Football in the GDR

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Football in the GDR encompasses the history of men's football matches in the Soviet occupation zone and in the GDR from the post-war period (from May 1945) to the political change and the dissolution of the GDR league in summer 1991.

Sports policy

Logo of the German Football Association of the GDR

It became clear shortly after the Second World War that GDR football, in addition to the “football” that was lived in the stadiums, fan camps and popular sport, should also be shaped by state control. The Potsdam Agreement and the decisions of the Allied Control Council meant that all civil football clubs were banned as sub-organizations of the NSDAP and had to be dissolved by January 1, 1946 at the latest in order to prevent them from becoming "planting sites of military virtue" again.

In the course of 1945/46, instead of the disbanded clubs, sports groups and sports associations (SG) were established, which were initially only allowed to play in a regionally limited manner. The former German champions VfB Leipzig (1903, 1906, 1913) as SG Probstheida and the Dresdner SC (1943, 1944) as SG Dresden-Friedrichstadt were also affected . While the traditional sports clubs were soon able to re-establish themselves in the West German occupation zones, the decision of the Control Council was consistently implemented in the Soviet occupation zone , since civil clubs no longer fit into the political system there.

In 1948 and 1949, under the direction of the German Sports Committee founded in the Soviet zone of occupation in 1948, so-called Eastern Zone Championships with the participation of the best teams from Brandenburg, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt and Thuringia, a total of 10 participants, were held. Both champions, SG Planitz (1948) and ZSG Union Halle (1949), were determined in the KO system. The Soviet occupying power prohibited their participation in the all-German soccer championship. Due to the special Berlin status, the Berlin teams were only allowed to play for the city championship, but in a joint east-west league .

In 1949, the German Sports Committee called the football league to determine the East German champions. Since the GDR was founded during the season, this championship round went down in history as the 1st GDR championship. Although the same name was chosen for the top division as in West Germany, participation in an all-German championship never came about, although it was discussed several times. The expansion to a national game operation required a new organization of the economic basis for the soccer teams. In addition, in the course of the season, most of the sports associations were converted into company sports associations (BSG) as part of the so-called "conversion to production basis" , each of which was assigned a company from a specific production area as a carrier company . This also resulted in their assignment to so-called sports associations . Teams who resisted this procedure were sportingly disadvantaged and put under pressure (see SG Dresden-Friedrichstadt ).

Berlin teams were also not allowed to take part in the first GDR championship. It was not until the VBB, founded in West Berlin in 1949 and based on West Germany, introduced the contract player system, that the East German sports management found an occasion to withdraw the East Berlin soccer teams from all of Berlin's gaming operations. The teams Union Oberschöneweide and VfB Pankow, as well as (as promoted) Lichtenberg 47, who had previously played in the Berlin city league , were included in the GDR league for the 1950/51 season, which increased from 14 to 18 teams. However, the Berlin teams proved so weak that in the 1953/54 season no Berlin representatives played in the major league.

Soon after the company sports clubs were introduced, the sports committee created additional opportunities to build up strong football teams. The “ People's Police ” and the “ Barracked People's Police ” (KVP, forerunner of the National People's Army ) were selected as new agencies. For the Volkspolizei (VP) division, the best players from VP teams that had already been established in various cities were brought together in Dresden to form VP Dresden. In the 1950/51 season, this team took the place of the SG Dresden-Friedrichstadt, which had been broken up for political reasons. It was later renamed Dynamo Dresden and developed into one of the most successful teams in GDR football. In the same way, the SV Vorwärts KVP was founded in Leipzig in 1951. In contrast to VP / Dynamo Dresden, its development was not that straightforward. While Dresden was GDR champion in 1953, Vorwärts Leipzig did not get beyond the lower ranks in the league until 1953. Thereupon the team was relocated to Berlin after the end of the 1952/53 season, where they played as ASK Vorwärts Berlin in the future , but did not establish themselves as a top team until 1957. In order to continue to ensure the influx of strong players, Dynamo and Forward teams were founded in other cities, which were directed by the Dynamo Sports Association and the Army Sports Association Forward (ASK) . Although the ASK was able to avail itself of players called up for military service after the introduction of compulsory military service, SV Dynamo was more successful with its top teams Dynamo Dresden and Dynamo Berlin (BFC Dynamo) . Foreign players were not allowed to play in the major league until 1990. While foreigners were occasionally active in the second-rate GDR league from the 1960s, in the 1970s the SASK Elstal increasingly hired out players from the Soviet Union, some of whom had first-class experience.

