Bundesliga 2016/17: 5 greatest moments in German League history

Daum(R) holds the trophy aloft along with the Stuttgart president Mayer-Vorfelder

When we look back over football history, or indeed our own history with the beautiful game, it’s never the true realities of the matches or even the seasons that manage to stick in our minds. Rather, it’s the individual moments, the last minute winners, the touches of transcendent quality and even the shock incidents that we remember even decades after they happened. These moments energise us, excite us and of course move our souls.

From the Premier League, all the way to the Bundesliga, such moments are what we follow football for and clearly, some moments are just more important than others when taken in the context of a match or a season.

Some mean much more in the long term while some are more spectacular, more surprising and just more symbolic. So in an attempt to determine the most historic moments, here are five moments from Bundesliga history.

#5 Last few minutes of Bundesliga 1991-1992

With the fall of the Berlin Wall in October 1990, the 1991-1992 season was the first time West Germany’s team met those from East Germany. However, only two East German sides (Hansa Rostov and Dynamo Dresden) were allowed into the Bundesliga, which further expanded to 20 clubs.

But neither did the reigning champions Kaiserslautern nor current holders Bayern Munich even got close to challenging for the Bundesliga title, with Bayern ending the season at 10th, their lowest finish since 1978.

Rostov started the season well, beating Dortmund and topping the table after just seven games, yet that would be their best position in a long time for the team. Meanwhile, Eintracht Frankfurt took over as pace-setters, all thanks to their coach Dragoslav Stepanovic who’d built an attractive passing team around midfielders. But, despite all their attractiveness, Frankfurt failed to beat Werder Bremen in the penultimate match of the season and that set everything up.

All this made for one of the closest title races in Bundesliga history, and Frankfurt were still on top, but now only on goal difference with both VFB Stuttgart and Borussia Dortmund right behind them.

All three clubs played away in their final match and against teams who desperately needed a win to survive. With less than 15 minutes to go, third-placed Dortmund were 1-0 up against MSV Duisburg, while Stuttgart were deadlocked at 0-0 against Leverkusen. Meanwhile, Eintracht Frankfurt were in Rostov, and Boger broke free in the 89th minute to make the final score 2-1 to Hansa Rostov, who still went down despite the victory.

But there was to be one more twist in the tale and with less than four minutes to go in Leverkusen, Guido Buchwald scored a late winner for second-placed Stuttgart, who, despite being down to ten men, finished on top. And despite having only led the table twice during the season, Christoph Daum’s men were champions for the first time since 1959.

#4 Patrik Andersson wins the 2001 Bundesliga for Bayern in the last minute

Patrick Anderson celebrates his stoppage-time winner

The ultimate do or die moment, and FC Bayern Munich had gone into their final game with a three-point lead over FC Schalke in the 2000-2001 season. The Bavarians were the defending champions under Ottmar Hitzfeld and qualified for the UEFA Champions league which they would go on to win four days later. They only needed a point from their final game to win their third consecutive title.

Schalke, on the other hand, had lost their penultimate game of the season and thus sat second, three points behind Bayern before they faced SpVgg Unterhaching.

However, the tide seemed to be with the Royal Blues, as they somehow managed a comeback after they went down 3-2, to finish the game 5-3 in the final minutes. As they had gone into matchday 34 with a better goal difference, Schalke were on top of the table.

But as things stood, Bayern only needed a point to lift the trophy and were steadily holding Hamburg at the Volksparkstadion to a goalless draw, that is before Sergej Barbarez stepped up.

In the 90th minute, the Bosnian international headed in an excellent cross to give Hamburg the lead and potentially Schalke the title as players flooded the pitch and the referee blew the whistle to signal the end of proceedings for Schalke.

However, for Bayern Munich, the game was still on and as the Schalke players celebrated their title win, the Bavarians stepped up for an indirect free-kick in the third minute of injury time.

Oliver Kahn was up in a flash joining the battle against the Hamburg defence, who desperately clung on to their slim lead. However, it was Patrik Andersson who cemented his place as a Bayern Munich legend with his first and only goal for the club. The Swedish defender made no mistake and drilled the ball straight into the net.

And Schalke, from the heights of heavenly joy, dropped into the depths of hell, as the Park stadium transformed into an ocean of tears.


