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Eton Blue at the Chelsea Megastore

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Which isn't exactly a new thing, in Germany (during the Bundesliga era, Bayern were largely irrelevant for the first half of the 20th century) the cycle has always been a period of Bayern dominance, a period of Bayern rebuilding when a challenger or two may pop up and win the title, and then a period of Bayern dominance once again.

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The Cold War stunted football in Berlin, in the wake of WW2 the Soviet authorities banned East Berlin sides from playing Hertha at one stage after they took on several players and a coach who had fled the East, and then of course the wall went up. Attracting players to the city was hard enough and the Oberliga Berlin was the smallest and weakest of the five West German Oberligen. By the time the Bundesliga was formed in 63 only Hertha were permitted entry as they were the most recent Oberliga Berlin champion, a points system was used to determine the other entrants and none of the Berlin teams qualified for a spot.

Dynamo Berlin were a major force in East German football but corruption played a big part in their success: Dynamo Dresden should have been the dominant side but the Stasi stitched things up, first literally stealing the talented Dynamo Dresden team and relocating them to Berlin to form Dynamo Berlin in the early 50's and then, when Dynamo Dresden had climbed up from the lower divisions to challenge again, stitching up the league in favour of Dynamo Berlin. The situation was so farcical that Dynamo Berlin won the title ten times in a row!


The forgotten story of ... East Germany's DDR-Oberliga

When the Berlin Wall came down 20 years ago this month, it took with it one of the world's weirder football leagues


Dynamo Dresden celebrate winning the 1988-89 DDR-Oberliga title, a few months before the Berlin Wall came down. Photograph: AP

Here's Timothy Garton Ash writing in the New York Review of Books:

"The year 1989 was one of the best in European history. Indeed, I am hard pushed to think of a better one. It was also a year in which the world looked to Europe – specifically to Central Europe, and, at the pivotal moment, to Berlin. World history – using the term in a quasi-Hegelian sense – was made in the heart of the old continent, just down the road from Hegel's old university, now called the Humboldt University. Twenty years later, I am tempted to speculate (while continuing to work with other Europeans in an endeavour to prove this hunch wrong) that this may also have been the last occasion – at least for a very long time – when world history was made in Europe. Today, world history is being made elsewhere. There is now a Café Weltgeist at the Humboldt University, but the Weltgeist itself has moved on. Of Europe's long, starring role on the world stage, future generations may yet say: nothing became her like the leaving of it."


An unintended, and it has to be admitted minor, consequence of probably the best year in European history was the end of the DDR-Oberliga. The story of East German football is a complex one, as Ulrich Hesse-Lichtenberger has written: "Most of the things that happened ... seem utterly bizarre and often downright incredible to someone who has grown up in a completely different society."

This, perforce, is but a sketch and those wanting further information are directed to Behind the Wall: East German football between state and society, by Mike Dennis, professor of modern German history at the University of Wolverhampton, on which I have drawn heavily.

First things first. There were four categories of clubs in East German football:
a) The Dynamos: Connected to the secret police. Every club with the Dynamo prefix (eg Berlin, Dresden) was directly answerable to the head of the Stasi, Erich Mielke, who had little difficulty jumping the "fit and proper person" hurdle.

b) The Vorwärts, which were overseen by the Ministry of Defence. Big in the 60s.
c) Good old-fashioned football clubs with no affiliation to secret organisations (eg FC Magdeburg and FC Carl Zeiss Jena).

d) Works Teams (Rotation Babelsberg, Turbine Potsdam and the oft-relegated Traktor Gross-Lindau).

Football may not have been a religion in East Germany but it did carry a hefty ideological burden. Here's the Stasi's Mielke: "Football success will highlight even more clearly the superiority of our socialist order in the area of sport."

Perhaps and maybe. Of more immediate concern to the East German football fan were the practical difficulties which he had to overcome. Not the least of these was the practice of Leistungssteigerung durch Konzentration, whereby teams could be moved on a whim from one end of the German Democratic Republic to the other. In 1954, for instance, Dynamo Dresden were relocated to Berlin and, for obvious reasons, had to change their name to Dynamo Berlin. Relocation, Relocation, Relocation was a popular Thursday night filler on East German television throughout the Fifties and Sixties as fans tuned in to see where their club might go next.

Even if they didn't move, they often changed name. Three times champions SC Wismut Aue were obliged, for a period, to call themselves SC Wismut Karl-Marx-Stadt even though they had never been near the place. Imagine the headache of awaking to discover that without so much as setting foot in The Hawthorns your club were now called Norwich West Bromwich Albion.

And then there was the constant problem of defection. Not doing a Sol Campbell and defecting from one part of north London to another, but going the whole hog and moving from one political belief system to another entirely opposed to it. That's the kind of move designed to raise the hackles of your average fan.

On top of all this there was bribery. Players intriguingly often stored their bungs in their vegetable racks, which led to much talk of carrots, lettuce and celery in dressing rooms up and down the country and also explains the origin of the term "turnip head" later to be wheeled out and used against Graham Taylor.