The “Football Committee” was formed on March 7, 1950 in Berlin within the German Sports Committee to organize the game. In 1951 the "Football Section" emerged from it. The "German Football Association" (DFV) , later with the addition of "the GDR", was only on 17./18. Founded May 1958 in Berlin. It was created under the umbrella of the GDR sports organization " Deutscher Turn- und Sportbund " (DTSB). At the top were always high officials of the GDR State Party ( SED ), who repeatedly influenced football politically. For example, stadiums were named completely alien to political figures (e.g. Georgi-Dimitroff-Stadion Erfurt after the Bulgarian Prime Minister), political slogans were posted in the stadiums and footballers were invited to make political statements. The SED district leaderships exerted considerable influence, especially when it came to player transfers for teams within their sphere of influence. Even in the last few years of its existence, the Oberliga was exposed to political influences. Games of the BFC Dynamo, which was particularly favored by the chairman of the SV Dynamo Minister for State Security Erich Mielke , were manipulated several times in favor of the Berliners. Although this was made public by the suspension of a referee (Bernd Stumpf) ( shame penalty from Leipzig ), manipulated results were never corrected.

Both the football section and the association were characterized by an organizational jumble until the 1960s. In addition to transplanting entire teams to other cities (Dynamo Dresden to Berlin, Vorwärts Leipzig to Berlin, later to Frankfurt / O., BSG Empor Lauter to Rostock), the teams were constantly being restructured and renamed. Also remarkable is the attempt in 1954 at the Hochschule für Körperkultur (DHfK) in Leipzig to form a promising top team with young players withdrawn from other teams. After only six months, the experiment had to be abandoned as a failure (see also SC DHfK Leipzig ). In 1955, most of the company sports associations located in the district capitals were incorporated into the newly established focus sports clubs. In 1966 they were spun off again to found independent football clubs. The constant change can be clearly seen in the example of the city of Leipzig:

founding year SG Probstheida SG Leipzig-Leutzsch
1946 SG Probstheida SG Leipzig-Leutzsch
1949 BSG Erich Zeigner Probsth. ZSG Industry L.
1950 BSG unit east L. BSG Chemie L.
1954/55 SC rotation L. SC locomotive L.
1963 SC Leipzig BSG Chemie L.
1966 1. FC Lok Leipzig

Game operation

The SC Wismut Karl-Marx-Stadt 1959 with the championship trophy

Before the league played continuously with 14 teams from 1954, there was a constant interplay with 19 teams in the 1951/52 season as a highlight. Between 1956 and 1960, gaming operations were aligned with the calendar year based on the Soviet model, before and afterwards they played in the autumn-spring rhythm. The most successful teams were FC Carl Zeiss Jena , BFC Dynamo and Dynamo Dresden (see Eternal Table of the GDR Oberliga ), the BFC Dynamo became the record champions with 10 titles. Eberhard Vogel (Karl-Marx-Stadt / Jena) made 440 appearances on most of the league games.

After the introduction of the GDR territorial reform of 1952, the substructure of the Oberliga was structured analogously to the administrative structure of the GDR. Under the Oberliga, the GDR league was introduced nationwide from 1950 . Its structure has been changed several times. There were initially two or three seasons, the league was expanded to five seasons from the 1971/72 season. Between 1955 and 1962 it was played on a single track. It was not until 1984 that the GDR league consisted of two seasons due to the DFV football resolution. Wismut Gera played the longest in the GDR league and came to 955 games in 36 series.

After an interlude with a second GDR league with at times also five seasons from 1955 to 1963, the third division was held at the level of the 14 GDR districts and East Berlin (middle administrative level). The district champion had ascended entitled depending on the structure of the East German league or had to determine the upstart in ascent rounds.


The GDR soccer cup was played from 1949. It got its name after the GDR unified Free German Trade Union Federation (FDGB) , which had awarded the cup. A total of 41 competitions were held, in 1951 and 1961 no cup winners were determined. The first cup winner was Waggonbau Dessau (1949), Hansa Rostock was the last winner in 1991 . Dynamo Dresden and 1. FC Magdeburg were able to achieve the most cup wins with seven successes each.

National teams

Since the DFV was only accepted into the world football organization FIFA in 1952 , official international matches could only be played afterwards. The senior national team also acted as the GDR's Olympic team at times . The first appearance of a GDR national team took place on September 21, 1952 in Warsaw against Poland and was lost 3-0. In total, the national team played 293 games, of which they won 138. Record national player and top scorer was Joachim Streich with 102 games and 55 goals. In international competitions with the exception of the Olympic Games (gold 1976, silver 1980, bronze 1972), the national team was not very successful. In the world championship it was only enough to one final tournament in 1974 , but there with the spectacular 1-0 victory over Germany. At the European Championships , the GDR never got beyond the preliminary rounds. The most successful coaches were Károly Sós and Georg Buschner .

The GDR's junior team came second at the U-23 European Championship in 1974 and at the U-21 European Championship in 1978 and 1980. The U20 took part in two World Cups and came third in 1987 in Chile. The U18 became European champions in 1986 and third in the EM in 1988. The U16 came fourth in 1985 and 1986, third in 1988 and second in 1989 and also took part in the 1989 World Cup.

