Georg Knöpfle

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Georg Knöpfle around 1955

Georg "Schorsch" Knöpfle (born May 15, 1904 in Schramberg , † December 14, 1987 in Hamburg - Farmsen-Berne ) was a German football player and coach . The half-striker from the Black Forest played in the 1920s and 1930s for the top southern German clubs SpVgg Fürth (1926–1928) and FSV Frankfurt (1928–1934). For the German national soccer team , he completed 23 international matches between 1928 and 1933. After finishing his career as a football player, he was active as a coach. In this role, winning the first German championship after the introduction of the Bundesliga with 1. FC Köln in 1964 was one of the highlights of his career.


Family, education and work

Knöpfle was the fourth of seven children of Matthias Knöpfle (1871–1962) and Christine geb. Hess (1872-1942). He attended the Berneck School in Schramberg from 1910 to 1918. From 1918 to 1921 he completed an apprenticeship as a mechanic at the Junghans watch factory in Schramberg. In 1926 he moved to Fürth .

He was married to Laura Alber (1905–2003) from Schramberger since 1935; both had two daughters and a son.

He was lifelong connected to Schramberg and the family there. During his time in Hamburg, he organized a memorable guest appearance for HSV in Schramberg in 1949, which the guests won 5-0.

Soccer player

Knöpfle (3rd from left) on April 28, 1929 before the international match against Italy

Knöpfle started playing football in the Black Forest at the age of nine at home with SpVgg 08 Schramberg . In this environment he was able to develop in the youth teams until 1922 and was even used in the first team in 1921. In 1926 he found one of the best clubs of the time in Fürth, SpVgg Fürth , which also won the German championship in the same year and employed a famous English coach in William Townley . After some time in the lower-class teams of the club, he made his final breakthrough in the first team in 1927.

In his combative style of play, he quickly made a name for himself as a runner, both on the left and on the right side, and after several appearances for the southern German team, he was first coached by Reich trainer Otto Nerz for the game of the German national team on April 15 Appointed against Switzerland in Bern in 1928. In his debut he managed a 3-2 victory.

After further test matches against Scottish and English professional teams, he was nominated for the squad for the Olympic Games in Amsterdam in the same year, where he played two games against Switzerland and Uruguay as a right wing runner .

Shortly after this tournament, Knöpfle moved from Fürth to FSV Frankfurt . The German runner-up from 1925 had lost his leadership role on the Main to local rivals Eintracht by this time . After the runner-up in 1932, the Bornheimers won the championship title in the Main District again in the 1932/33 round and fought their way to the finals in the final round for the "Süddeutsche". A header from Knöpfle decided the final in the Frankfurt Waldstadion against SV 1860 Munich in favor of the black and blue, who were able to celebrate their first - and so far only - southern German championship title. He was still active for another year for FSV Frankfurt, but was unable to build on the previous successes in the newly created Gauliga Südwest . With his 20 international appearances, he is the club's record player to this day.


During his time as a player at FSV Frankfurt, Knöpfle completed his training as a sports and soccer teacher at the German University for Physical Education in Berlin . In this role he was a guest at Victoria Hamburg for three months in the summer of 1932 . After recovering from a serious injury he suffered in a championship game against Schalke 04 in May 1933 , he had to forego continuing his career as a player. In 1935, for example, he passed the federal sports teacher examination at the DFB and was then part of the coaching staff of the German national soccer team at the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin. In 1937 he was appointed to the college for teacher training in Braunschweig and later he worked as head of the institute for physical exercises at the TH Braunschweig . At the same time he trained the team from Eintracht Braunschweig .

Before the end of the Second World War and after assistant activities under trainer Nerz, Knöpfle initially worked as a selection trainer for the area between Mecklenburg and Lower Saxony , before becoming active as a club trainer from 1937.

Major league era

After eleven years at Eintracht Braunschweig, where he was from 1937 to 1948 and again as an active player towards the end of the war, he was at SV Arminia Hannover from 1948 to 1949 , where he was tenth among the twelve clubs of the Oberliga Nord.

In 1949 he became a coach at the Oberliga Nord champions Hamburger SV , where the club legend Bung Bottle dominated. As an inaugural gift, he brought Jupp Posipal with him, who was to become world champion four years later and to this day remain the only HSV player who made it. With the hamburgers, Knöpfle won four more league titles in a row from 1950 to 1953. In the subsequent participation in the finals for the German championship, the Hamburg was not able to impress; apart from the 8: 2 home win against FC Schalke 04 in the group stage in 1952, which didn't change anything about the elimination. HSV was the first German team to travel to England in April 1950 after the Second World War, which was recognized as a contribution to international understanding. Particularly impressive here was a 3-1 win at the first division club Burnley FC , then tenth in the First Division , where Herbert Wojtkowiak made himself unforgettable when he scored all three goals. At the invitation of the German-American Football Association , one of the germ cells and power cells of the United States Soccer Football Association , HSV embarked on another crowded peace mission in May and was the first German club to travel to America, where it also achieved some great successes.

