1860 Munich fans are known for being among the most passionate in Germany. - © DFL via Getty Images
1860 Munich fans are known for being among the most passionate in Germany. - © DFL via Getty Images
60 years of Bundesliga

Bundesliga club-by-club historical guide: 1860 Munich


Now seen as Munich's 'other' team, 1860 were once the big hitters in the Bavarian capital and very nearly pipped Bayern to the signing of Franz Beckenbauer.

bundesliga.com is taking you through all the teams to have graced Germany’s first division over the last 60 years – based on the number of seasons they’ve played up to and including 2023/24.

TSV 1860 Munich
Years in Bundesliga: 
20 (1963/70, 1977/78, 1979-81, 1994-2004)
Most appearances: Harald Cerny (238)
Most goals:
Rudolf Brunnenmeier (66)
Youngest player:
Lance Davids (18 years, seven months, 11 days)

The city of Munich has been the destination of the Meisterschale 33 times in 60 seasons, but did you know it wasn’t Bayern who won it first? That honour actually went to 1860, who at one time staked a claim to being the bigger club in the Bavarian capital. The fact Die Löwen won the regional Oberliga title the year before the Bundesliga’s introduction guaranteed their place in the league and excluded Bayern from qualifying due to a rule that only allowed one club per city.

1860 won the DFB Cup in the Bundesliga’s first season – their second such title – and then became the first German club to reach a European final, losing 2-0 to West Ham United in front of almost 100,000 at Wembley in the Cup Winners’ Cup. They were then crowned champions for the first and only time in 1965/66, finishing just ahead of Borussia Dortmund and promoted city rivals Bayern.

Watch: 1860's special Oktoberfest kit from 2016

The story goes that coach Max Merkel made players drink a combination of red wine and raw eggs to build up energy. Another story of that era also goes that they missed out on later Bayern and Germany legend Beckenbauer, who chose the reds after a dispute in a youth game when considering which Munich team to join.

However, they became the second former champion to be relegated when they went down in 1970 and would flit between the Bundesliga and third tier over the coming decades, with financial issues also plaguing the club. Die Löwen returned for a decade-long stint in the top flight in 1994, which peaked with a fourth-place finish and UEFA Champions League qualification in 1999/2000, which also saw them do the double over Bayern for the first time in the professional era.

It was 1860 who officially opened the new Allianz Arena with a friendly against Nuremberg on 30 May 2005. - Jan Pitman/Bongarts/Getty Images

Yet by the time they moved into the new Allianz Arena with Bayern in 2005, they were back in the second division and haven’t been in the Bundesliga since. Their automatic drop from Bundesliga 2 to the fourth tier in 2017 due to licence issues saw them leave the Allianz Arena and return to their old home at the Grünwalder Stadion as they seek to rebuild once again.

Although famous for their sky blue and white kits – plus some interesting looking Oktoberfest special editions – 1860’s official club colours are in fact green and gold. The lion on their crest and therefore nickname of Die Löwen was chosen in the 1870s and adopted on 13 March 1880. A common symbol of Bavarian heraldry, the badge has had to be adapted a number of times over the years, including to avoid confusion with the Löwenbräu brewery. It’s mostly seen the shape of bicaudal tail changed.

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