Hungary II Division

To a point, Hungary had surprising season – surprising, because the expected fall of Ujpesti Dosza did not happen again. It looked like that Lilak was going to survive a change of generations without suffering and no worthy rival was going to rise in the meantime. Which made for a familiar season… somewhat. Down in the Second Division life was mysterious to outsiders: 60 clubs divided geographically into three leagues of 20 teams each. Rather big for for a country with small population and also entirely exotic, for many clubs were second and third clubs of not so large towns, having no chance of ever reaching top flight. The conditions favoured former first league members, that depending on their current form. Yet, small population means small pool of talent and very few clubs were strong enough to look higher than their current place – in fact, there was practically no race for the promotional spot in any second division group. Debreceni VSK won most comfortably their group – leaving their nearest rival 7 points behind.

DVSK was more likely than not to be found in first division and although never impressive, they seemingly belonged there. So, a return and without trouble. The squad was not much, but still much stronger than the competition. The boys from Debrecen were going up in the free style of the 1970s: mixing Puma and Adidas gear. As a side note, Hungarian clubs were the best dressed in Eastern Europe – almost every club, big or small, was fashionably clad. Other countries were not like that at the time.

The second group was full of Budapest clubs – almost halve of the total. They varied widely – from faded old clubs established at the beginning of the century, like BVSK, to clearly industrial clubs, formed by factories after 1945, like Vasas Ikarus SK, belonging to Ikarus, bus making plant. A club with strange name took the lead and won the league with 5 points advantage:

Volan SC was hardly heard of outside Hungary and rightly so: Budapest had so many clubs, Volan would be ranked in the city alone 8th or 9th at best. The name is pure exotica – immediately refers to something automotive, very likely representing some automotive industry, but it is a name suitable for a motoring club, not for a football one – what exactly they steer? Going up was a rare luxury for the boys – they never played first division before. As for surviving among the best, it was a worry for the next year.

The third group was perhaps the only one with something like a competition for the first place.

Komloi Banyasz, a former member of first division, appeared to be dreaming of returning there, and fought better than any second-placed club in second division. Yet, they finished 4 points short of success. The winners were long forgotten club – Pecsi VSK.

Not a young club at all, judging by their shield, but already forgotten one: the known represent of the city of Pecs for many years was Pecsi Munkas SC. It was coming almost as a big surprise that there was another club in the same city. Pecsi MSK was not much and Pecsi VSK was clearly less… most likely trying to stay in first division for a season or two, but at least Pecs was going to have a local derby the next year.

Austria I Division

First Division was entirely undramatic – clear outsider and clear leader. The rest was relatively equal and unimpressive. Wacker (Innsbuck) already fading away, paid heavy prize for the departure of Bruno Pezzey. The club plummeted and sunk at the bottom. Curiously, they had still some bite left and won the Cup. They won 1-0 the first leg against Admira Wacker and preserved a 1-1 tie in the second. A Hungarian final… Baroti won over Illovszky, but the Cup did not save the job of the coach – Baroti was let go. Wacker was to play in the second division the next year.

Grazer AK finished 9th , but the club was hardly ever in danger of relegation – they finished 5 points ahead of Wacker. Up the table – nothing interesting, except as a novelty.

Austria (Salzburg) ended 6th – a typical place for them at that time. Nothing like the last 20 years, when Salzburg – under the name of either Austria or Red Bull – is the strongest Austrian club. Three West Germans, Franz Roth included, and a Czechoslovakian defector (Jaroslav Pirnus) were good only for mid-table position.

So was the case of VOEST (Linz) – 5th place.

The champions of few years back were no longer any threat.

Sturm (Graz) was 4th, no better or worse than usual.

Rapid (Vienna) obviously suffered by the absence of Hans Krankl – instead of going up, the club suddenly went down.

Bronze medals nominally were not all that bad, but it was the club expected to run for the title. The title was 16 points away…

Surprisingly Wiener Sport-Club finished second – their glory days were long gone and in the 1970s nothing was expected from them. But they managed to end high – perhaps thanks to the respected coach Erich Hof and the bunch of strong veterans Norbert Hof (b. 1944), August Starek (b. 1945), Alberto Martinez and Jorge Doval. Enough for silver, but not even dreaming of gold – Wiener Sport-Club finished 14 points behind the champions!

