Across its 60-year history, the Bundesliga has provided the backdrop to some truly memorable occasions. As such, bundesliga.com asked some of the competition’s biggest stars, past and present, for their favourite personal moments…
Granit Xhaka – Derby winner vs Cologne, 2015
Xhaka may now be a key member of Xabi Alonso’s Bayer Leverkusen, but his first Bundesliga steps came with Borussia Mönchengladbach, who he joined from Basel in 2012. Not primarily known for his goalscoring, the Switzerland international found the back of the net just six times in 108 league games for Die Fohlen. However, even if he’d scored 106, none would have been as unforgettable as his 92nd-minute strike against Rhine rivals Cologne in February 2015.
The two sides appeared to be on the way to a scoreless share of the spoils until Xhaka headed Thorgan Hazard’s corner home in the second minute of injury time before subsequently running to the other end of the pitch to celebrate with the home supporters. One for both him and the Nordkurve to savour.
Watch: Xhaka looks back at emotional derby-day winner
Mario Götze – Bundesliga debut vs Mainz, 2009
A 17-year-old Götze had already been tipped for a bright future after impressing for Borussia Dortmund’s U17s and U19s by the time he made his debut for the senior side in November 2009. The midfielder was an 88th-minute replacement for Jakub Błaszczykowski and, although his short cameo could not inspire Die Schwarzgelben to victory – the match ended goalless – it was the beginning of a career that has taken him to the very top of the sport.
As Götze himself explains below, playing amongst the professionals is what every young player hopes for – only a few get to realise their dream, which is why it should be cherished.
Watch: Götze remembers his Bundesliga debut
Youssoufa Moukoko – Record-breaking goal vs. Union Berlin, 2020
What were you doing at the age of 16 years and 28 days? Well, unless you happen to be Moukoko himself, you certainly weren’t finding the back of the net in a Bundesliga fixture, becoming the youngest person in history to do so in the process.
The striker had already become the youngest player the German top flight had ever seen when he replaced Erling Haaland against Hertha Berlin just one day after his 16th birthday – he would have undoubtedly featured sooner had Bundesliga rules not prevented him from doing so – and he was awarded his first start against Werder Bremen a few weeks later.
Moukoko had been unprecedentedly prolific at youth level, and he found his first-team scoring boots in the next game against Union. It was a stunning strike, too, as the teenager fired first-time beyond Andreas Luthe with aplomb and, although Dortmund ultimately fell to a 2-1 defeat, a new chapter had been written.
Watch: Moukoko discusses his record-breaking strike at Union
Jamal Musiala – Title-winner vs. Cologne, 2023
The 2022/23 Bundesliga title was arguably the most captivating in years, as countless twist and turns ensued at the summit of the table. Going into the final matchday, Dortmund led the way by two points, meaning Bayern could only clinch the Meisterschale if Edin Terzic’s men failed to beat Mainz at home and defending champions won away at Cologne.
While the former never looked like winning their own encounter, going down 2-0 early on before snatching a point at the death, Bayern’s own hopes were dealt a huge blow when Dejan Ljubičić cancelled out Kingsley Coman’s opener with just nine minutes left on the clock. In need of inspiration, Thomas Tuchel turned to his bench and introduced Musiala into the fray. The Germany international didn’t need long to make an impact.
In the penultimate minute of normal time, the 20-year-old took control of the ball on the edge of the box and curled a pinpoint strike into the bottom corner, sending the travelling Bayern supporters into raptures and breaking Dortmund hearts in the same breath.
Watch: Musiala details his last-gasp title-winner
Edin Terzić – First ever Dortmund game at the stadium vs. Duisburg, 1991
Dortmund head coach Terzić’s relationship with BVB goes back a lot further than his time in the dugout. He is a lifelong fan of the club, having previously been a season-ticket holder, and has lived and breathed the Ruhr outfit’s highs and lows ever since he was a boy.
His journey, as he explained to us, started in November 1991 aged just nine, when he joined his father at the Westfalenstadion for his old man’s birthday. It proved to be a joyous occasion for the budding football fanatic as his side won 2-1 – little did he know that three decades later, he would be the man tasked with putting smiles on Dortmund supporters’ faces.
Watch: Terzić reminisces about first Bundesliga match
Fredi Bobic – Bundesliga debut vs. Hamburg, 1994
Bobic was a relative veteran by the time he made his bow amongst the German elite at the age of 23 on the opening day of the 1994/95 campaign. The Yugoslavia-born forward had impressed for TSF Ditzingen and Stuttgarter Kickers in the lower leagues before VfB Stuttgart took a punt on him, and he could hardly have made a bigger immediate contribution.
Coming on with just under 20 minutes left to play, the 37-time Germany international headed home a last-minute winner to give his side a 2-1 victory. Bobic went on to have a long career at the top, but this special moment has clearly, and deservedly, lived long in the memory.
Watch: Bobic looks back at first Bundsliga appearance
Rainer Calmund – Leverkusen’s escape from relegation in 1995/96
Leverkusen may currently be one of the Bundesliga’s leading lights, but their status amongst the country’s elite has not always been so secure. Going into Matchday 34 of the 1995/96 term, Die Werkself knew a defeat at home against fellow relegation rivals Kaiserslautern would see them demoted to the second tier and, trailing 1-0 with just under 10 minutes remaining, it seemed their worst fears would be realised.
However, in his final game for Leverkusen, Markus Münch had other ideas, burying a volley into the roof of net to earn his side a crucial point. Head coach Calmund, who had already been at the club for 20 years in a number of different roles by that point, has stated Münch’s strike was a pivotal moment in the club’s history as they embarked on a golden age, narrowly missing out on Bundesliga and UEFA Champions League titles. It could have all been so different.
Watch: Calmund delights in Leverkusen survival