the club. The future World Cup winner had been suspended for a year after signing professionally from his amateur club Siegburger SV. The Billy Goats also had a previous World Cup winner in their line-up in the shape of Hans Schäfer.

The second goal was scored by Christian Müller in the first half. The home side would ultimately finish bottom of the table and be relegated from the Bundesliga.

1860 Munich 1-1 Eintracht Braunschweig

Bayern Munich had been denied a place in the Bundesliga with neighbours and rivals 1860 deemed the bigger club at the time. The Löwen started with a 1-1 draw at home to Braunschweig at the Stadion an der Grünwalder Straße. Rudolf Brunnenmeier opened the scoring in the 17th minute for the hosts, but a equaliser in the 72nd minute from striker Klaus Gerwien would deny Max Merkel’s side an opening day victory.

Preußen Münster 1-1 Hamburger SV

Original member Hamburg had the longest-running stint in the German top flight until their ultimate relegation in 2018. Back in 1963 they began with a trip to Münster, where they were held to a 1-1 draw.

Surprisingly the opening day would not be celebrated with a goal from HSV’s talisman Uwe Seeler at the Hanseaten had to come from behind to save a point. A second half goal from Falk Dörr looked to have put the hosts on the path to a win, but Gert “Charly” Dörfel equalised with ten minutes left. It would be the first of 114 Bundesliga goals he would score for the club. Münster would become the other side to be relegated come the end of matchday 30.

Karlsruher SC 1-4 Meidericher SV

The biggest win of the opening day came when Meidericher SV put four past Karlsruher in a 4-1 win.  The visitors were 3-0 up by half-time with goals from Werder Krämer, Johann Cichy and Germany’s World Cup hero from 1954, Helmut Rahn, who was in his final season of playing aged 34. Erwin Metzger did pull one back late in the second 45 minutes, only for the visitors to add another of their own with a second for Krämer.

The Zebras would go on to finish second behind Köln in their most successful season , but would lose the DFB Pokal final to a second division side called FC Bayern Munich. In 1967 the club would change its name to MSV Duisburg.

Helmut Rahn scoring for Meidericher SV

Eintracht Frankfurt 1-1 1FC Kaiserslautern

The Adler’s campaign started with a 1-1 draw at home to Kaiserslautern at the Waldstadion. The Bundesliga’s first penalty was awarded to the visitors in the 38th minute with Hans-Jürgen Neumann dispatching the spot-kick. The Bundesliga’s second-ever penalty was then awarded just two minutes later with Frankfurt’s Lothar Schämer firing home the equaliser.

Schalke 2-0 VfB Stuttgart

Schalke were one of German football’s leading lights having won the German Championship on seven occasions, but their real glory years had been back in the 1930’s and 1940’s. The began the first Bundesliga season with a 2-0 win over Stuttgart at the Glückauf-Kampfbahn.

First half goals from Willi Koslowski and Waldemar Gerhardt saw the Königsblauen to a straightforward win. Reinhold ‘Stan’ Libuda was in the line-up and he would later go on to join rivals Borussia Dortmund in 1965 before returning to the club in 1968.

Hertha BSC 1-1 1FC Nürnberg

The capital club began by hosting giants Nürnberg at the Olympiastadion in front of 52,500 fans. Der Club had eight national Championships to their name in 1963 and had had recent success in European competition making the quarter-finals of the European Cup in 1962 and the semi-finals of the Cup Winner’s Cup in 1963.

Club legend Max Morlock would open the scoring just before the break, but Hertha managed to equalise through a Hans-Günter Schimmöller penalty on the hour mark.

About Mathew Burt 1058 Articles
Former writer at Goal.com and JustFootball, I've been doing my thing for Bundesliga Fanatic since 2015. A long-suffering Werder Bremen fan and disciple of the Germanic holy trinity...Bier. Wurst und Fußball