Why there is still no German champion 1922

Updated on 06/13/2022 at 10:05 am

The 21/22 season is over, the champion has been chosen. At least this statement is true for the 2021/22 season. But things look different for the 21/22 season from 100 years ago. The never-ending final will soon be 100 years old.

A game without end?!

June 18, 1922 was in Berlin an unsettled day. In the afternoon it rained more heavily, but then cleared up. In the now muggy air referee Dr. Peco Bauwens in the Grunewald Stadium in front of 30,000 spectators at 5 p.m. the final of the German Championship 1922: The Favorit 1. FC Nuremberg against Hamburger SV. At that time there was still a kind of playoff in which the best teams from the national associations played for the national championship.

Nürnberg versus Hamburg: It was a hard-fought game

The preliminary reports promised an exciting game: The fast Nuremberg flat passing game against the English “kick and rush” of Hamburg. But things turned out differently: The Nuremberg players attracted particular attention with their very physical to unfair play. Players were constantly limping or had to be massaged or treated by a doctor. Substitutions were forbidden at the time and the players preferred to stand on the field as extras if necessary.

But as is often the case: the team with the nicer or fairer game doesn’t always win, and that’s how it was here – up to the 85th minute: a corner kick for the HSVa shot into the far corner, past the goalkeeper and into the net – 2:2, extra time.

And so the endgame began without end.

Abandoned game: It was too dark

According to the DFB competition rules at the time, if there was a draw after 90 minutes, there were up to two overtimes of 30 minutes each. On this evening in Berlin, however, no further goals were scored in these 60 minutes. It was now past 8 p.m. Many fans called for the game to be abandoned. But referee Bauwens questioned the players, who – full of endorphins – pleaded to continue playing. The next goal was to decide the game, but after only 15 minutes Bauwens – he was now plagued by cramps – stopped the game: It was too dark and there were no floodlights. The game lasted 189 minutes in total.

So it came to the replay on August 6, 1922 in Leipzig. However, the match could only be started 40 minutes late due to the large number of spectators. There were around 60,000 spectators in the stadium, at least a third of whom had forged tickets. The Leipzig stadium, which had only been inaugurated the day before, was completely overcrowded, football fans sat and stood directly behind the goals.

Bauwens, who was refereeing again, appealed to both teams to play this game fairly. After 18 minutes, a man from Nuremberg kicked a man from Hamburg who was lying on the ground: sending him off. Bauwen’s appeal fizzled out more quickly than it was pronounced.

Two games: No winner declared at the 1922 championship final

Two goals followed – one for Nuremberg, one for Hamburg – but they were almost lost in the match reports at the time. Rather, it was reported about the many injuries, including Nuremberg’s Anton Kugler, who lost four or five teeth after an elbow check by Tull Harder, according to the Nuremberg team. Kugler came back on the field after ten minutes and remained in the opposing half as an extra and supposed striker.

The score remained 1-1 after 90 minutes and so it came to extra time, which was tough: First, another Nuremberg player was thrown off the field, shortly afterwards extra Kugler collapsed without external influence and with the half-time whistle another Nuremberg player. The club only had seven players left, but the rules stipulated that at least eight players per team were required.

Bauwens waited a little longer before the restart and informed the teams: If both Nuremberg players are no longer able to play with circulatory problems, he will have to abandon the game. No, they couldn’t.

And so the final ended without an end.

No master: HSV renounces the title

Of course, immediately after the game there was extensive discussion and the search for culprits. Even after the DFB game committee declared HSV German champions in 1922 on August 19.

Shouldn’t Bauwens have started the whistle again and checked whether the two Nuremberg players might be just extras on the pitch? Was it really enough that Bauwens talked to Nuremberg during the break in extra time and stopped straight away?

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Nuremberg lodged a protest, which was discussed at the DFB Bundestag on November 18, 1922: a strong majority voted in favor of continuing to choose HSV as the German champion. However, shortly after this vote, HSV declared: No, we are voluntarily giving up this championship.

And so there is still no German champion in 1922.

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