In 1952/53 he made the 17-year-old youth player Horst Schnoor the new, long-lived top dog between the posts because of injuries to the goalkeepers . Knöpfles last season with the Hanseatic League 1953-54 was by far the worst of HSV in the league era, which was only eleventh; the only season up to the introduction of the Bundesliga in which HSV was not the north champion. Because of a black money affair, HSV was at times deducted four points - four points, which would have only brought an improvement of five places in that season.

In March Knöpfle signed for three years with FC Bayern where he succeeded Georg Bayerer , who was ninth in the 16-Oberliga Süd in the previous season. At HSV, Knöppfle was succeeded by Herberger student Martin Wilke , whose assistant Günter Mahlmann became.

After the 14th day of the new season, just a few days before Christmas, Knöpfle suffered the only early dismissal of his coaching career in Munich. At the time, the team was four points behind the saving 14th place in 16th and last place. Bayern made Bertl Moll the new coach and Jakob Streitle was supposed to support him, as far as his obligations as a youth coach at the Bavarian Football Association allowed, to save the club from the first relegation in the club's history, but this failed.

From 1955 to 1958 he sat on the bench at Alemannia Aachen . Those were the best seasons for Aachen in the Oberliga, which came third twice and fifth once. Otherwise, a third place in 1952 was the best placement the club achieved.

He coached SV Werder Bremen from the 1958/59 season , which he led to victory in the 1961 DFB Cup . The 2-0 success in the final against 1. FC Kaiserslautern in front of only 18,000 spectators in the Glückauf-Kampfbahn in Gelsenkirchen - the smallest crowd that ever attended a German cup final - meant Werder won a national trophy for the first time. In the following year in the European Cup Winners' Cup , Werder retired after a success against the Danish title holder Aarhus GF in the subsequent quarter-finals against Atlético Madrid after a 1-1 draw at home and a 3-1 away draw.

He also led the team to their greatest successes in the Oberliga Nord, the runners-up in 1962 and 1963. In the latter, Werder scored 102 goals - still a record for a Werder season. But more important was the participation in the Bundesliga, which was introduced in 1963, which was secured by the good placement . Willi “Fischken” Multhaup was supposed to look after the Werderans there and even lead them to their first championship in 1965.

Bundesliga era

Georg Knöpfle became the successor of the Yugoslav Zlatko "Tschik" Čajkovski at the start of the Bundesliga at 1. FC Köln , who led the Domstadt team to their first German championship in 1962, but had speculated about his future planning and ended up with the second division FC Bayern Munich , where he was but found quite unexpected opportunities.

Knöpfle found a good mix of experienced people at 1. FC Köln such as the 36-year-old world champion from 1954 Hans Schäfer and the 33-year-old Georg Stollenwerk as well as up-and-coming young talents such as the 23-year-old Karl-Heinz Thielen and the just 20-year-old future World champion Wolfgang Overath before. Wolfgang Weber , who was only supposed to become vice world champion, was only 19 years old. At the end of the season Cologne was six points ahead of the outsider Meidericher SV from Duisburg, who was trained by "Riegel-Rudi" Gutendorf , and was historically the first champion of a national German soccer league. Thielen was the most accurate Cologne player with 16 goals, followed by Christian Müller , who scored once less. But Hamburg legend Uwe Seeler dominated nationwide with 30 goals.

Belgium's referee Robert Schaut throws the wooden disc

The first participation of 1. FC Köln in the European Cup of National Champions in 1962/63 was not a good star. The "billy goats" got under the wheels at the Scottish champions FC Dundee with 1: 8. In order to save the honor of Cologne, however, you have to note that they were on the field for the entire second half with ten players. FC goalkeeper Fritz Ewert stayed in the dressing room due to a concussion and had to be replaced by defender Anton Regh as the statutes did not yet provide for substitutions . It is rumored that in view of the catastrophic defeat on the return flight from Scotland, coach Čajkovski said: "Hopefully the plane dies (sic!)." During their second participation in the European Cup, the Cologne team was more than unfortunate. In the first two rounds, the "Effzeh" prevailed against the Albanian representative FK Partizani Tirana and the Greek champion Panathinaikos Athens . In the quarter-finals there was a goalless draw against the favored English title holder Liverpool FC in the return leg . The regulations at that time made a play-off in the Feijenoord stadium in Rotterdam (now De Kuip ) necessary. There were four goals at 2-2, but no decision. A coin toss made Liverpool FC the winner after 120 minutes of play. It went down in history as the “ Rotterdam coin toss ”. The toss had to be repeated because the coin, in this case a wooden disc painted white on one side and red on the other, initially got stuck upright in the muddy ground. In Rotterdam, the Cologne team was unlucky: defensive player Wolfgang Weber suffered a broken fibula in the first half, as was diagnosed after the game. Weber played more or less as an extra until the end of extra time.

