Summary

  • Konietzka scored the first ever Bundesliga goal.
  • Forward netted 72 in 100 Bundesliga games for Dortmund and 1860 Munich.
  • 50,000 goals have been scored in the Bundesliga since Konietzka's opener.

The Bundesliga has passed the 50,000-goal mark. What better time, then to take a look back upon the remarkable career of the man who scored the first of them – Timo Konietzka.

That maiden goal will never be forgotten, but it will never be seen either. Konietzka needed just 58 seconds of the newly-formed Bundesliga to become a legend. On August 24, 1963, he scored the first goal in Bundesliga history – but no photographer recorded the moment.

The striker was playing for Borussia Dortmund at SV Werder Bremen. There were no television cameras inside the ground and, as the Lünen native later recalled, "The photographers were all behind our goal, because they were all expecting Bremen to score."

There is plenty of archive footage of Koznietzka in action, but no trace of his maiden strike. © imago / Horstmüller

Konietzka left them all with egg on their face. Lothar Emmerich started down the left towards the goalline, passed into the penalty area and Konietzka turned home from around eight metres. In total, he would score 72 Bundesliga goals in 100 matches for Dortmund and TSV 1860 Munich. "And that's without penalties or free-kicks - only Gerd Müller had a better ratio than I did," Konietzka noted proudly.

Konietzka had once slaved away as a miner in depths of 700 metres at the Victoria coal mine in Germany's Saarland and, at the same time, he played for VfB 08 Lünen before BVB discovered him in 1958. He was 20 years old at the time and still went by his first name of Friedhelm.  "Football got me out of the mine to my dream club and I was able to travel the world without having to pay for it," he said in an interview later.

"Jockel Bracht said I looked like the Russian general Timoshenko, and from then on everybody called me Timo." - Timo Konietzka

Max Merkel brought him into his lower league – Oberliga – team, and late in the summer of 1960 the then-22-year-old scored the winning goal on his Oberliga debut against Aachen. Konietzka played 110 games for BVB before the Bundesliga was formed and contributed to Dortmund's success with his goals. Together with his strike partner Jürgen 'Charly' Schütz he formed one of the most prolific forward partnerships in the Oberliga West.

The duo also established a penalty kick routine of their own. It was something that Konietzka liked to call one of his greatest sporting successes, eclipsing even his championship titles and nine caps for West Germany: Schütz would simply nudge the ball from the penalty spot and Konietzka would run into the penalty area to score. It was a legitimate goal but it still left opponents and referees alike looking puzzled, according to Konietzka. "We were the first to do it like that," he said of the routine that was later copied by the likes of AFC Ajax's Johan Cruyff.

Konietzka (r.) in action for 1860 Munich © imago / Sven Simon

In 1963 Konietzka became German champion with BVB and three years later, he did it again in the Bundesliga with 1860. The forward had moved there in 1965 and confirmed that first ever Bundesliga goal had been no fluke as he scored yet again within the first minute of his debut for the Lions in the derby against FC Bayern München, and you guessed it – it was the first goal of the new season.

His departure from the Bundesliga and switch to Switzerland, due mainly to a six-month ban sanctioned for a run-in with a referee, came in the 1967/68 season when he joined FC Winterthur. Four years later, he made his coaching debut as a player-manager at FC Zürich, winning the Swiss league title three years in a row between 1974 and 1976 and leading them to the semi-finals of the 1977 European Cup.

He returned to Germany to coach Dortmund and Bayer 05 Uerdingen – a big name in German football at the time – before clinching another Swiss title with Grasshoppers. Speaking of big names, Konietzka made his under the name 'Timo'. "As I turned up to training one day, [team-mate] Jockel Bracht said I looked like the Russian general Timoschenko, and from then on everybody called me Timo," recalled Konietzka, who adopted Timo officially in 1985.

Dietmar Nolte