Monday, November 19, 2012

East Germany stayed where it always was – pretty low. The industrial and toxic names of the clubs suggested heavy machinery, continual work, sameness, and no fun. What was going on in the 'belly' of the country is pretty much unknown and uninteresting: as elsewhere in Communist Eastern Europe various 'workers' tournaments existed year after year, attracting nobody. For the sake of mere presence, here is an example of the lower depths: SSG Rotation (Dresden). Third level, at best.

Lowly they were, but DDR vice-champions of something or other. Not bad for the outfit.

Standing, from left: D.Mentzel, R.Petrick, W.Reimer, R.Franz, W.Renz, D.Kröl, J.Garte,
C.Hahn, B.Richter, A.Köhler, H.Zaffke, M.Krasel, U.Weinelt, A.Trexler, W.Eßrich
Goalkeeper in front: K.Stumpf.

Not so great as Rotation was Chemie (Premnitz):
They did not reach any final, but curiously had the exactly same kit as BSG Chemie (Bohlen).

Above the rabble was theoretically better crowd – the Second Division, divided in 5 leagues of 12 clubs, except Group D, which had only 11. The abundance of 'Motors' and 'Activists' eventually produced champions, which met at final round-robin tournament competing for 2 promotional spots. The strange name above was also represented in Second Division – there was BSG Rotation, this one from East Berlin, finishing 6th in Group B. Anyway, the more interesting clubs were those competing for promotion and this year Lady Luck smiled to:

BSG Chemie (Bohlen), winning the final tournament with 12 points, and

BSG Wismut (Gera), clinching second place, to the bitter disappointment of BSG Chemie (Leipzig), ASV Vorwarts (Stralsund), and BSG Stahl (Hennigsdorf). Winners going up to replace the losers of First Division, or Oberliga:
BSG Stahl (Riesa) finished 13th despite their name and scary metallic logo. From this particular Stahl relegation was expected, for they belonged to the group of 'neither here, nor there' clubs, constantly moving between first and second division.

One more of the same ilk took rock bottom place: FC Hansa (Rostock).

Standing, left to right: Helmut Hergesell – coach, Werner Drews – assistant coach, Olaf Spandolf, Peter Sykora, Jurgen Utess, Uwe Bloch, Jorg Seering, Gerhard Krentz, Gerd Kische – captain, Rainer Jarohs, Dr. Rainer Muller – doctor, Karl Poschel – assistant coach.

Kneeling: Eckardt Alms, Joachim Wandke, Dietmar Hanke, Eckhard Marzke, Dieter Schneider, Karl-Heinz Aul, Dietrich Kehl, Michael Mischinger, Jurgen Decker, Gunter Blum – masseur.

There was something fundamentally wrong with this club, for they had not so bad squad, including national team players, but spent the whole decade moving back and forth. Joachim Streich, the player with most appearances ever for the national team, seemingly got tired from playing second division football and moved to 1.FC Magdeburg in 1975, but Gerd Kische was more stubborn and ready to brave the second level football once again... Hansa was relegated in 1975, then returned immediately in 1976, only to go down again in 1977. And it was not the end of the rollercoster.