And if something was familiar, it was the winners… Austria (Vienna), for a third consecutive season.

Austria playing a friendly with Sturm (Statzendorf, green shirts) before the start of the season. The newcomer Carlos Sintas was introduced to Austrian village life. But even playing next to fields did not bother the boys from Vienna – they had no rival this year. Unlike Rapid and Wacker they had kept their greatest star Prohaska and the absence of the two departed Uruguayans was not negatively felt: Austria had the best squad in Austria. Although they lost 6 matches – the same number Wiener Sport-Club lost – Austria steadily built their advance. They ended with 25 wins from 36 championship games, scored 88 goals. One more well deserved title for the best team of the time.

Austria – changes and II Division

Austria was clearly at its best, and it was also the country’s undoing to a point: international success brought closer attention to the top players from foreign clubs. Exodus of talent was nothing new, but it was affecting negatively domestic football. Two of the three greatest Austrian players moved to other countries right after the 1978 World Cup – Hans Krankl to Barcelona and Bruno Pezzey to Eintracht Frankfurt. There was nobody capable of replacing them in Rapid and Wacker (Innsburck). The other big change occurred in Austria (Vienna), but without getting much journalistic hype: the long-lasting Uruguayans, instrumental in the rise of the club, moved away – Julio Morales returned to his homeland and joined Nacional (Montevideo); Alberto Martinez stayed in Austria and Vienna, but in another club – Wiener Sport-Club. Austria tried to replace the Uruguayans with another Uruguayan: Carlos Alberto Sintas, 26-years old striker was brought from Nublense (Chile).

Sintas was not famous at all, but his career was solid – he was champion of Chile with Huachipato a few years back (and the picture here is from this season). It was hoped that he will be suitable replacement of Moralez and Martinez, but, in general, he was typical foreigner playing in Austria: not a star at all. Foreign coaches were another matter: two former coaches of the Hungarian national team were now working with Austrian clubs – Rudolf Illovszky coached Admira Wacker (Vienna), and Lajos Baroti took charge of Wacker (Innsbruck) for this season. As a whole, the foreign legion in Austrian football was modest: Yugoslavians, West Germans, Danes. One Argentinian arrived in Wiener Sport-Club (Jorge Doval, b. 1949), one Mexican in Admira Wacker (Juan Carlos Lasanta), one French in Sturm (Marcel Boyron, b. 1951)… the best known names were: Zenon Kasztelan, b. 1946, who played a few times for Poland – he moved from Pogon (Szczecin) to Admira Wacker; Bernd Lorenz, b.1947, who was part of the strong Eintracht (Frankfurt) of the mid-1970s, but he arrived to First Vienna from lowly Augsburg (West Germany); and Franz Roth, b. 1946, who was no longer needed by Bayern (Munich) and joined Austria (Salzburg). That was all the buzz…

The standard sized Second Division was nothing to talk about – three anonymous clubs ended in the relegation zone: FC Dornbirn (14th), ASV Kittsee (15th), and USV Anif (16th). At the top, practically without opposition finished familiar name: Linzer ASK.

LASK finished 5 points ahead of Austria (Klagenfurt) and secured the single promotional spot. The club returned to first division – and at least judging by the squad, it was a team more suitable for top flight than second tier – four foreigners: two West Germans, Wolfgang Gayer and Raimund Bincsik; two Yugoslavians, Nebojsa Vuckovic and Miroslav Vukasinovic; and two Austrian stars, the veteran Helmut Koglberger and the rapidly rising young goalkeeper Klaus Linderberger. Half of the top league was of similar make.

