Thema des Monats: Fundstücke der Fußballgeschichte

Topic of the Month: Historic football artefacts


Many people live and breathe football as a matter of course, but the sport is currently even more in the spotlight. Far from heralding the start of a football-free period, this year the close of the Bundesliga season will mark the start of the run-up to the FIFA World Cup finals, to be held in Brazil between 12th June and 13th July.

Adidas “Argentina” shoe; 5th FIFA World Cup 1954, Switzerland Deutsches Sport & Olympia Museum)

And a dip into the Deutsche Digitale Bibliothek could serve as a taster. As with all other areas of life, the history of sport, too, has its place in the digital database of cultural heritage. The German Sports and Olympics Museum in Cologne, for instance, has a range of digitised items from its collection on display in the DDB. They include a number of remarkable and fascinating exhibits relating to the history of football along with detailed explanatory commentaries that will surprise even the most passionate fan.

We learn, for example, that Herbert Burdenski was wearing boots with the evocative name of “Atom” when he scored Germany’s first post-war goal in an international match in 1950. No less interesting are the “Argentina” shoes, based on the removable-studs design – revolutionary at the time -, that gave the German team a decisive advantage on the drenched pitch and helped them to victory in the 1954 World Cup final.

The collection’s detailed accompanying texts are a trove of fascinating trivia. We read, for instance, of the controversy triggered by “Mr. Crack” – the official football in the 1962 World Cup in Chile – on account of its physical properties, prompting the fatalist remark from Sepp Herberger: “The ball is not a living thing; it has no soul”. Very much alive, however, is the interest people have in these and other sports artefacts waiting to be discovered in the Deutsche Digitale Bibliothek.