In 1899 the former athletics sports field on Kurfürstendamm was the site of the so-called Ur-Länderspiele. These first international matches against England, played before the DFB was founded, gave a powerful boost to the development of football in Germany.

The first international matches — the so-called Ur-Länderspiele — mark an important milestone in the history of German football.

The first international, but still unofficial, matches took place on November 23 and 24, 1899, on the athletics sports field on Kurfürstendamm. The German team played against an English all-star team, the first one from the British Isles to play on the European continent. The initiator of those first matches was the 26-year-old Walter Bensemann, who almost single-handedly organized the event. In fact, the plan to hold these matches initially met with opposition, and the games nearly fell through because of lack of funding, but then Bensemann’s friend Ivo Schricker, who later became the general secretary of FIFA, stepped in. Even though both games were lost in a big way with scores of 2:13 and 2:10, these first international matches, called Ur-Länderspiele, are considered an important milestone in the early history of German football.

Additional topics on the information board

  • The English team’s style of playing
  • Walter Bensemann
  • Andrew Pitcairn-Knowles
  • Matches against English teams

Paul Eichelmann, goalkeeper of the BFC Germania 1888, played in 1899 in the so-called Ur-Länderspiele, the first international matches, and almost a decade later he also was goalkeeper in the second and third international matches of the DFB. Eichelmann is thus the only player of the original international matches who later also played on the official national team.

Foto von Paul Eichelmann