Tuesday 8th August marks exactly 110 years since FC Augsburg was established under its original name. With FC Alemannia, a group of young men in Oberhausen created one of the very few football clubs existing at that time, and so began the successful history of the club we see today.
It all began on the “Großer Exerzierplatz” in Augsburg – a field, which is today surrounded by the streets Langemarck- and Sommestraße, and the Westfriedhof train station. On this field, 7 men then began, in a fairly unorganised manner, the game with their round leather ball. At the turn of the century, football in Germany was very much in its infancy. Many gymnastics clubs were suspicious of this new hobby, meaning that few individual football teams were set up. Over the course of the year an ever-increasing number of enthusiastic players were turning up on the grass close to the modern day “Reinölstraße”, and sought to demonstrate their skills in competition. And so, finally on 8 August 1907, the day of the Augsburg peace festival, a club under the name of “FC Alemannia” was launched in the “Schwabischen Hof” in Oberhausen. The presidency was assumed by Fritz Käferlein, and the application to the federation was subsequently completed.
The new club was around 30 men strong, who for the time being lined up in white jerseys and black trousers. They continued to play on the “Großer Exerzierplatz” by the railway line to the Oberhauser station. The fixture list was limited to private games, as a regulated league was not possible for the time being. With a membership fee of 30 pfennings the players were able to make the required purchases with a part of the meagre allowance. Before the matches the players themselves had to sort out putting up the goals, and after the final whistle the equipment had to be dismantled again and stored in the Oberhauser station bar.
Resounding defeat for FC Alemannia
Even though enthusiasm for football in Germany remained limited, there were already a few potential opponents in Augsburg and the surrounding area, which meant that on 20 October 1907 the first match against the second team of “TV Augsburg” could take place. Unlike the result, the names of the players who took part in the fixture are part of the club’s history: Max Frisch, Hermann und Hugo Wagner, Alois Kuhn, Martin Mahler, Anton Wiedemann, Anton Linder, Clemens Hartmann, Josef Keidel, Roman Bader und Otto Land. First games were also held against dominant teams such as MTV Augsburg, with an equal lack of success, as demonstrated by one of the few remembered results: a resounding 25 nil defeat against the first-team of MTV. The young footballers learnt the hard way to let go of certain results without being discouraged, and to keep faith in their club.
Many mergers followed, and the venue changed multiple times, but after 110 years it is clear that the founding members of FC Alemannia laid the foundations for FC Augsburg today, which is now playing in the Bundesliga for the seventh season in a row, and in the season 2015/16 even took part in the UEFA Europa league – which is the greatest achievement in the club’s history to-date!