#3 The end of an era – Schalke end Bayern Munich’s four-year unbeaten home run

Bayern Munich’s loss to Schalke was a sign of things to come for the Bavarians

The headlines the Monday after the match read, “The End of an Era” and it was indeed an end of an era as Bayern Munich’s most glorious years in the Bundesliga came to an end, marked by the end of a historic unbeaten home run.

During a four-year unbeaten streak at home, Bayern Munich, in a series of 73 games, won 62 games and drew 11, scoring 257 goals and conceding 74 in the process. FC Schalke 04, on the other hand, had a troublesome few years – with a young team involved in the 1971 Bundesliga scandal and almost all their major stars banned for most of the 1972-73 and the beginning of the 1973-74 season.

In spite of all these lingering demons, Schalke still pulled off an unlikely and yet significant victory. The match began somewhat cautiously but Bayern Munich went on the attack, missing crucial chances through Gerd Muller, who like the Bayern team, looked off his game.

The second half, however, had all the excitement, with scoring chances in both boxes plenty for either team. Schalke opened the scoring in the 68th minute. The game looked all but over before the Royal Blues finished it off with a second goal, a minute from full time.

That was all it took and Bayern Munich fell apart. Complacency and a lack of consistency and quality seeped through the team, something unthinkable for a team that had won the European Cup, and three league titles.

They lost again the following week and finished the season with an unprecedented 14 losses, spending most of the season near the relegation spots. The game, while not an isolated incident that season, turned out to be the catalyst and Bayern ended up with their second worst finish ever to a Bundesliga campaign, even to this day.

#2 Robert Lewandowski super sub

Lewandowski broke records with his five-star performance

Bayern Munich were losing against Wolfsburg 1-0 and Pep Guardiola decided to bring on his Polish hitman, Robert Lewandowski to change things for the Bavarians. However, not even Guardiola could believe what would happen less than 15 minutes later.

The Polish international came on at half time as a substitute and then proceeded to demolish Wolfsburg, within fifteen minutes of his introduction.

Lewandowski replaced Thiago and less than six minutes later, the Pole put his first past Diego Benagilo. Within the next four minutes, Lewandowski scored the fastest hat trick in Bundesliga history, before adding his fourth in the 57th minute and a brilliant fifth in the 60th minute after volleying Mario Gotze’s cross with an outrageous scissor kick to send the already ecstatic crowd into further rapture.

Also read: Records and milestones set by Robert Lewandowski after scoring five goals in nine minutes

The 28-year-old set multiple Bundesliga records, including the most goals scored by a substitute (5), the fastest Bundesliga hat-trick (3 minutes and 22 seconds), the fastest four goals in a Bundesliga match (5 minutes and 42 seconds) and the fastest five goals in a Bundesliga match (8 minutes and 59 seconds).

And he was never even supposed to make an appearance that day!


#1 Eintracht Frankfurt improbably survive a five-way relegation struggle

Frankfurt celebrate their Houdini-esque escape

With four games left in the 1998-1999 Bundesliga season, Eintracht Frankfurt’s return to the Futball Bundesliga 2 looked all but certain, that is until they won three games in a row and cut a four-point lead into just two, which gave them a fighting chance.

Four games were played, with Frankfurt playing previous champions Kaiserslautern, Stuttgart facing Werder Bremen, Nurnberg against Freiburg and Bochum battling it out with Hansa Rostock.

However, with less than 15 minutes left, Frankfurt were 2-1 up against Kaiserslautern and still charged forward, as they needed another two goals in a situation which had so many possible permutations.

At that point, 12th placed Nurnberg were losing 2-0, but they had no problems as they knew that as long as Frankfurt’s score remained the same and Hansa Rostock – who at that point were trailing 2-1 – failed to win at Bochum, they were safe.

But as improbable as it sounded, both hit two each, only for Nurnberg themselves to strike in the 86th minute. It looked as though they would stay up on goal difference at the expense of Eintracht Frankfurt but there were more twists and turns to come.

Frankfurt struck in the 87th minute through Jan Aage Fjotorft to complete the roller-coaster day and the difference came down to not even goal difference. In the end, the table turned to goals scored and Fjotorft had hit one of the most famous ones to complete the most riveting relegation scrap in footballing folklore.

Edited by Staff Editor
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