Throughout the Bundesliga’s 60-year history, some champions have caught the imagination more than most. From Cologne’s title win in the inaugural campaign to Bayern’s last-gasp winner against them to clinch the 2022/23 Meisterschale, there have been more than a few unforgettable moments.
The Bundesliga’s first season kicked off in August 1963, and nine months later, Cologne finished top of the table, one of only two times they have managed to do so. During the 1963/64 term, Rekordmeister Bayern were still down in the second-tier Regionalliga, eventually earning promotion in 1965. Their first triumph came in 1968/69, although their 1971/72 title-winning season was more memorable as they scored 101 goals, a record that still stands to this day, while Gerd Müller’s 40-strike haul has only once been surpassed, by Robert Lewandowski in 2020/21.
Bayern didn’t have it all their own way in the formative years, however. Borussia Mönchengladbach were their biggest rivals during the 1970s, prevailing on five occasions under the tutelages of Hannes Weisweiler and Udo Lattek. Sustained dominance is impressive, but neither of the aforementioned two German giants were able to win the title immediately after coming up from the second tier, with Kaiserslautern remaining the only outfit to do so thanks to their remarkable success in 1997/98.
The 2022/23 term was not the only time the title race has gone down to the wire, either. No campaign’s climax has offered more drama than 2000/01, when Patrik Andersson’s last-second equaliser at Hamburg snatched the title away from Schalke, who were celebrating what they thought was their maiden championship after a 5-3 victory at home to Unterhaching until the heartbreaking news filtered through.
Ailton-inspired Werder Bremen (2003/04) reigned supreme in more comfortable fashion, as did Kevin Kuranyi's VfB Stuttgart (2006/07), Grafite and Edin Džeko-led Wolfsburg (2009/10) and Jürgen Klopp’s Borussia Dortmund (2010/11). Bayern’s class of 2013/14, coached by Pep Guardiola, were the most dominant, securing their status as champions on Matchday 27, earlier than anyone else has ever managed.