Legendary Bayern Munich coach Jupp Heynckes once described the soccer ball as “together with the shoes, the most important product in football”. The former player and decorated tactician is not the only one to announce the humble ball; the German language itself does this as well, with the term “Spielgerät” commonly used in reference to the ball, translating to “play equipment”.
Given its importance, the history of the soccer ball has too often been forgotten. With that in mind, allow bundesliga.com to trumpet the fascinating history of the famous leather sphere in Germany and Europe.
The first football match on German soil took place in Braunschweig (home of third tier club Eintracht Braunschweig) in October 1874. A pair of local teachers, Konrad Koch and August Hermann, provided a ball ordered from England for that their students could play with, and before long, gambling had become commonplace in schools across the country.
There have been a few changes over the years, including that the cowhide used for the soccer ball was tanned and ungreased – resulting in a yellowish color in the mid-1950s – with three stitched leather bands, rather than a uniform leather covering, leading to the slightly triangular balls.
Remarkably, the leather soccer ball has been in use for almost a century, despite getting heavier in rainy or humid conditions, the ripple effect being that the quality of the game decreases.
Germany managed to win the FIFA World Cup in 1954 with a leather ball, which was also used when the Bundesliga was founded in 1963.
The Bundesliga match ball has come a long way since the league was founded in 1963. – imago sportfotodienst
The first real revolution in soccer history took place during the 1970 Soccer World Cup in Mexico, won by Brazil. As the manufacturer of the official tournament ball, adidas developed a soccer ball based on shapes from ancient Greek arithmetic: the Telstar ball was formed of 12 black pentagons and 20 white hexagons, sewn together into a perfect circle. The colors were chosen in such a way that they were immediately recognizable on black and white televisions of the time.
In the Bundesliga, until the introduction of the adidas TORFABRIK soccer ball in 2010/11, different clubs used different balls as it was their prerogative as the home team to decide which ball would be used for a match.
Only one soccer ball was used for all 306 Bundesliga matches in the 1979/80 campaign, but the idea of using a universal ball indefinitely was not accepted until the start of the 2010/11 season, when the DFL signed a contract with German sportswear. adidas will supply the TORFABRIK soccer balls for the next five seasons. Previously, a range of balls were used for matches, often different each week.
Thomas Müller of Bayern Munich scored the first goal in competition with the adidas TORFABRIK. – imago sportfotodienst
The TORFABRIK, the Bundesliga’s first uniform soccer ball, made its national debut in the 2010 Super Cup meeting between Bayern Munich and Schalke at WWK Arena in Augsburg. The original TORFABRIK soccer ball from 2010/11 was modeled on the Jabulani match ball used in the 2010 FIFA World Cup, while the 2014/15 ball was also inspired by the Brazuca ball used in the Cup of the world 2014.
DERBYSTAR provided the elite soccer ball for the 2018/19 season, however, with Heynckes particularly pleased with the return of an old friend.
“DERBYSTAR has always stood for exceptional quality in my time,” he said. “All of my major triumphs with Gladbach came using the DERBYSTAR ball.”
Robert Lewandowski has scored 22 of his 202 Bundesliga goals so far with the 2017/18 DERBYSTAR ball. – 2018 LDF
The latest edition, “Bundesliga Brilliant APS”, will be used for the first time in a competitive match on July 26, when Bundesliga 2 2019/20 kicks off.
The design of the ball is based on the classic black and white look of DERBYSTAR and is complemented by innovative optical elements. DERBYSTAR reinterpreted the stripe design to symbolize the interaction between players and fans through the intertwining movements of the lines. The transition from increasingly lighter, silvery elements to darker black elements emphasizes the speed and dynamics of the ball.
The colored arrows always point to a clear direction – there are no uncontrolled changes of direction, but precise and direct determination. The color turquoise reflects the business philosophy of DERBYSTAR by combining two colors and their symbolic meanings into one: green represents the reliability and reliability that the official ball radiates on the pitch, blue is the color of the soul and represents our belief that every balloon has a soul.
look: Focus on the DERBYSTAR Bundesliga 2019/20 ball
From the 1970/71 season, DERBYSTAR was represented in the Bundesliga through numerous partnerships with different clubs. During the 1979/80 season, DERBYSTAR balls were used in all 306 matches played in the Bundesliga.
Since its founding in 1968, DERBSTAR has specialized in the production of hand-sewn sports balls and was among the first manufacturers to use synthetic materials for this purpose. This decision was considered revolutionary in the mid-1970s and remains a benchmark in terms of innovation.