SV Alsenborn

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SV Alsenborn
Full nameSportverein 1919 Alsenborn e.V.
ChairmanDirk A. Leibfried
LeagueA-Klasse Kaiserslautern-Donnersberg (IX)

The SV Alsenborn is a German football club from the municipality of Enkenbach-Alsenborn, Rhineland-Palatinate.

The club became famous in Germany in the 1970s as a village club attempting to win promotion to the Bundesliga. For a time, it was coached by German football legend Fritz Walter,[1] who wrote a book about the club, titled Aufstieg einer Dorfmanschaft (English: Rise of a village team).[2]

The club was often seen as a football "miracle", considering how highly it achieved with a mostly amateur team from a small village.[3]


From 1919 to the 1960s[edit]

The club was formed on 15 September 1919, by 19 foundation members, under the name of FV Alsenborn.[4]

In 1933, with the rise of the Nazis to power, the club conformed to the new powers; while another football club in town was formed whose membership exclusively consisted of social democrats.

The club, for most of its history, played in the lower amateur leagues of the Südwest (English: Southwest) region. In 1945, it renamed itself to SV Alsenborn but continued its existence as a village sport club.


Historical variant of SV logo from the club's heyday.

The club's fortunes fundamentally changed in the 1960s when the retired captain of Germany's 1954 FIFA World Cup winning squad, Fritz Walter, moved to town. Walter became the coach of the side who was playing at this stage in the local A-Klasse, then the fifth tier of the German football league system in the region.[2] He would remain coach for three years, a highly successful spell.[5]

While watching the 1962 European Cup Final in Amsterdam, Walter and Hannes Ruth, another former 1. FC Kaiserslautern player, vowed to build up the little club and take it to the top level of German football.

With a number of former Kaiserslautern players in its squad, SVA started to win promotions straight away, winning the A-Klasse in 1963, the Bezirksliga in 1964 and then, on first attempt, winning the Amateurliga Südwest (III) in the 1964–65 season.

With this title, the club earned promotion to the Regionalliga Südwest, then the second tier of German league football.

Regionalliga Südwest years[edit]

The club spent the first two seasons in the new league settling in, earning mid-table finishes.

In 1967–68, it won its first league championship, nine points clear of TuS Neuendorf. This qualified both clubs to take part in the promotion round to the Fußball-Bundesliga. In this, out of five teams in its group, SVA finished third on level points, when only the first place entitled to promotion.[2]

Poster for the SVA versus RWO Bundesliga promotion game in 1969

The next season saw a repeat of the league championship, sitting on equal points with Neuendorf but having scored considerably more goals. Again, the club went to the promotion round and despite its failure to gain a point from its two games against Rot-Weiß Oberhausen, the club stayed in contention for promotion to the very end by winning every other of its games. In the last round, against Hertha Zehlendorf, on 22 June 1969, it needed a win for promotion but lost 0–3 instead and Oberhausen went up, being one point ahead of SVA. At the end of the season, the club had to sell one of its best players, Lorenz Horr, who was then a record transfer for the German Bundesliga. The club also lost its championship-winning coach, Otto Render, in a car accident shortly after.[2]

In 1969–70, the team won the league title for a third consecutive time, beating FK Pirmasens by three points. Taking part in the promotion round for a third time, too, the club also finished third in its group, not coming as close to promotion as it was in 1969. In the German Cup, the club managed to hold the then rising star of German football, Borussia Mönchengladbach, to a 1–1 draw after extra time, to lose the replay 1–3 a few days later, quite an achievement for the small club.[4]

In its three years in the Bundesliga promotion round, the club played all its home games in the considerably larger stadium in Ludwigshafen.

The club continued to be a strong team in the Regionalliga after 1970, earning a fifth and third place in the following seasons, but not being able to repeat its performance from the time between 1967 and 1970. From 1972, the club slipped down the ranks, coming eighth and tenth in 1973 and 1974.

The year 1974 saw changes in the German league system. The five Regionalligas were disbanded in favor of two new 2nd Bundesligas, of which the 2nd Bundesliga Süd was the one SV Alsenborn aimed to qualify for.

SVA managed to qualify for the new league, the qualification system taking the last five seasons into account. However, the club held the last qualifying spot for the new league, five points ahead of 1. FC Saarbrücken. The SVA then found its license for the next season revoked on financial grounds as well as its home ground not being up to scratch, and 1. FCS was admitted instead. The club went through the various levels of appeal and at times the case was ruled in its favor but in the end the German Football Association ruled against the club. The situation brought back memories of 1963, when Saarbrücken was awarded a place in the Bundesliga for similar reasons. In 1963, like in 1974, the rumor was that the German Football Association chairman Hermann Neuberger, a native of the Saarland and honorary member of the 1. FC Saarbrücken, held its protecting hand over the club, to the disadvantage of the SV Alsenborn. But despite all outrage, the SVA had to step down to the third division and the 1. FCS stayed up, earning promotion back to the Bundesliga in 1976.[2][6]


From this point in 1974, the club rapidly declined. SVA was not competitive in the third division Amateurliga Südwest and within two seasons suffered another relegation, to the Bezirksliga Westpfalz. In this league, the club managed to earn a second place in 1977–78, winning promotion to the new Verbandsliga Südwest (IV). Four seasons there saw a sixth place in 1979 as its best result but by 1982, it was back in the tier-five Bezirksliga Westpfalz. It earned a championship there in the 1982–83 and returned to the Verbandsliga straight away.

