Saturday, May 31, 2014

31 May 1903 - Leipzig Über Alles

On 31 May 1903, VfB Leipzig (pictured) defeated DFC Prag 7-2 in Hamburg to claim the first German national championship.

Founded in 1896, Leipzig was one of the original 86 teams that joined together in 1900 to form the German football association, known as the Deutscher Fussball Bund or "DFB." In order to increase its membership, the DFB included ethnically German teams from other countries. One of those teams was DFC Prag, based in the city of Prague which is now part of the Czech Republic, but which was at the time part of Austria-Hungary.

Prag advanced to the final under mysterious circumstances. They were scheduled for a playoff match against Karlsruhrer FV, who received a telegram claiming to be from the DFB and informing them that the match had been postponed. Karlsruhrer thus failed to show up for the match - which had not been postponed - and Prag were declared winners by forfeit, placing them in the Final against Leipzig. While the telegram has never been officially explained, it is perhaps no coincidence that the DFB President at the time - Dr. Ferdinand Hueppe - was also the chairman of Prag.

The heavily-favored Prag side showed up for the match in poor condition, the players having gone pub-hopping the night before. They nonetheless took an early lead, going up 1-0 after eleven minutes. Leipzig equalized and the first half ended with the teams tied at 1-1. The late night apparently took its toll on the Prag players in the second half, however, as Leipzig scored six more goals to claim the 7-2 victory.

Leipzig won two more championships, in 1906 and 1913, before being disbanded by Allied authorities after World War II. Club members reorganized the team in 1946 and they have played under several different names since. Since 1965, the club has been known as 1. FC Lokomotive Leipzig. They currently play in Germany's fifth tier.

DFC Prag was included in Nazi Germany's reorganization of sports and disappeared after World War II.

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