Czechoslovakia – champion and cup

As for the best of Czechoslovakian football, it was expected and familiar group – Banik (Ostrava), Zbrojovka (Brno), and Dukla (Prague). Zbrojovka, the champions of the previous season, were expected to be among the favourites, although it was hard to see them champions again. The club was strong and steady for some time, but lacked depth. No quality players were recruited between the seasons, so it was the same squad which won the 1977-78 championship, for good or bad. They still played well, but were not contenders this time: comfortably getting 3rd place, but 6 points behind the top two. Banik was one of the strongest and most consistent clubs during the 1970s and continued to be so – once again they aimed at the title and fought bravely to the very end. However, they were similar to Zbrojovka – with some aging stars and without influx of new blood, they had shortcomings and short bench of reserves. Yet, Banik had plenty of experience and ambition too. It was especially hard to best them – Banik finished with only 5 losses this year, nobody had a better record. Scoring was not their forte, but they collected enough points – 41. Again, no one bested that… so it came to goal-difference and the superior scoring power of Dukla won. Banik ended with +22, Dukla with +41!

It looked like Dukla fully recovered and was going to be the dominant Czechoslovakian club again. They had the best squad in the league by far and more importantly, it was not based on aging stars. Dukla practically had the ‘next’ generation of Czechoslovakian football – as a whole, about 17 players played for the national team, but the core of them were those defining the next strong period of Czechoslovak football: 1980-1984. Vizek, Stambachr, Barmos, Berger – no longer promising youngsters, no longer in the shadow of the great players of the first half of the 1970s, but rapidly becoming the stars of the country and the key players of the national team. Vejvoda continued to lead his squad to victory. It was still a time of transition, and the old guard was strong enough to compete with the younger players of Dukla, but the future belonged to the boys in yellow. The team already had depth and no doubt new talent was to be added, given the advantage the army club had: not only located in Prague, but benefiting from the universal military service – they were able to get whoever player they wanted as soon as he had to serve in the army. Dukla perhaps was not quite ripe – they clinched the title only because of better goal-difference, but their dominance was clearly visible: every other club was more or less either over the hill, or already in decline – Dukla was the only team rising, not yet reaching its full potential.

Older feet were still running strong, though. Banik (Ostrava) reached the Cup final. The other finalist was not Dukla, but Lokomotiva (Kosice). They were perhaps the best Slovak team at the time, enjoying their peak. Which was not all that much: Lokomotiva never had more than 2-3 real stars and even in their best years – perhaps no more than 6-7 solid players. Not bad for a small club, but hardly enough for major impact. Inconsistency was the result – one year strong, not so in the next. Lokomotiva finished third in the 1977-78 championship. In 1978-79 they were down at 11th place. But a squad like theirs was better suitable for cup tournaments. Lokomotiva won the Cup in 1977 – now they were playing at the final again. To a point, they had it easier than Banik – the national cup was played between the winners of the Czech and Slovak cups, and with Slovak clubs in sharp decline, Lokomotiva had weaker opposition. But never mind, the Cup final was another matter. Lokomotiva prevailed 2-1 and won their second cup!

It was great success – how many small clubs win the national cup twice in three years? It was the best period in the history of the club: the Cup in 1977, then bronze medals from the championship in 1978, and the Cup was theirs again in 1979. Before 1977 they had only one star – Moder. Now there were more – Seman, Kozak, Josza, Biros. Pavol Biros, formerly of Inter (Bratislava), was more than valuable recruit – he was already a national team player. Yet, Lokomotiva hardly had a chance of becoming a big force in the league: it was compact team, belonging to a modest club. Not much growth was possible – which made winning the Cup even sweeter: it was against the odds.


