|Full name||Wuppertaler Sport-Verein e.V.|
|Nickname(s)||WSV, Die Löwen (The Lions)|
|Founded||8 July 1954|
|Ground||Stadion am Zoo|
|League||Regionalliga West (IV)|
|2015–16||Oberliga Niederrhein (V), 1st (promoted)|
Wuppertaler SV is a German association football club located in Wuppertal, North Rhine-Westphalia. The city was founded in 1929 out of the union of a number of smaller towns including Elberfeld, Barmen, Vohwinkel, Cronenberg and Ronsdorf – each with its own football club. Wuppertal Sport Verein was formed in 1954 out of the merger TSG Vohwinkel and SSV Wuppertal and was later joined by Borussia Wuppertal to form the present day club. In addition to the football side, today's sports club includes departments for boxing, gymnastics, handball, and track and field.
- 1 History
- 2 Recent seasons
- 3 Honours
- 4 Fans
- 5 Current squad
- 6 Notable players
- 7 Track and field
- 8 Former coaches
- 9 References
- 10 External links
Early history of predecessors TSG and SSV
TSG was active as a gymnastics club as early as 1880 while the roots of SSV go back to the 1904 establishment of the winter sports club Bergischer Wintersport-und SV 04 Elberfeld, which was known simply as SSV Elberfeld by 1905. This club took part in the early rounds of the national finals in 1930–31 and went on to play in the Gauliga Niederrhein, one of sixteen top-flight divisions formed in the 1933 re-organization of German football under the Third Reich, for two seasons in 1936–37 and 1937–38. The side was re-christened SSV 04 Wuppertal the following year and remained in the Gauliga another two seasons until relegated in 1940. They returned to first tier football in 1941 and earned a strong third-place finish, but left the division part way through the 1942–43 season because they were unable to continue to field a full side as a result of wartime manpower shortages.
Post war play and the formation of WSV
After World War II, TSG Vohwinkel emerged as the stronger side and took up play in the first division Oberliga West in 1947 where they would compete until being relegated after a 14th-place finish in 1950.
Both clubs were part of the 2nd Oberliga West (II) through the early 1950s, SSV under the guidance of coach Fritz Szepan, one-time star of Schalke 04 which had dominated German football from the mid-1930s to the mid-1940s. The union of the two associations that created "Wuppertaler SV" in 1954 paid almost immediate dividends as the combined side vaulted to the top and captured the division title in 1954–55. Wuppertals return to the Oberliga was less successful despite the presence of players such as rising star Horst Szymaniak and Austrian international Erich Probst. The club could not escape the lower half of the table and was relegated following a next-to-last place finish in 1958.
WSV returned to the top flight for the 1962–1963 campaign, which was the last Oberliga season before the creation of the new first division Bundesliga. Although they had a poor regular season, the team enjoyed a good German Cup run, advancing to the semi-finals where they lost a closely fought match (0:1) to first division side and eventual cup winners Hamburger SV before a record hometown crowd of 40,000.
Rise to the Bundesliga
The following year the club became part of the Regionalliga West, one of five divisions on the newly established second tier circuit. Wuppertal delivered a solid performance, finishing second in their division to Alemannia Aachen. They remained competitive throughout the remainder of the 60s and on into the early 70s when they broke through to the top flight on the strength of a Regionalliga West title and victory in the subsequent Bundesliga promotion playoffs in 1972. WSV swept its opposition, winning all eight of its promotion round matches, a feat unique in the 11 seasons played under this playoff format.
Die Löwen would play three seasons in the top flight with their debut season being their most successful. While they never seriously challenged eventual champions Bayern Munich for the title, newly promoted WSV spent five weeks in second place before finally settling for a fourth-place finish – a result that has only been bettered twice by teams newly promoted to the Bundesliga. This earned the club a place in the UEFA Cup tournament where they would go out in the first round 6:8 on aggregate (1:4, 5:4) to Polish side Ruch Chorzów.
However, the club was spent the next season and only escaped relegation on goal difference after an 82nd minute away goal in the final match of their campaign in Stuttgart. Widely regarded as having too old a roster to compete, the following year the club stumbled to an ignominious last place finish on 12 points. This stands as the second-worst ever Bundesliga result, only four points better than the sad sack Tasmania Berlin side of 1965–66. The only bright spot of this miserable campaign was a 3:1 victory over the Bayern Munich side built around Franz Beckenbauer which dominated European football at the time.
Post-Bundesliga (1975) to 2013
After their turn in the Bundesliga, Wuppertal spent four seasons in the second tier 2.Bundesliga before playing a dozen seasons in the Amateur Oberliga Nordrhein (III). A series of strong finishes in the late 80s eventually led to a return to the 2.Bundesliga for the 1993 and 1994 seasons before relegation once again to third tier football in the Regionalliga West/Südwest.
The club had a close brush with bankruptcy in 1998 and the next season was sent down to the Oberliga Nordrhein (IV) for failing to pay their dues. By 2003 they had earned a return to the Regionalliga Nord (III).
In 2004, the club merged with Borussia Wuppertal to become Wuppertaler SV Borussia adopting the red and blue colours and logo of the more senior WSV. Borussia had been formed in 1976 through the union of SV Germania 1907 Wuppertal and VfL 1912 Wuppertal. Like SSV, Germania was also the successor to an Elberfeld club – Germania Elberfeld – which took part in the preliminary rounds of the national finals in the early 30s. While "Borussia" quickly developed into a competitive side, they were not financially strong enough to support their ambition and joined forces with WSV in hopes of returning the city to football prominence. From supporter's side, the additional name Borussia has been constantly rejected, due to the club's history and identification issues. This controversy and the recent merger has been frequently discussed at annual meetings for almost nine years before the era of chairman Runge ended in 2013.
