The GDR league, like the entire soccer game in the GDR, was subject to the varied efforts to make GDR soccer international class. In the 40 years of its existence, the GDR league was restructured six times, although it played mostly with two seasons, but also with one, three or five seasons in between. It was the basin of the strongest company sports associations (BSG), while with a few exceptions in the major league, mainly the football clubs supported by the state within the sports promotion played. The performance gap between the top division and the league was particularly large from the mid-1960s. In contrast to the upper league, foreigners were also allowed to play in the GDR league until 1984. Especially in the 1970s, the SASK Elstal increased its loans to sports associations. The Soviet players showed partly Erstligaerfahrung on. With the DFV football decision of 1983, foreigners were only allowed to play in the third-rate district leagues from 1984 onwards .
After the compulsory dissolution of the East German sports clubs on January 1, 1946, the Soviet Union initially only permitted football competitions in its zone of occupation at the local level, so that supraregional leagues could not be founded until 1949. Since the Soviet zone of occupation after the Second World War, initially in the five countries Brandenburg , Mecklenburg (to 1947 Mecklenburg-Vorpommern), Saxony , Saxony-Anhalt , Thuringia and the city of East Berlin was divided, it presented itself accordingly to, in staggered Landesligen to play. However, this substructure appeared to be too large and cumbersome for the Oberliga des Deutschen Sportausschusses (DS) , which was also launched in 1949 , which is why the two-track GDR league was created in 1950 and the national leagues thus became third-class.
1950–1955: The first years
In the first season 1950/51, the league was originally supposed to consist of 16 teams, namely three from each of the five territorial countries, plus Union Oberschöneweide . Only the addition of further clubs from Berlin made the expansion to 20 and the division necessary before the start of the season, while Union was now allowed to play in the top division. The game was played in two seasons with ten teams each, although the regional breakdown is no longer comprehensible today (1951/52, for example, Schwerin unit played in season 1, but VP Schwerin in season 2). The champions of the two seasons rose directly to the league, the promoted to the GDR league were initially recruited from the champions of the national leagues. In July 1952, the GDR carried out an administrative reform, and the districts of Rostock , Schwerin , Neubrandenburg , Magdeburg , Potsdam , Frankfurt / O were created. , Erfurt , Halle , Leipzig , Dresden , Cottbus , Suhl , Gera and Karl-Marx-Stadt . Thereupon the national leagues were abolished and district leagues introduced. Since there were now 15 champions with the district league champions of East Berlin from the 1952/53 season, but only six promotion places were planned in the two GDR leagues, the district champions had to go into a promotion round. In three groups, five champions met each other in a simple round without return games, the first two of each group rose to the GDR league.
The number of GDR league teams per season increased to twelve from the 1951/52 season and then to 13 (1952/53) and 14 (1953/54). From 1954/55 onwards there were three seasons with 14 teams each.
1955–1964: I. and II. League, change of game year
After the 1954/1955 season, the three squadrons of the GDR League were merged into a new, 14-team single-track I. GDR League. The teams from season 1 in positions 2 to 5, from season 2 those in positions 2 to 4 and from season 3 the first five teams qualified. The season winners 1 and 2 were promoted to the league. The remaining teams came into the two regional seasons of the newly created II. GDR League . In addition, in 1955, based on the Soviet model, the game year was adjusted to the calendar year, so an intermediate round had to be played in the autumn without a second leg and without promotion and relegation. However, nothing changed in the promotion mode of the district league champions.
From the 1958 season, the II. League drove five tracks in order to reduce the high financial outlay that the teams incurred due to travel expenses. After this change, the first 3 of the district leagues for the II. League were eligible for promotion. For promotion to the first league, the champions of the second leagues fought again in a simple promotion round without a second leg. The first two teams qualified for the I. League.
In 1961 it was decided to switch back to the autumn / spring season mode, which is why the 1961/62 season was played in a round of three with home and away games and a preceding round on neutral courts. From the 1962/63 season, the I. League was played as the second highest division again in two seasons, the leaders of which rose to the top division. After the 1962/63 season, the II. League was finally abolished and the district leagues back to the third highest division. The two seasons of the I. League were increased to 16 teams each at the beginning of the 1963/64 season. All leaders of the II. Leagues were allowed to rise, the second-placed and the district champions determined three further I.-Liga participants in a promotion round.