European Cup

In the early years of the European Cup competitions, the GDR teams rarely had success. By 1969, only four East German representatives made it into the quarter-finals. For SC Motor Jena , it wasn't until the semi-finals of the European Cup Winners' Cup in 1962 . Otherwise, the teams were eliminated in the first two rounds. Only in the insignificant International Football Cup (which was played from 1961 to 1967) did the GDR celebrate successes such as B. The final participation of the SC Leipzig in 1965 and the victory of the Leipziger (now as 1. FC Lokomotive Leipzig ) in the following year.

With the founding of the football club in 1966, a certain consolidation and quality improvement began at the level of the GDR league. This was also reflected in the success of the teams in the European Cup. In the 1970s , the GDR teams regularly made it into the quarter-finals or semi-finals and were able to prevail against well-known opponents from Italy, Portugal and England. 1. FC Magdeburg , Carl Zeiss Jena and Dynamo Dresden in particular increased the international reputation of GDR club football, with Magdeburg's victory in the 1974 European Cup Winners' Cup being the greatest success.

In the 1980s , the GDR teams were no longer able to build on this time to the same extent. Jena and Lokomotive Leipzig each reached the final of the cup winners' competition (Jena was defeated by Dinamo Tiflis in 1981 and Ajax Amsterdam in 1987 ), but overall the teams dropped out earlier and lost their temporarily gained third place in the UEFA Cup . Dynamo Dresden played most of the European Cup games (98).

German reunification

In the course of German reunification , the DFV dissolved on November 20, 1990. The last GDR league season was 1990/91 and ended with Hansa Rostock winning. With the performance of the clubs this season, the qualification for participation in the 1st and 2nd Bundesliga was connected (rank 1/2, 3-6). The last game of the GDR national team took place on September 12, 1990 in Brussels against Belgium and ended with a 2-0 victory.

On November 27, 1990, a week after the dissolution of the German Football Association of the GDR, the reigning GDR champions 1. FC Dynamo Dresden played in the Rudolf Harbig Stadium against the German champions FC Bayern Munich for the Germany Cup . Dynamo won this game 1-0.


Record champions

Period society Number of titles
from 1950 ZSG Horch Zwickau (from 1951 as BSG Motor Zwickau) 2
from 1952 BSG Motor Zwickau and BSG Turbine Halle (from 1954 as SC Chemie Halle-Leuna) 2
from 1955 BSG Motor Zwickau, SC Chemie Halle-Leuna and SC Turbine Erfurt 2
from 1957 BSG Motor Zwickau, SC Chemie Halle-Leuna, SC Turbine Erfurt and SC Wismut Karl-Marx-Stadt 2
from 1959 SC Wismut Karl-Marx-Stadt 3
from 1962 SC Wismut Karl-Marx-Stadt (from 1963 as BSG Wismut Aue) and ASK Vorwärts Berlin 3
from 1965 FC Vorwärts Berlin (previously as ASK Vorwärts Berlin) 4th
from 1966 FC Forward Berlin 5
from 1969 FC Vorwärts Berlin (from 1971 as FC Vorwärts Frankfurt) 6th
from 1978 FC Vorwärts Frankfurt and SG Dynamo Dresden 6th
from 1984 FC Vorwärts Frankfurt, SG Dynamo Dresden and BFC Dynamo 6th
from 1985 BFC Dynamo 7th
from 1986 BFC Dynamo 8th
from 1987 BFC Dynamo 9
from 1988 BFC Dynamo 10


  1. It did not use the name until 1950
  2. cf. for example New Football Week No. 20/1950, page 3: “Why it didn't come to the ´German´”; see also German football championship 1949/50 , especially introduction and footnotes
  3. Master of the Year in bold
  4. Winning of the soccer east zone championship in 1948 by predecessor SG Planitz
  5. Winning the soccer east zone championship in 1949 as ZSG Union Halle
  6. previously as BSG Turbine Erfurt
  7. from 1958 as SC Chemie Halle

East German masters

See also


  • Lothar Skorning : Football Past and Present; Volume 2: History of football in the GDR up to 1976. Sportverlag Berlin, 1978
  • Frank Willmann (ed.): Football country GDR. Kick-off, final whistle, off. Eulenspiegel Verlag, Berlin 2004
  • Michael Horn, Gottfried Weise : The great lexicon of GDR football. Schwarzkopf & Schwarzkopf, Berlin 2004, ISBN 3-89602-536-8 .
  • Hanns Leske: Erich Mielke, the Stasi and the round leather , Die Werkstatt publishing house, 2004
  • Bernd Heynemann / Wolfgang Borchert: Moments of decision, my football crazy life. Mitteldeutscher Verlag 2005.
  • Hanns Leske : Encyclopedia of GDR football . Verlag Die Werkstatt, Göttingen 2007, ISBN 978-3-89533-556-3 .

Web links