In the 2007–08 DFB-Pokal (German Cup) tournament Wuppertaler SV reached the Round of 16 after beating Erzgebirge Aue (4:3 on penalties) and Hertha BSC Berlin (2:0). They were put out by eventual cup winners Bayern Munich (2:5). Because of the small capacity of Stadion am Zoo, the match was played in the Veltins Arena in Gelsenkirchen.
The era after chairman Runge
At an annual meeting on 24 May 2013 the club's name returned to Wuppertaler SV. A new administrative board was formed by the 13 members of Initiative WSV 2.0 of which Alexander Eichner was a member of. President Klaus Mathies resigned from this position to allow a smooth transition and for Eichner to take over. At a news conference on June 4, 2013 it was announced that the club was bankrupt, which resulted in an enforced relegation. Wuppertaler SV played in the fifth division, the Oberliga Niederrhein, until 2015–16 when a league championship took the club back up to the Regionalliga.
|1999–2000||Oberliga Nordrhein (IV)||1st (no promotion due to league system changes)|
|2002–03||Oberliga Nordrhein||1st (promoted)|
|2003–04||Regionalliga Nord (III)||4th|
|2008–09||3. Liga (III)||14th|
|2009–10||3. Liga||20th (relegated)|
|2010–11||Regionalliga West (IV)||8th|
|2012-13||Regionalliga West||15th (enforced relegation)|
|2013-14||Oberliga Niederrhein (V)||3rd|
|2015-16||Oberliga Niederrhein||1st (promoted)|
|2016-17||Regionalliga West (IV)|
The club's honours:
- Regionalliga West
- Champions: 1972
- Oberliga Nordrhein (IV)
- Champions: 1990, 1992, 2000, 2003
- Oberliga Niederrhein (V)
- Champions: 2016
- Winners: 1999, 2000, 2005, 2007
Despite the club's relative poor on field performance, the club draws big support. There are currently 18 supporter groups: Red Blue 1954, Treue Löwen, Die Wuppys 04, Die Falken, Teamgeist, Pflegestufe 4, Schwebende Jonges, Zooalarm Wuppertal, Red Blue Fanatics, Opus W, Sektion Gegengerade, Tradition 1954, Wupper-Piraten, WSV Fans Mittelrhein, Wupperlümmel's, Die Mecker Oppas, Wupperschlümpfe and Debakel Arrenberg.
Many of the clubs fans sympathise with Schalke 04, and have a long-standing friendship with Lok Leipzig; in the past the fans maintained somewhat amiable relations with fans of Hertha Berlin. Rot-Weiss Essen are the fiercest rivals, Rot-Weiß Oberhausen and Alemannia Aachen are the other fierce rivals, as are VfL Bochum and Fortuna Düsseldorf.
- As of 25 July 2016[update]
Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.
- Striker Günter "Meister" Pröpper (born 12 August 1941) played with Wuppertaler SV from 1970–79 and represents the club's golden era of the early 70s. His 52 goals in the club's 1971–72 campaign set a second division record that still stands. In 87 Bundesliga matches he scored 39 goals. After retiring he settled in Wuppertal and has remained associated with the club.
- Outside forward Horst Szymaniak, who was with WSV from 1956–59, participated in two World Cups. He is the only player from the club to be called to play for the national side while playing in Wuppertal, where he earned 20 of his 43 caps. He was one of the first German players to follow the big money to play professionally in Italy and won the European Champions Cup in 1964 with Inter Milan. Szymaniak was also an unfortunate member of the worst-ever Bundesliga side Tasmania 1900 Berlin.
- While Erich Probst enjoyed only limited success during his stay in Wuppertal (1956–58), he made 19 appearances for the Austrian national team and participated in the World Cup 1954 where Austria finished third. Probst scored six goals, tying him for second place with two other players among goalscorers at the competition.
- Alfred "Coppi" Beck, 1955–58, capped once for Germany when with FC St. Pauli.
- Erich Haase, 1956–68, played one international match for East Germany while with Turbine Halle.
- Waldemar Ksienzyk, 1992–94, played one international match for East Germany while with Dynamo Berlin.
- Erich Ribbeck, who later coached the German national team, started his career with SSV and later played with WSV. In his early days as a coach at Rot-Weiss Essen he used Günter Pröpper only rarely, which caused that player to move on to Wuppertaler SV.
- Mohammad Reza Adelkhani, played the 1968–69 season in Wuppertal. He joined Tehran club Esteghlal FC in 1973 and was capped 17 times for Iran.
- Thomas Litjens
- José Valencia
Track and field
SSV Wuppertal brought their track and field department to the 1954 union that formed Wuppertaler SV. Athletes from the club have competed in the European and World championships as well as the Olympics. Some notable athletes from the club are:
- Manfred Kinder, 400m-Runner, European Champion, Olympic medalist
- Maria Jeibmann, 400m-Runner, German champion
- Manfred Knickenberg, 100m-/200m-Runner, Olympic participant, European championship medalist, German champion
- Maren Collin, 100m-/200m-Runner, European championship runner-up, German champion
- Ruth Limbach, 100m-/200m-Runner, German championship runner-up (1949)