Saarland national football team

Association Saarländischer Fußball-Bund
Head coach Helmut Schön
Most caps Waldemar Philippi (18)
Top scorer Herbert Binkert,
Herbert Martin (6)
Home stadium Ludwigsparkstadion
First colours
Second colours
First international
Saar Protectorate Saarland 4 – 2 Switzerland  
(Saarbrücken, Saar; 22 November 1950)
 Norway 2 – 4 Saarland Saar Protectorate
(Oslo, Norway; 24 June 1953)
Last International
 Netherlands 5 – 2 Saarland Saar Protectorate
(Amsterdam, Netherlands; 6 June 1956)
Biggest win
  Switzerland 0 – 5 Saarland Saar Protectorate
(Bern, Switzerland; 15 September 1951)
Biggest defeat
Saar Protectorate Saarland 0 – 7 Uruguay 
(Saarbrücken, Saar; 5 June 1954)

The Saarland national football team (German: Saarländische Fußballnationalmannschaft) was the association football team representing Saarland from 1950 to 1956 during the French occupation following World War II. As France opposed the inclusion of the Saarland in the Federal Republic of Germany until 1956, they administered it separately from Germany as the Saar Protectorate.

As the local population did not want to join France, separate organisations were founded. A National Olympic Committee was founded in 1950, leading to an appearance of Saar at the 1952 Summer Olympics. Also, considering themselves not an independent nation different from Germany, the football team was not designated as a "national team", and was more generally referred to as a "selection" (German: Auswahl) or some similar term.[1]


Due to post-war partition, Saarland was separate from both the Federal Republic of Germany (aka West Germany until 1990) and the German Democratic Republic (East Germany). The Saarländischer Fußballbund (SFB) was founded on 25 July 1948 in Sulzbach, with Willy Koch as first chairman. The clubs of the Saarland played in the local Ehrenliga for three seasons from 1948 to 1951, with the exception of the strong 1. FC Saarbrücken club, which played as guests in French Ligue 2 in 1948–49, where they were known as FC Sarrebruck. They easily finished top of the division that season. However, after French clubs voted unanimously against them joining the French Football Federation (resulting in the resignation of president Jules Rimet, who had suggested that Saarbrücken join), the club left the French league. Not interested in rejoining the weak in the Ehrenliga they established a short-lived invitational tournament, the Internationaler Saarlandpokal, which attracted a number of top teams and is regarded as a forerunner to the European Cup.[2] In 1955, Saarbrücken became the sole club representing Saarland in the newborn European Champion Clubs' Cup, winning the first leg in San Siro against the Italian champions AC Milan (3–4), but they were heavily defeated (1–4) and eliminated in the second leg at home by the Lombard opponents.[3] By that time, however, 1.FCS and other leading Saarland clubs had already rejoined the DFB league system, playing in the Oberliga Südwest on a mutual agreement.

On 17 July 1949, the members of the SFB declined a proposal to apply for membership in the French Football Federation by a vote of 609–299 (55 abstentions). Led by new president Hermann Neuberger since 14 May 1950, the SFB became part of FIFA on 12 June 1950, three months before the German Football Association DFB was reinstated, and two years before the East German association was accepted.

The Saarland team was made up largely of footballers from 1. FC Saarbrücken and was buttressed by players from SV Saar 05 Saarbrücken and Borussia Neunkirchen, with occasional representation from clubs including SV St. Ingbert 1945, FC 1912 Ensdorf, and ASC Dudweiler.

The team played only 19 games, 10 of these against "B" squads, but did participate in the 1954 World Cup qualifiers, finishing ahead of Norway in their group by defeating them in Oslo. Prior to the 1954 World Cup in Switzerland, on June 5, they hosted a game against defending World Champion Uruguay, losing 1–7. Other "A" team opponents in friendlies were Yugoslavia (1–5), the Netherlands (1–2, 2–3) and Switzerland (1–1). The only match played outside of Europe was against Uruguay in Montevideo.

Following a plebiscite in 1955, the Saarland became part of the Federal Republic of Germany with effect on 1 January 1957. The SFB ended its separate FIFA membership and became part of the DFB as the SFV (de: Saarländischer Fußballverband). Coach Helmut Schön, who had managed the Saarland team since 1952, went on to coach the successful German national team in the 1960s and 1970s. Hermann Neuberger, a native of the Saarland, proposed the foundation of the Bundesliga in 1962, organized the 1974 FIFA World Cup, and served as president of the DFB from 1975 until his death in 1992.

