Thursday, 11 March 2021

One Season Wonders - The Seven Clubs Who Each Have Just One Lone Bundesliga Campaign To Their Name

Since the Bundesliga was created in 1963, fifty six teams have played in what is Germany's top flight. Of those 56 sides, some have barely played outside division whilst others have made only fleeting appearances in it. 

Whilst, for example, founding members Hamburger SV lasted 55 seasons in the division before their eventual relegation in 2018, and FC Bayern München, who joined the league in 1965, are now in their 56th straight top flight campaign, Blau-Weiß 1890 Berlin, on the other hand, have managed just one lone season in the Bundesliga.

Blau-Weiß are actually one of seven sides to have just one Bundesliga campaign to their name and, not wanting pick solely on the Berlin minnows, here is a brief look at each of those seven clubs.

SC Preußen Münster (1963-64)

Preußen Münster were inaugural members of the Bundesliga but whist, of course, some of those original 16 clubs hung around in the top flight for quite a while sadly for Münster they did not.

Pre Bundesliga era Münster finished runners up in the German Championship in 1951, losing to 1. FC Kaiserslautern in front of 100,000 spectators in the final in Berlin, but that was as good as it got. When the club joined the newly formed Bundesliga in 1963 they finished second bottom in the leagues first season and were relegated, as yet, never to return.

Münster spent most of the 60s and 70s in the second tier and several times came close to promotion back to the big time but eventually slipped down to the third tier in the early 80s. The club briefly returned to the 2. Bundesliga almost a decade later but have since spent most of their time in the third and fourth tiers. They currently play in the Regionalliga West having been relegated from the 3.Liga last season. 

In 2012 Münster came to prominence when they knocked Bundesliga side Weder Bremen out of the DFB-Pokal by defeating them 4-2 after extra-time in the first round. The club failed to make it past round 2, however, losing to another Bundesliga side in FC Augsburg.

SC Tasmania 1900 Berlin (1965-66)

In 1965, West Berlin's only Bundesliga side, Hertha BSC, had their license revoked and were forcibly relegated for breaking the league's player salary rules with SC Tasmania 1900 Berlin drafted in to replace them. The DFB were, for political reasons, uncomfortable about the idea of not having a Bundesliga team in the divided city at what was the height of the cold war and decided one of the second tier clubs based in the city should replace the disgraced Hertha.

Tennis Borussia Berlin and Spandauer SV both finished above Tasmania, but of the three Tennis Borussia were considered the weakest and Spandauer decided, for financial reasons, they were not interested in joining the top flight leaving Tasmania as the only choice. When Tasmania were finally given the gig it was just two weeks before the season started and with so little time to prepare the odds were seemingly stacked against them.

Despite winning their opening match in front of 81,524 spectators at West Berlin's Olympiastadion, Tasmania would win just two of their 34 league games whilst losing 28 and ending the season with just eight points to their name, a whopping 14 behind the team directly above them in an era of just two points for a win. The club would go on a 31 match winless streak which was and still is Bundesliga record and just one of many unwanted records they would gain that season. Despite drawing huge crowds in the early part of the season they even ended up recording, what is still to this day, the lowest attendance in Bundesliga history when just 827 people turned up to watch their 0-0 draw with Borussia Mönchengladbach.

In 1973 SC Tasmania 1900 Berlin went bankrupt and were reformed as SV Tasmania Berlin. Under their new guise, Tasmania's most successful period started in 1981 when promotion saw ten straight seasons in the third tier. More recently, seven straight seasons in the sixth tier Berlin-Liga ended with promotion to the fifth tier NOFV-Oberliga Nord last time around. They currently play at the very modest Werner-Seelenbinder-Sportpark where 827 is considered a decent turnout. 

The club recently hit the headlines again when FC Schalke 04 came within one game of matching their Bundesliga record of 31 games without a win but Schalke then managed to put four without reply past TSG 1899 Hoffenheim and the record still stands.

Finally, for anyone wondering why the club are named after an island off Australia, it is believed that their name comes from the fact the founders of the original club had wanted to move to Tasmania.

SC Fortuna Köln (1973-74)

Over the years in the city of Cologne, Fortuna Köln always played second fiddle to their big name city rivals 1. FC Köln and whilst FC Köln have 49 Bundesliga campaigns to their name Fortuna have jsut one.

