Created on 24-06-2018 at 17:30 PM by Redaktion
The Bundesliga trophy will only be on display at the FC Bayern Erlebniswelt until 24.08.2018, before it’s replaced by a replica.
It has an almost magical appeal. Every footballer would like to win it and lift in proudly in the air. Every fan dreams of being able to touch it, even if just for one short moment: it is the Bundesliga trophy.
Former Germany player Manfred Kaltz was the first to notice it. The right-back, whose ‘banana crosses’ to Horst Hrubesch were a big part of Hamburger SV’s successes in the 80s, was shocked when on 29 May 1982, he got his hands on the coveted ‘Meisterschale’ after HSV’s fifth German title. After taking a close look at the silver shield, the 1980 European champion concluded: “They can’t engrave the club names anymore. The Meisterschale is already full.”
It could be that Kaltz was looking at a replica of the trophy, on which there was indeed no room left after the last place had been filled by the year and name of the previous winners (1981: FC Bayern München). But of course the DFB (German Football Association), which at the time was still responsible for the top flight before the formation of the League Association, had already found a remedy.
“Most coveted trophy in German sport”
A silver ring, adorned with five precious tourmaline cabochons of 71.98 carat gold and measuring around 4.5 centimetres, was added. That was set to be sufficient until 2011, but after Wolfsburg’s title triumph in 2009, part two of the enlargement followed. Five new, larger engraving plates were added, which is expected to allow the names of future winners to sit alongside all previous winners until 2027.
The easy-to-handle shield was initially intended as a temporary replacement for the ‘Viktoria’, a one-metre bronze trophy of a young woman with angels’ wings that was given to the German champions between 1903 and 1944. This was lost during the Second World War and only re-emerged after reunification, but by that point the Meisterschale had earned cult status, with countless fans waving paper cut-outs of the trophy in the stands.
“The title is a symbol of performance and success in the Bundesliga; no other trophy in German sport is more coveted,” says Dr. Reinhard Rauball, president of the League Association. “Every player and every fan dreams of winning it and holding in their hands one day.”
Whether in its original form of 50 centimetres and 5.5 kilograms as designed by Prof. Elisabeth Treskow and students of the Cologne factory schools, or as it is now, nine centimetres larger and weighing 11 kilograms: the Meisterschale is intertwined with many anecdotes. Some big, some small, some well documented and others behind the scenes.
59 cm diameter and 11 kg
Franck Ribéry, for example, ran off from the podium with the valuable item in front of an audience of millions in 2008 as the record champions celebrated their 21st Bundesliga title. The Frenchman wanted to enjoy a moment with the prestigious trophy all for himself – although a little later he did rightly share it with his teammates.
Another incident momentarily gave the powers that be at Bayern quite a headache, as media director Markus Hörwick still recalls well: “During a title party in the mid-80s, the shield was suddenly gone – the original, no less.” Initially there was no big panic from anyone, the motto being that eventually it will turn up. “But when it still wasn’t back later on, the nervousness started to increase a bit. It turned out it was a prank by Jean-Marie Pfaff.”
The former Belgium goalkeeper presented the missing ‘salad bowl’ at breakfast the next morning, much to the relief of the bosses. He’d taken it to his hotel room and put it under the pillows. As a result, originals are now swapped for replicas at any official occasions.
As yet, no similar stories have come out about the 2018 title celebrations. In the meantime, the Meisterschale has entered the FC Bayern Erlebniswelt. After Philipp Lahm in 2017, it was Jérôme Boateng who had the honour this year. “Winning the title is always something very special, and to bring the shield into our museum is a big honour for me,” said the centre-back. “We want to continue contesting all three competitions in the years to come,” he assured the fans present.