GGFN Advent Calendar | Day 16 – German Championship Heartbreak

Welcome back to the Get German Football News advent calendar. As the countdown to Christmas continues, so does our festive fun on day sixteen, as we remember the 16 sides that have come runners-up to the German Championship but never lifted Germany’s domestic trophy.

The Meisterschale is German football’s greatest prize and one of the most historic and prestigious trophies in Europe that has been awarded to the domestic champions since 1949. However, before then, the Viktoria Trophy was the country’s symbol of excellence and one that nine sides failed to win despite making the championship play-off.

Deutscher FC Prag, CfR Pforzheim, Stuttgarter Kickers, Duisburger SpV, Union Berlin, FSV Frankfurt, FC Admira Wacker Mödling, First Vienna, and LSV Hamburg made appearances in the German championship final prior to 1949 but failed in their quest for silverware. Finishing runners-up once each, it is hard to imagine that any of these sides will be able to go one step further in the future other than Union, who are the only team out of the nine to reside in Germany’s top three divisions.

Nevertheless, there are three other sides to have finished as runners-up on just one occasion, but this would be after the introduction of the Meisterschale. Preußen Münster, MSV Duisburg, and Alemannia Aachen complete the list of sides to have been nearly champions on just one occasion, with the latter two doing so in the Bundesliga era. Duisburg finished second in the inaugural Bundesliga season, while Aachen were runners-up to Bayern Munich in the 1968–69 campaign.

However, with four sides remaining, three of which can boast two second-place finishes, one side leads the way with five runner-up medals. Saarbrücken and Kickers Offenbach enjoyed much of their success prior to the Bundesliga, with two losses each in German Championship finals between 1942 and 1959. While RB Leipzig have recently placed themselves on this list with two second-place finishes in 2016/2017 and 2020/2021.

Regardless, while these clubs can consider themselves unfortunate, nobody can compare with Bayer Leverkusen. Die Werkself have been runners-up in the Bundesliga on five occasions since the 1996/97 season, which includes their fabled 2001/02 campaign where they let the treble slip through their fingers. Nonetheless, with Xabi Alonso’s side leading the way this season, could they finally right the wrongs of their past?

GGFN | Will Shopland

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