Georg Knöpfle (1968)

For the 1966/1967 season, Franz Kremer , the president of 1. FC Cologne, appointed Willi Multhaup - who after the championship with Bremen meanwhile led Borussia Dortmund to the honor of runner-up, the club's best placement until the Hitzfeld era decades later - as the new coach. Kremer made Knöpfle a pioneer by promoting him to "technical director", that is, to a paid manager as the extended arm of the honorary president. There was a parallel development at Bayern Munich, where President Wilhelm Neudecker entrusted Robert Schwan , a businessman, with a comparable function as early as 1964 . That was no coincidence, because Neudecker and Schwan spent some time at 1. FC Köln and Franz Kremer Kremer to “sit in”, as they called it. They wanted to learn from the most successful German club at the time. In the 1960s, 1. FC Köln was the German flagship club in terms of the club's infrastructure, such as the exemplary training grounds at Geißbockheim.

While Schwan remained the "gray eminence" at Bavaria until the end of the 1970s and followed all games in the coaching bench with his trademark flat cap and smoking tobacco pipe, Georg Knöpfle moved on to Hamburger SV as manager after only one season to introduce the same function there . Kurt Koch was the coach there between 1967 and 1969, although Knöpfle stepped in for him on the last day of the 1967/68 season. HSV was able to take 13th and 6th place at the end of those two seasons. After Koch said goodbye, Knöpfle returned full-time to the Hamburg coaching bench in 1969/70 and also led the team around 33-year-old Uwe Seeler to sixth place. At the end of the season, Knöpfle was 65 years old himself, which was an opportunity to retire. For the next three years, Klaus-Dieter Ochs led the Hanseatic League into the era after Uwe Seeler, the club's most famous player to this day.

Knöpfle now settled permanently in Hamburg, where for the next two years he still looked after Meiendorfer SV from the district of the same name , which was then based in the lower amateur leagues .


In 2004, the Schramberg football club, Spielvereinigung 08, honored Knöpfle posthumously on the occasion of his 100th birthday and named the club house Georg-Knöpfle-Sportheim .


  • Knöpfle was also called "button" due to his small body size and based on his name as a player.
  • During his coaching time at 1. FC Köln, he was known as a “master blacksmith” and “coach with a high forehead”.
  • He was the first technical director in the history of the Bundesliga.

Web links and literature

  • Georg Mentlein, Hanspeter Kunz: SpVgg Greuther Fürth licensed team: Georg Knöpfle , Kleeblatt-Chronik (as of December 15, 2017)
  • Entry by Knöpfle, Georg "Schorsch" . In: Lorenz Knierim, Hardy Green: Encyclopedia of German League Football. Player Lexicon 1890–1963. Agon Sportverlag, Kassel 2006, ISBN 3-89784-148-7 , p. 197 f.
  • Hanspeter Kunz: Schramberg's ambassador for football, on the 100th birthday of Georg Knöpfle . In: D'Kräz , contributions to the history of the city and space Schramberg, issue 23, 2003, pp. 86–92.
  • Hanspeter Kunz: Georg Knöpfle, from street kicker to national player . In: D'Kräz , Heft 26, 2006, pp. 22-27.
  • Hanspeter Kunz: Georg Knöpfle, the football coach . In: D'Kräz , Heft 27, 2007, pp. 54–62.

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Matthias Arnhold: Georg Knöpfle - International Appearances . RSSSF . February 2, 2017. Retrieved February 8, 2017.
  2. ^ Club news, born in 1932. Three years later he played in an anniversary game in a Victoria jersey against Schalke 04.
  3. Steilpaß über den Atlantik , Die Zeit , # 13, 1967.
  4. Oberliga Nord + German Championship 1949/50 , (as of December 15, 2017)
  5. Ulrich Kuehne Hellmessen : 60 years Champions League: The greatest triumphs. The most spectacular victories. The most legendary players , Riva Verlag, 2016