Fortuna finished second bottom of the Bundesliga in 1973-74 with just eight wins to their name, however, they are remembered more for their run to the final of DFB-Pokal nine years later than that, to date, sole top flight appearance.

After defeating Bundesliga side Borussia Mönchengladbach in a quarter final replay, second tier Fortuna reached the 1982-83 DFB-Pokalfinale after a second Bundesliga scalp in which they thrashed Borussia Dortmund 5-0. In the final Fortuna would face none other than city rivals FC Köln and the match was moved to FC Köln's Müngersdorfer Stadion where a crowd of over 60,000 would be in attendance. Unfortunately for Fortuna, they lost the match thanks to a second-half goal as their far more successful neighbours were crowned cup winners for a fourth time with a 1-0 win.

Fortuna continued to play second tier football until 2000 when they were relegated from the 2. Bundesliga and have yet to return. Spells in the third and fourth tiers followed whilst after a return to the 3. Liga in 2014 they were relegated back to the Regionalliga West five years later. That relegation in 2019 came as Viktoria Köln, traditionally the smallest of the city's three main clubs, went in the other direction and won promotion up to the third tier making Fortuna technically now the city's third club.

Blau-Weiß 1890 Berlin (1986-87)

A second tier side for much of the 70s and 80s Blau-Weiß 1890 Berlin were relegated from the 2. Bundesliga in 1992 and have yet to return. During that period of relative success, however, they did manage to make it to the Bundesliga for one single season.

A second placed finish in 1985-86 saw the club promoted to the top flight for the very first time but they were immediately relegated straight back down to the second tier. Three wins and 12 draws meant Blau-Weiß's Bundesliga campaign did not go quite as badly as city rivals Tasmania's had some 20 years earlier but they still finished rock bottom of the league some eight points from safety.

Blau-Weiß 1890 Berlin went bankrupt after their 1992 relegation from the second tier and reformed as SpVg Blau-Weiß 90 Berlin. They currently play in the fifth tier NOFV-Oberliga Nord.

VfB Leipzig (1993-94)

After Germany reuinited in 1990, former East German Oberliga side 1. FC Lokomotive Leipzig renamed themselves VfB Leipzig and in 1993 were promoted to the Bundesliga.

In East Germany, Lokomotive never managed to be crowned top flight champions but did have 4 FDGB-Pokal domestic cup triumphs to their name and in Europe reached the semi-finals of the UEFA Cup in 1973-74 and finished UEFA Cup Winners' Cup runners-up in 1986-87.

When east and west became one again VfB Leipzig began life in the second tier but, of course, it only took them a couple of seasons to reach the top flight. Life in the Bundesliga did not go well for the club, however, as they finished rock bottom in their first season with just three wins to their name and some 12 points from safety.

Post that lone Bundesliga campaign the club struggled, eventually went bankrupt, and reformed as 1. FC Lokomotive Leipzig once more.  Lokomotive currently ply their trade in the fourth tier Regionalliga Nordost and last season missed out on promotion after losing in the play-offs.

SSV Ulm 1846 (1999-2000)

SSV Ulm 1846 currently ply their trade in the fourth tier Regionalliga Südwest and last season claimed their third straight regional WFV-Pokal trophy in a row.

Promotion in 1980 saw the club spent ten straight seasons in the 2. Bundesliga but after relegation, they did not return to the second tier until 1998. It was worth the wait, however, as the club's first season back in the second tier saw them promoted to the Bundesliga for the very first time.

In the Bundesliga Ulm finished third bottom and three points from safety, however, whilst a second successive relegation saw them back in the third tier for the 2001-02 season. Since then the club have really struggled and spent much of their time in the fourth and fifth tiers. At one point they even went insolvent. They currently play in the Regionalliga Südwest.

SpVgg Greuther Fürth (2012-13)

Based in Fürth next to Nuremberg, like rivals 1. FC Nürnberg from the city next door, SpVgg Greuther Fürth's most successful period came well before the Bundesliga was created. The club were national champions in 1914, 1926, and 1929 but have achieved little since.

A few spells in third and fourth tiers in the 80s and 90s aside, the club has spent most of the Bundesliga era in the second tier. The club has actually spent 23 of the past 24 seasons in the 2. Bundesliga with the odd one out being 2012-13 when they made their one and only foray into top flight football during the Bundesliga era. 

Having been 2. Bundesliga champions the previous season the club, unfortunately, failed to deliver in the big time finishing bottom of the Bundesliga and some 13 points from safety with just four wins to their name.

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