Sunday, December 4, 2011

4 December 1933 - Arsenal Guns Down The Wunderteam

On 4 December 1933, Arsenal faced off against the Austrian Wunderteam and won, 4-2.

Guided by manager Hugo Meisl and captain Matthias Sidelar (pictured), Austria were one of Europe's most dominant teams of the 1930s, earning the nickname "Wunderteam." They rattled off a 14-game unbeaten streak in 1931-32, including routs of Scotland (5-0), Germany (6-0, 5-0), and Hungary (8-2). They also won the 1932 Central European International Cup with a 4-2 victory over Italy in the final.

Arsenal, meanwhile, were enjoying a successful period of their own, having recently won the 1930 FA Cup and the 1931 and 1933 league titles under manager Herbert Chapman.

Chapman was friends with Meisl, prompting the friendly. But FA rules prohibited English clubs from playing international sides, so Austria arrived at Highbury for the match thinly disguised as FC Vienna. The Times called it a "thrilling match," with Arsenal taking a 3-1 lead before the teams swapped late goals to finish the day 4-2.

Austria went on to finish fourth in the 1934 World Cup, then went into decline after the death of Meisl in 1937. Arsenal proceeded to win the league title in 1934, but manager Herbert Chapman was not there to see it, as he died on 6 January 1934, just over a month after the win over Austria.

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