Despite all these handicaps football was bigger in East Germany than many sports in which the country traditionally excelled (swimming and bobsleigh come to mind). There were two national football papers, Fussballwoche and Deutsches Sportecho, both, as the titles suggest, cracking reads. And when the national team played against the West in the 1974 World Cup in a match billed as an example of "the triumphal march of GDR sport and the certainty of victory in the class struggle with West German imperialism", more than 70% of the country tuned in. The match finished FRG 0 GDR 1 (Sparwasser 77) and was the undoubted high point in the 40-year life of East German football. Cannily, they knocked back imperialist requests for a rematch.

Low points were much more common. None lower than when, as Dynamo Dresden were celebrating yet another championship, Mielke ghosted into their dressing room like Satan with a grudge to inform them that next year BFC Dynamo would be champions. This turned out to be an inspired piece of tipping. And with the Stasi on board, motivating referees and suggesting certain players might do certain things, BFC went on to enjoy a run of success remarkably similar to that achieved by Manchester United under Sir Alex Ferguson.

All of which meant that as the curtain closed on East German league football there were not many mourning its passing. That said, in its last season in its purest form, the Oberliga proved to be a cracker, as with one game of 1989-90 remaining Dynamo Dresden found themselves level on points with FC Karl-Marx-Stadt and FC Magdeburg, with the hated BFC Dynamo not even on the podium (the collapse of the Berlin Wall, among other things, having weakened the Stasi's grip on events in the Oberliga mid-season).

In a little gem of a 1-0 at Karl-Marx-Stadt (now restored to its old name, Chemnitz, in case you're looking for it on a map), the home side defeated Magdeburg. Their efforts were in vain, though, for as they were securing the victory, Dynamo, playing at home in "the Florence of the Elbe", were handing out a 3-1 drubbing to Lokomotive Leipzig to win the title on goal difference. And that, barring an unlikely communist resurgence, was pretty much that.

The league struggled on as the NOFV-Oberliga for one more season before reunification took its course. Eighteen years on, there is not a single team from what was East Germany in the Bundesliga.


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^ Good Read! Thanks for sharing. There are still no clubs that were in the DDR currently in the Bundesliga.


I presume most of you guys know this but there's a Bundesliga highlights show on ITV4 every Monday at 11.00pm. Really good watch most weeks, there's so much young talent in that division which I'm sure we'll be looking at in the coming seasons.

Edited by Celery1989
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It will be interesting to see where Klopp goes after BVB, though I'm sure Dortmund fans envisage a Thomas Schaaf-like reign. I guess it all depends on whether or not he can build another side good enough to compete with Bayern.

Edited by Charles Ryder
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It will be interesting to see where Klopp goes after BVB, though I'm sure Dortmund fans envisage a Thomas Schaaf-like reign. I guess it all depends on whether or not he can build another side good enough to compete with Bayern.


If Moyes does get his marching orders from United within the next two years then I would expect them to be in the running for Klopp. 

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Always been impressed with Kroos but I don't think we'll be adding any more midfielders this summer given that we have Van Ginkel to come back, but I'd love to have Gundogan or Lars Bender in our team. The latter would be much more realistic than the former.

Edited by Celery1989
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Always been impressed with Kroos but I don't think we'll be adding any more midfielders this summer given that we have Van Ginkel to come back, but I'd love to have Gundogan or Lars Bender in our team. The latter would be much more realistic than the former.

Gundogan would be better but L.Bender is just as complete if a midfielder but obviously more defensive oriented than Ilkay.

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Bild: http://www.bild.de/sport/fussball/bayern-muenchen/kassiert-110-mio-euro-durch-allianz-deal-34634996.bild.html

Sport1: http://www.sport1.de/de/fussball/fussball_bundesliga/newspage_844430.html

Allianz AG will become the third big shareholder. Supposedly they are paying 110 million Euro for 8.33% of the club (Adidas paid 75 mil€ in 2001 for 10% and Audi paid 90 for 9.09% in 2009)

As KHR has said repeatedly, that any future money from shareholders would not be used for transfers,but for infrastructure only. Meaning stadium and youth center. Bild sources say the entire 110 mil€ will be used to pay off the stadium.

What this means for us:

-Uli used to say the stadium will be paid off in 2016 or 2017 and when it's paid off, we will have between 25 and 30mil€ extra to spend every single year and that money will be invested in the team

-> After Allianz AG acquires 8.33% the stadium (340 mil€) will be paid off in full and our profits should increase by 25-30 mil€ every year.

-No US investor. There was speculation about an american investor.

-> Bayern will have three major shareholder, Adidas, Audi and Allianz -> AAA or A³, all German companies, no US, Chinese or arab investors

-The 8.33% going to Allianz AG causes an increase in capital that Adidas and Audi did not follow. This means that each of A³ now holds 8.33% of the FC Bayern AG.

- Deloitte valued the club at 1.3 bil. dollars if I remember correctly (2013 Forbes or something). 8.33% at 110 would mean that 100% of our shares are worth 1.3 bil.€

All in all today is a good day for Bayern.

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