Three seasons with a third place in 1985 followed before having to return to the Bezirksliga. In 1988, another relegation took the club back to where it once, in the early 1960s, came from, the A-Klasse.[2]

In 2011–12, the club played in the tier nine Kreisliga Kaiserslautern-Donnersberg-Süd, where it won promotion. After a season in the Bezirksklasse the club has played in the A-Klasse Kaiserslautern-Donnersberg since 2013.

With the promotion of the TSG 1899 Hoffenheim to the Fussball-Bundesliga in 2008, a village club finally archived what Alsenborn aimed for in the late 1960s.[7]


The club's honours:

Recent seasons[edit]

The recent season-by-season performance of the club:[8][9]

Season Division Tier Position
2003–04 Kreisliga Kaiserslautern VIII 10th
2004–05 Kreisliga Kaiserslautern 6th
2005–06 Kreisliga Kaiserslautern 6th
2006–07 Kreisliga Kaiserslautern 6th
2007–08 Kreisliga Kaiserslautern 7th
2008–09 Kreisliga Kaiserslautern IX 7th
2009–10 Kreisliga Kaiserslautern 3rd
2010–11 Kreisliga Kaiserslautern-Donnersberg-Süd X 5th
2011–12 Kreisliga Kaiserslautern-Donnersberg-Süd 1st ↑
2012–13 Bezirksklasse Westpfalz Nord IX 9th
2013–14 A-Klasse Kaiserslautern-Donnersberg 7th
2014–15 A-Klasse Kaiserslautern-Donnersberg 15th
2015–16 A-Klasse Kaiserslautern-Donnersberg 14th
2016–17 A-Klasse Kaiserslautern-Donnersberg
Promoted Relegated


SV Alsenborn stadium

In its later Regionalliga days, the club's stadium was expanded to hold 16,000 spectators but nowadays it is reduced to a still very oversized 8,000.[6] The stadium is decorated with posters of the 1960s Bundesliga promotion games.[10] The old standing ranks are somewhat overgrown and the grand stand looks rather quaint.[11]

DFB Cup appearances[edit]

The club has qualified for the first round of the German Cup five times:

Season Round Date Home Away Result Attendance
1965–66 DFB-Pokal[12] First round 22 January 1966 Eintracht Frankfurt SV Alsenborn 2–1
1968–69 DFB-Pokal[13] First round 22 January 1969 SV Alsenborn MSV Duisburg 2–1
Second round 15 February 1969 FC Schalke 04 SV Alsenborn 3–1
1969–70 DFB-Pokal[14] First round 8 April 1970 SV Alsenborn FC Schalke 04 1–5
1970–71 DFB-Pokal[15] First round 12 December 1970 SV Alsenborn Borussia Mönchengladbach 1–1 aet
First round replay 30 December 1970 Borussia Mönchengladbach SV Alsenborn 3–1
1971–72 DFB-Pokal[16] First round -first leg 4 December 1971 SV Alsenborn Fortuna Düsseldorf 0–0
First round – second leg 15 December 1971 Fortuna Düsseldorf SV Alsenborn 3–0

Further reading[edit]

  • Aufstieg einer Dorfmanschaft (in German) Rise of a village team, author: Fritz Walter, ISBN 3-8311-1846-9


  1. ^ Germany's captain marvel – Article on Fritz Walter, accessed: 15 November 2008
  2. ^ a b c d e f Die "goldenen" Jahres des SV Alsenborn (in German) Enkenbach-Alsenborn community website – The golden years of SVA, accessed: 15 November 2008
  3. ^ Das Wunder von Alsenborn (in German) The miracle of Alsenborn, publisher: Die Zeit, published: 1 May 1968. accessed: 15 November 2008
  4. ^ a b Kurz-Chronik (in German) SV Alsenborn website – A short history of the club, accessed: 15 November 2008
  5. ^ Fritz Walter — Captain who restored Germany's faith in football — obituaries, published: 18 June 2002, accessed: 15 November 2008
  6. ^ a b Abseits guide to German soccer -SV Alsenborn accessed: 15 November 2008
  7. ^ Ein, zwei, viele Hoffenheims 11, accessed: 15 November 2008
  8. ^ Das deutsche Fußball-Archiv (in German) Historical German domestic league tables
  9. ^ – Ergebnisse (in German) Tables and results of all German football leagues
  10. ^ Kreisliga: SV Alsenborn – ASV Kaiserslautern 8:2 (3:1) Groundhopping blog (with pictures of the stadium and the posters), accessed: 15 November 2008
  11. ^ Pictures of the SVA stadium Groundhopping website, accessed: 15 November 2008
  12. ^ DFB-Pokal 1965/1966 » Spielplan, accessed: 16 November 2008
  13. ^ DFB-Pokal 1968/1969 » Spielplan, accessed: 16 November 2008
  14. ^ DFB-Pokal 1969/1970 » Spielplan, accessed: 16 November 2008
  15. ^ DFB-Pokal 1970/1971 » Spielplan, accessed: 16 November 2008
  16. ^ DFB-Pokal 1971/1972 » Spielplan, accessed: 16 November 2008

External links[edit]