The city of Leverkusen was finally founded on 1 April 1930 through a merger of the communities Wiesdorf, Rheindorf, Schlebusch, Steinbüchel (Manfort, Küppersteg, Bürrig ) and the area covered by the Leverkusen works with the housing built around the works. Sp. Vg. Wiesdorf-Leverkusen 04 needed another year until Wiesdorf was removed from the club name, which was now called Sp. Vg. Leverkusen 04, to produce a clear connection between the club and the city. We still have to wait a few years before the current club name SV Bayer 04 Leverkusen.
And the upturn finally comes on the pitch. In the 1930/31 season our players have their best campaign to date. On the penultimate matchday of the season, 22 March 1931, a convincing 3-1 victory over direct promotion rivals VfB Langenfeld that secures the championship title in the Cologne District League second division and promotion to the first division.
The champions of 1931 on the former pitch of BV Wiesdorf in their kit of the time – blue shirts, orange shorts and socks. In the background in front of the houses are the tracks – the houses are still standing today. Standing from left to right: Richard Purschke, Peter Schüller, Jean Breuer, Peter Schmitz, Paul Schneider, August Preikschat, Gustav Grenz, Alfred Schaumann, Karl Peckhaus, Fritz Heider, Heinrich Odenthal, Fritz Schorn, Rudi Krahne, Franz Koll
In the early months of 1932 unemployed club members start digging the ground, laying down fertiliser and new grass honour three-hectare piece of land south of the then city park on the Dhünn in Manfort. The land made available by the paint companies – then trading as I.G. Farbenindustrie AG - near to works colony III where the Lise Meitner Grammar School is today (corner of Am Stadtpark amd Walter Nelles Straße) is enclosed on their own account to complete the new sportsground with its two pitches. The club is lucky as the paint companies do not extend the colony after 1925 following the fourth building phase as planned so that the large areas north of Rathenaustrasse remain vacant. And the municipal building plan that envisaged the construction of a small housing estate is not implemented. And the newly formed community residential building society does not build on the whole area.
The ground is opened on 4 September 1932 and the first games follow. Our first team played their first home match of the championship against Jugend Kalk and run out 3-1 winners. The women's outdoor handball team are playing on the neighbouring pitch in this wonderful Am Stadtpark facility at the same time. Before that there was the clash of the reserve teams and their handball players were allowed onto the new turf for the first time at eleven in the morning. Thousands of fans surround the two pitches. 25 years after the founding of the squad half football team finally has a ground near to the city and the works that is also used by other sections of the sports club such as boxing and handball. This venue is the home ground of our works football players until 1958.
The Am Stadtpark sports ground in 1932 just after completion.
Match action from a game in the Am Stadtpark stadium in the 1930s.
In May 1935 the sports association is officially named 'Works club of I.G. Farbenindustrie' and now includes Bayer in its club name and uses the cross as a letterhead. In December of the same year and meeting decides that the first teams of the footballers and handball players should immediately where black shorts and a claret shirt with a white Bayer cross on a black background. The club is now called Sportvereinigung Bayer Leverkusen 04. There is no exact date when the Bayer cross was worn for the first time in the shirt. Apparently first time was in May 1936 when our footballers played Solingen the decider for promotion to the Lower Rhine District League. On 10 May 1936, 3,000 spectators came to the Am Stadtpark Stadium to see a 2-1 win. Solingen are the favourites to be promoted in the return match a week later. In the morning of 17 May, in wonderful sunshine under clear blue skies, 10 buses and countless cyclists make their way from Leverkusen to Solingen to support their team. The match ends in a 2-1 win with a brace from right-winger Friedrich 'Fritz' Schorn. After a 75-minute defensive battle two goals scored within three minutes to ensure our sports association are in the second tier for the first time.
The promotion team of 1936, standing left to right: Gustav Grenz, Willi Bauer, Vinzenz Bauer, Josef Bauer, Fritz Heydorn, Peter Schmitz, Heinz Herschbach, Hans Finken, Heinz Stachelscheidt, Fritz Nonnenbruch, Fritz Schorn, Moritz Könen
SV Bayer Leverkusen 04 do well in the new league but soon everything is subject to the political will. German clubs are recommended to organise themselves in company sports communities. The club is disbanded in December 1938 and renamed ‘Betriebssportgemeinschaft der I.G. Farbenindustrie AG’ to continue to enjoy the support of the company. The way back to SV Bayer 04 Leverkusen follows in the 1940s.
Match action from the game at the Am Stadtpark Stadium from the 1930s.