SpVgg Greuther Furth vector logo
About SpVgg Greuther Furth vector logo
The origins of SpVgg Fürth are in the establishment on 23 September 1903 of a football department within the gymnastics club Turnverein 1860 Fürth. The footballers went their own way as an independent club in November 1906. The team played in the Ostkreisliga and took divisional titles there in 1912, 1913, and 1914 before moving on to participate in the Süddeutscher (en:South German) regional playoffs for the national championship round.
Fürth won their first national title in 1914 under English coach William Townley. They faced VfB Leipzig – the defending champions with three titles to their credit – in the final held on May 31 in Magdeburg. A 154-minute-long thriller ended with Fürth scoring a golden goal to secure the title. The team had a solid run of successes through the 20s and into the early 30s, beginning with an appearance in the national final against Nürnberg in 1920. Nürnberg was the dominant side of the decade and a bitter rivallry developed between the two clubs. A star player with SpVgg was forced to leave after he married a Nürnberg girl. In 1924, for the first and only time, the German national side was made up exclusively of players from just two sides – Fürth and Nürnberg – and players of the two teams slept in separate rail coaches.
SpVgg showed regularly on the national stage, advancing to the semi-finals in 1923 and 1931. They claimed two more championships – in 1926 and 1929 – with both of those victories coming at the expense of Hertha BSC Berlin. Through this period the club played five finals in the Süddeutschpokal (en:South German Cup), coming away as cupwinners on four occasions. On 27 August 1929 the association was joined by FC Schneidig Fürth.
German football was re-organized in 1933 under the Third Reich into sixteen top flight Gauligen. Fürth became part of the Gauliga Bayern, but their success over the next dozen seasons was limited to a division title there in 1935, alongside regular appearances in competition for the Tschammerpokal, predecessor to today’s DFB Pokal (en:German Cup).
After the war the team struggled through three seasons in the Oberliga Süd (I) before slipping to the Amateurliga Bayern (II). SpVgg quickly recovered itself and returned to Oberliga play the next season. They won the title there in 1950 and went on to the national playoffs, advancing as far as the semifinals before being eliminated 1:4 by VfB Stuttgart. Fürth remained a first division side until the formation of the Bundesliga in 1963.
The club did not qualify as one of the sixteen teams that made up the new unified national first division and found themselves playing second division football in the Regionalliga Süd, where the were generally a mid-table side whose best finish was third place result in 1967. The club played in the 2.Bundesliga from its inception in 1974 until 1983 with their best performance a fourth place finish in 1978-79. They slipped to playing in the tier III Oberliga Bayern, with a short three-year spell in the fourth division Landesliga Bayern-Mitte in the late 80s. In 1990, Fürth celebrated a 3:1 victory in the opening round of German Cup play over first division side Borussia Dortmund before going out 0:1 to 1. FC Saarbrücken in the second round. They returned to the Amateur Oberliga Bayern (IV) in 1991 and the Regionalliga Süd (III) in 1994.
Meanwhile, the small village team of TSV Vestenbergsgreuth was established 1 February 1974 and made its appearance as a fourth division side. They made their move up into the Amateur Oberliga Bayern (III) in 1987, just as Fürth was making its way down to play in the division the more junior club had just escaped. TSV took part in the national amateur playoff round in 1988 and 1995. Their best performance came in the 1995 DFB Pokal (en:German Cup) when they upset Bayern Munich 1:0, and then beat FC Homburg 5:1, before being eliminated in the third round of the competition by VfL Wolfsburg on penalty kicks.
At the time of their merger in 1996, in which TSV’s football players came over to Fürth, both clubs were playing at about the same level in Regionalliga Süd (III). The new club was runner-up in the division the next year, and so earned promotion to the 2.Bundesliga, where they have consistently finished in the top half of the eighteen team table. Fürth has come close to renewing its ancient rivallry with Nürnberg, narrowly missing promotion in each of the last two seasons.
Fürth also fields a strong reserve side which has played in the Oberliga Bayern (IV) since the 2001-02 season and finished second there in 2006-07.