1964–1989: The later years
During the next few years, the GDR league was spared major changes, but from 1967/68 the 2nd teams of the league teams were also eligible for promotion to the GDR league, but could not be promoted to the league. So-called elevator teams for the district league were formed, such as B. the team of activist Schwarze Pump with three promotions and relegations between 1964 and 1971. The last relegation of this team was sealed at the beginning of the 1970/71 season by a disqualification, because the players paid too high salaries and bonuses in the previous season and, according to the DFV , the team had gained unjustified advantages as a result. Black pump was demoted to the district league after two games in the GDR league and was declared a relegated from the GDR league. Steel Eisenhüttenstadt and Chemie Wolfen were also dealt with for the same reasons .
Other teams were not relegated from the GDR league in 1971, as the league was increased from two to five seasons at the beginning of the 1971/72 season. In future, the relays played with twelve teams according to regional criteria. In the first season, all champions and runners-up of the district leagues rose, and seasons C and D only played with eleven teams, due to the disqualifications of the preseason and the disqualification of Chemie Wolfen, where too high benefits had been paid. As before, two teams rose from the GDR league to the upper league, which were determined in a promotion round with home and away games among the first team. The last three relay teams had to relegate to the district league and were replaced by the district champions in the future.
After the end of the 1975/76 season, the participation of the 2nd teams in the GDR league was abolished again in order to increase the attractiveness of the Oberliga substructure again. In two cases, these teams who were not eligible for promotion had become season winners, but all reserve teams ensured low attendance numbers.
With the 1984/85 season, the GDR league returned to two seasons after 13 years. This time with 18 teams per season, for which the first six of the previous five seasons had qualified (exception season A: for the dissolved season winner ASG Vorwärts Neubrandenburg the 7th, ISG Schwerin , moved up). While all district champions apart from the 2nd teams of the upper division were automatically promoted to the GDR league, there were now only six promoted teams, who were divided between the two league relays according to territorial aspects. From now on, the 2nd teams of the upper division were again eligible for promotion. Since they were initially classified in the district leagues after the junior league was converted to the junior league in the summer of 1983/1984, it wasn't until the summer of 1984 that seven reserve teams knocked at the league's gate for the first time - five of them (BFC, DD, FCC, RWE and FCV) in the promotion round made the leap into the lower house. By 1989/90 , the fifteen district champions were able to qualify for promotion to the league in three groups.
Example Potsdam-Babelsberg and Neubrandenburg
The team of the BSG Rotation Babelsberg was one of the first participants in the GDR Oberliga in 1949/50, this year under the name BSG Volksstimme . The Babelsbergers played in the top GDR soccer class until 1958, but were then relegated to bottom of the table in the GDR league. In 1961, the SC Potsdam was founded to promote competitive sports in the previously underdeveloped district of Potsdam . In order to create a strong football section, the league representative Rotation Babelsberg had to hand over its best players to SC Potsdam. This took the league place of the Babelsberger, whose team was downgraded to the 2nd GDR league. Without his regulars, rotation later sank in the district league. In 1965, the soccer sections were separated from the sports clubs to create independent soccer clubs. Since the Potsdamer had always embodied mediocrity in the GDR league, they were not allowed to found a football club; rather, the footballers had to join the BSG Motor Babelsberg district league team , which was allowed to take the SC Potsdam league place in the 1965/66 season.
A sports club, SC Neubrandenburg, was also founded in Neubrandenburg in 1961 . In contrast to Potsdam, however, the entire football section of the BSG Turbine Neubrandenburg was incorporated here, which had to continue to play in the 2nd GDR league. However, the development was initially more positive than in Potsdam. In 1962 he was promoted to the first GDR league, two years later he was promoted to the top division. But the top division could only be held for a year, which was also a reason for the DFV not to allow a football club in Neubrandenburg. Here the soccer sports association Neubrandenburg was re-established. However, as this did not fit into the DFV structure of the club or BSG, the FSV had to merge with the BSG Post after a few months , under whose name the GDR league was then played.
1989–1991: The turning point
With the end of the GDR and v. a. After switching to the free economy in the summer of 1990, some league teams were deprived of their economic base. Therefore, Chemie Velten , Chemie Buna Schkopau and Dynamo Eisleben withdrew their teams from the 1990/91 league under the name NOFV-Liga, BSG KWO Berlin and SG Dynamo Fürstenwalde dissolved, and Chemie Böhlen merged with Chemie Leipzig. In 1990/91, the NOFV League started playing with only 16 teams in two seasons, including six promoted teams, from which Motor Stralsund later withdrew.
- Eternal table of the GDR league
- Football in the GDR
- GDR Oberliga , top division in GDR football
- II. GDR League , from 1955 to 1963 the third highest division in GDR football
- Die neue Fußball-Woche , No. 25 of June 20, 1950, page 3: The new soccer classes in the GDR