Eintracht Braunschweig, SV Waldhof Mannheim and SC Preußen Münster, three clubs struggling in the lower divisions of German football nowadays. Removed from glory, only a look in the history books will give you a reason for why one should take a closer look at these teams!
The three of them have in common that they all at one point played in Germany’s top flight. But, these days their goals have become different. Maybe a spot in the 3. Liga next season would be nice, or being an established team in the 2. Bundesliga in five years time? Hardly the stuff football fans dream about at night. Back in the day the fans of Waldhof, Eintracht and Preußen could dream about winning championship medals,so let’s explore the history of each of those clubs.
Eintracht Braunschweig have a long history in the Bundesliga. Their local arch rivals Hannover 96 overtook them in the all time table of the Bundesliga this season. Considering that Eintracht haven’t played Bundesliga football since
1985, it goes to show that they were for a long time the dominating football power in Lower-Saxony. Being amongst the 18 teams that got to play the first Bundseliga season in 1963, the Eintracht got to play 20 seasons of Bundesliga football between 63 and 85.
In this time the team won the Bundesliga championship once(66/67 season). However, after the first championship was won, Eintracht didn’t manage to keep it up. A third place finish in 76/77 and two fourth place finishes in 68/68 and 70/71 are the only two times the team has gotten anywhere close to glory in the Bundesliga.
Eintracht Braunschweig were also the first team in Bundesliga history that used their jersey for commercial purposes. On the 24th of march 1973, the club and the booze label Jägermeister agreed terms for a sponsorship deal. However, back in these days the German football federation(DFB) didn’t allow clubs to use their jerseys for commercial purposes. Eintracht got around that rule by adopting the Jägermeister logo as their club logo. This move put pressure on the DFB to allow clubs to use their kit for commercial purposes.
After Eintracht Braunschweig were relegated for the third time in their history in 1985, the team have struggled in the lower divisions of German football. After two years in the 2. Bundesliga the team was relegated to the third tier of German football, where they have spent most of their time since. The team managed to crawl back into the 2. Bundesliga in 2002 and 2005, but was immediately relegated afterwards. The team is currently in the running for a promotion in spot in Germany’s 3. Liga.
Seven years of sunshine
SV Waldhof Mannheim have traditonally played in the lower divisions of German football. The team reached the 2.
Bundesliga for the first time in 1974. It stayed their until 1983. In the 82/83 season the team managed surprisingly to get promoted to the Bundesliga. What was to follow were seven years of Bundesliga football.
When Mannheim got relegated in 1990, they went back to the 2. Bundesliga and stayed there most of the time until 2003. That year finical trouble forced them into the 5th tier of German football, where they still are. Kids that were born in Mannheim after 2003 will probably have to wait for a long time before they see a team from Mannheim play Bundesliga or 2. Bundesliga football.
The wild card
When the Bundesliga was founded SC Preußen Münster were among the biggest surprises of the league. The team hadn’t done too well in their division in recent years, and nobody really expected them to turn up in the newly founded Bundesliga. The team surprised its critics with a good start to the
season, but fell on a spell of bad form after a while. At the end of the season the West-German’s had to make the way down into the 2.Bundesliga. They stayed there until 80/81. The team got close to the promotion spots in the 1976, 1978 and 1979, but never managed to return to the Bundesliga.
After 81 the team never managed to return to the 2. Bundesliga, and is currently playing in the fourth tier of German football.
Who’ll be next?
There are a number of teams that have established themselves in one of the two upper divisions of German football, but then they slid away, out of the limelight of football. Those teams are very seldom able to get back to their glory days. Karlsruher SC is certainly amongst the candidates to become a new member in this group, so are Arminia Bielefeld. Time will tell if either one of these teams are able to turn their downwards trend around and return to the spotlight of German football.