The German state of Saarland, where the city of Saarbrücken is located, was occupied by the French after the war. They made various efforts to see the state become independent of Germany or join France. In sport this was manifested as separate 1952 Olympic and 1954 World Cup teams for Saarland and the establishment of a short-lived football league for the state called the Ehrenliga. In 1948, 1. FC Saarbrücken was one of a number of sides forced out of German football, but unlike other clubs they did not play in the puppet league: instead the strong side became part of the French second division as FC Sarrebruck. They won the division handily, six points clear of Girondins Bordeaux, but were refused promotion into the French first division to avoid the potential embarrassment of having a German side romp through the league.
Saarbrücken withdrew from the league and began play in a series of friendlies over the next two years. They organized a tournament in 1949-50 called Internationaler Saarland Pokal (International Saarland Cup} that had them play fifteen home matches against teams from Austria, Chile, Denmark, France, Sweden, Switzerland, and Yugoslavia. The top three sides then joined hosts Saarbrücken in a playoff round, which the home team eventually won in a 4:0 victory over Stade Rennais UC of France. The next year fellow Saarlanders VfB Neunkirchen co-hosted the tournament which this time included more German sides. The tournament was abandoned for 1952 as agreement was reached to allow teams from the Saarland re-admission to the DFB (Deutscher Fußball-Bund or German Football Association).
This episode in the history of German football would play itself out with the odd appearance of a separate side from Saarland in the 1954 World Cup preliminary rounds. Without a proper home in either of the German or French leagues, Saarland had established a separate football association with membership in FIFA. 1. FC Saarbrücken sent ten players to that national side and the Saarlanders acquitted themselves well, finishing second in their group ahead of Norway and behind group winner West Germany. Saarbrücken would also make an appearance in the 1956 European Cup as Saarland's representative and go out against AC Milan in the first round.
In 1963, Germany finally saw the creation of a top flight national league with the formation of the Bundesliga. Sixteen teams were selected to play in the new league based on their performance, financial health and a geographical distribution intended to fairly represent all parts of the country. The first eight selections were straight forward and included divisional champions and the national finalists. Saarbrücken's selection to the new league was arguably the most controversial as the club's recent record was not as good as their divisional rivals Neunkirchen, FK Pirmasens and Wormatia Worms. The belief is that their advantage lay in the fact that the club had a long association with Hermann Neuberger, an extremely influential figure in German football – and a member of the selection committee.
At the end of the inaugural Bundesliga season in 1963-64 Saarbrücken found themselves dead last, seven points short of safety. The club was relegated to the second tier Regionalliga Südwest where they finished strongly in each of the next three seasons, but were unable to advance through the Bundesliga promotion rounds. They were finally able to make their way back to the top flight after a first place finish in the 2nd Bundesliga Süd in the 1976 season. After two seasons there the team returned to second division and by 1981 had slipped to the Amateur Oberliga Südwest (III). There were two more turns in the Bundesliga, in 1986 and 1993, both ending in relegation. A financial crisis in 1995 led to the club being denied a license and had them sent down to the Regionalliga West/Südwest (III). Saarbrücken has since become an "elevator crew" with frequent moves between tier II and III football. During this time the club remained a strong local side with a half dozen Saarland-Pokal wins to its credit.
|1999-2000||Regionalliga West/Südwest (III)||1st ↑|
|2000-01||2nd Bundesliga (II)||8th|
|2001-02||2nd Bundesliga||16th ↓|
|2002-03||Regionalliga Süd (III)||6th|
|2003-04||Regionalliga Süd||3rd ↑|
|2004-05||2nd Bundesliga (II)||12th|
|2005-06||2nd Bundesliga||16th ↓|
|2006-07||Regionalliga Süd (III)||15th ↓|
|2007-08||Oberliga Südwest (IV)||5th|
|2008-09||Oberliga Südwest (V)|