The transfer market was exciting enough, focusing on the big deals of course. The whole picture is too big for detailed full exposition, but four more transfers, hardly noticed at the time, must be mentioned. Three of them are similar, falling into the dark political oppositions of the time: they involved defectors from Eastern Europe. Two were East Germans. Back in the 1950s, before the Berlin Wall was built, there were many East German players going to West Germany. After the Wall was erected, the numbers dropped and there had not been any defectors since late 1960s. Until 1975, when two members of Under-21 DDR national team defected when the team went to Turkey for a match. The goalkeeper Jurgen Pahl, born 1956, and the central defender Nortbert Nachtweih, born 1957.
The same kind of debut made another East European player – the Hungarian Jozsef Horvath, formerly Ujpesti Dosza and the Hungarian national team player.
Most defectors in the 1960s and 70s were Hungarians, but nowadays this is rarely mentioned in their biographies , so it is very difficult to consider every case – in the late 1960s Hungary allowed some oldish players to go to the West legally. Horvath was almost surely a defector – there is a gap in his career between 1975 when he was still playing for Ujpesti Dosza and 1977 when he introduced as a new player by Rot Weiss (Essen). But his story is different and more typical than the lucky story of the young East Germans: he was already 28 in 1977. After missing a year, he was not a great catch for big clubs and appeared in the Second Division. Where he had difficult adaptation, played only 14 matches during his only German season, and moved to USA in 1978, where he played in NASL and the indoor leagues.
Defectors were at least some news in the receiving country, but the last newcomer to the Bundesliga was not any, save the amusement value. 1. FC Koln toured Japan in the late summer and there hired one Yasuhiko Okudera, born in 1952. He somewhat impressed the Germans when Koln played against his club Furukawa Electric. Japan had no professional football – their old system cam be best described as semi-professional: big firms run clubs, the players were firm's employees, probably not doing much else than playing football, but still employed under other titles – workers, lower managerial stuff, clerks. Technically, amateurs. Obtaining Okudera was neither difficult, nor expensive for Koln – the only question was what for? May be at first there was not even that question, but the answer was quickly found during the season.
Yasuhiko Okudera celebrating a goal with his captain Flohe. Unthinkable and unbelievable... but Okudera quickly established himself as starter. In retrospect, he is called the first Asian player in Europe. This is incorrect, but hard to prove, for whoever played before Okudera was small fry in obscure championships, often even considered domestic, if coming from a colony. Further, Israel was still member of the Asian Federation by 1977, and Israeli players, however few, appeared as professionals in European leagues. First Asian Okudera was not, but the first Japanese player in Europe he is – and a legendary one too, for he not only debuted in Europe, but successfully in top league and top club. Okudera played almost 10 years in West Germany! Nobody would have imagined that in 1977, when he was a novelty, hired perhaps only for amusement and not expected to move away from the reserves bench. He even did not appear in the pre-season photo of 1.FC Koln made for Kicker magazine.
From the highest to the lowest, the summer transfers had it all, and the season was ready to begin.