1954 World Cup qualifying

The only time that the Saarland entered the World Cup was for the 1954 event. They were drawn in Group 1 alongside West Germany and Norway, in a triangular series. In the opening round in summer 1953, they won their only competitive away match, beating Norway 3–2 in Oslo after trailing 0–2, and with only 10 effective players, after an early substitute due to injury, and Theodor Puff staying on the field with a broken fibula. Thus they still topped the group after West Germany drew their game in Oslo. Saarland were emphatically beaten 3–0 by West Germany in Stuttgart and could only manage a 0–0 draw at home against Norway. Both German teams were placed joint first until West Germany beat Norway 5–1, putting an end to Norwegian hopes. The remaining inter-German match, to be played after a four-month winter hiatus, would decide which one of the German teams should advance to the tournament in Switzerland.

Saarland, which had already secured second in the group ahead of Norway, needed a win at home to finish first, yet lost 3–1. Unbeaten West Germany topped the final ranking, went to Switzerland and won the 1954 World Cup there. Sepp Herberger would have capped Kurt Clemens for West Germany, but he was ineligible like all others who had played international games for Saarland.

This was the Saarland's only separate entry in the World Cup; its players, coaches and staff could join West Germany in time to assist in the defence of the World Cup in 1958.

Date Venue Home Result Guest
June 24, 1953 Oslo  Norway 2  3  Saar
August 19, 1953 Oslo  Norway 1  1 Germany West Germany
October 11, 1953 Stuttgart Germany West Germany 3  0  Saar
November 8, 1953 Saarbrücken  Saar 0  0  Norway
November 22, 1953 Hamburg Germany West Germany 5  1  Norway
March 28, 1954 Saarbrücken  Saar 1  3 Germany West Germany
Rank Team Pld W D L GF GA Pts
1 Germany West Germany 43101237
2  Saar 4112483
3  Norway 4022492

World Cup record


Match Results

19 matches played:[4]
6 wins, 3 draws, 10 losses

Saar Protectorate Saarland national football team results
     Win       Draw       Defeat
M Opponent Date Result Event
1   Switzerland 22 Nov 1950 5–3 Saar Protectorate Friendly
2  Austria 27 May 1951 3–2 Saar Protectorate Friendly
3   Switzerland 15 Sep 1951 5–2 Switzerland Friendly
4  Austria 14 Oct 1951 1–4 Austria Friendly
5  France 20 Apr 1952 0–1 Saar Protectorate Friendly
6  France 5 Oct 1952 3–1 France Friendly
7  Norway 24 Jun 1953 3–2 Norway 1954 FIFA World Cup qual.
8  West Germany 11 Oct 1953 0–3 West Germany 1954 FIFA World Cup qual.
9  Norway 8 Nov 1953 0–0 Saar Protectorate 1954 FIFA World Cup qual.
10  West Germany 28 Mar 1954 1–3 Saar Protectorate 1954 FIFA World Cup qual.
11  Uruguay 5 Jun 1954 1–7 Saar Protectorate Friendly
12  Yugoslavia 26 Sep 1954 1–5 Saar Protectorate Friendly
13  France 17 Oct 1954 1–4 France Friendly
14  Portugal 1 May 1955 1–6 Portugal Friendly
15  France 9 Oct 1955 7–5 Saar Protectorate Friendly
16  Netherlands 16 Nov 1955 1–2 Saar Protectorate Friendly
17   Switzerland 1 May 1956 1–1 Saar Protectorate Friendly
18  Portugal 3 Jun 1956 0–0 Saar Protectorate Friendly
19  Netherlands 6 Jun 1956 2–3 Netherlands Friendly


Saarland, having just been separated from Germany, did not have a national anthem of its own, and so the first international football fixture (1950 vs. Switzerland) was the reason to establish "Ich weiß, wo ein liebliches, freundliches Tal" as the anthem for such events.


  1. Not all players were "natives" anyway as some had joined Saarland clubs from elsewhere, like Ringel, Immig or goalkeepers Borcherding and Jirasek; see List of Saarland international footballers
  2. Saarland 1950–55 When Saturday Comes, May 2008
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