The Czechoslovakian championship started with something unusual: instead of two teams relegated, as it was traditionally, only one club was relegated after the end of 1977-78 championship – the last placed ZVL Zilina. Inter Bratislava was 15th and should have been relegated too, but it was not. Correspondingly, only one club was promoted – the champions of the Slovak league, one of the two Second Division groups. The champions of the Czech league did not go up. Why this happened is unknown… The possible explanation was in that two Slovak clubs ended in the relegation zone – perhaps the idea was to keep geographical divide, but such distinction was not observed before or after that season. It was still possible to relegate a Czech club – Sparta (Prague) ended at 14th place. What was fair and what not is impossible to tell – Inter stayed in the league, Sparta stayed too, although, there was no reason for them to go down anyway, and the champions of the Czech Second Division were not promoted. But the Slovak Second Division champions were… May be maintaining a balance between the two parts of the federate state was the reason – the decline of Slovak football was obvious and keeping clubs in top flight was becoming difficult. May be something else was the decisive factor, but it was unique event. Lucky Inter – they remained in first division. Unlucky winners of the Czech league too – they did not go to play first rate football. Thus, the only newcomer for the season was ZTS Kosice – a return to their rightful place under new name: they played as VSS Kosice until the end of the 1977-78 season and changed name for the new season. The change of name meant change of their industrial sponsor, the factory the club officially belonged to – for the fans it did not matter at all. ZTS Kosice came back to their familiar first division position – mid-table, which made them the third best Slovak club in 1978-79 – they finished 9th. As for Inter, they recovered and climbed up, ending 6th: the best performance of any Slovak club this season.

The club which should not have been playing among the best at all – Inter (Bratislava) 1978-79. Crouching, from left: Kamil Payer (?), Lubomir Zrubec, Jozef Bajza, Miroslav Kovarik, Jan Postulka, Emil Luptak, Frantisek Kalman, Rudolf Ducky, Ladislav Hudec.

Second row: Marian Novotny, Jozef Stipanic, Karol Brezik, Ladislav Petras, Jaroslav Simoncic, Michal Vican – coach, Ladislav Jurkemik, Ivan Kruzliak, Peter Polacek, Peter Michalec.

Most likely the reason for such a sudden revival was the arrival of the great coach Michal Vican. Otherwise, the team was not much – a typical example of the crisis looming in the Slovak football: the stars of few years earlier were either moving elsewhere or retiring, and the youngsters were not at all of the same class. The generational change was painful. Petras, Jurkemik, Novotny, Kovarik, and Bajza were the remnants of the strong team of not long ago – of them, only Petras and Jurkemik were real stars, but it was clear that they reached their peak already. The few strong players, who established themselves a few years back were all gone – and no classy player arrived from other clubs to replace them. None of the young players was really promising. Inter went up this year, but it was clearly accidental and momentary rise. With this squad, even Vican was not to be much help.

The other team on the rise this season was Sparta (Prague). They suffered terribly since 1970, even went down to second division. True, they returned immediately to top flight, but remained dangerously close to relegation. They were 14th in 1977-78 – but climbed up to 5th place in 1978-79. Still, there were no signs of returning to a leading position: Sparta largely achieved a step from the small fry, constantly living in fear of relegation, to a solid mid-table club. The task for the near future was to stay among the mid-table clubs, so it seemed. But they had much more promising squad than Inter. The fairly equal Czechoslovak league did not outline distinct internal division – Sparta finished a point above Inter and a point bellow Bohemians (Prague). Bohemians, lead by Antonin Panenka, were the club really rising – carefully recruiting new players, having a few well respected, if not top stars, players of their own, they were becoming slowly a strong team, perhaps able for something bigger, if they kept improving. Forth this season, a bit behind the top three, but getting closer. Bohemians and Sparta were the good news of the season.

The bad news was the Slovak clubs… Slovan (Bratislava) ended 10th. They experienced the same problem their city rivals Inter had, only on bigger scale: the great team of the late 1960s and the first half of the 1970s was aging. Start retiring, moving elsewhere, and getting inevitably older anyway, needed to be replaced – but the newcomers were not even close to the old players. The inertia was keeping Slovan afloat roughly since 1975, but aging players were less and less able to keep the team strong. Slovan was no longer among the best clubs in the country – it was going down.

Even worse was the predicament of the other great Slovak clubs of the 1960-s and early 1970s – Spartak (Trnava) was in steady decline, slipping deeper and deeper down the table. They finished 12th this year.

‘White Angels’ going to hell – that much was clear, for Spartak aged earlier than Slovan and by now hardly a single player of quality remained in the team. Neither old, nor young. Relegation was just a matter of time – short time, at that. Trnava, a smaller city with more limited resources than Bratislava, was heading towards disaster.

The rest of the Slovak clubs in first division – save one – were in similar situation, trying only to escape relegation. Dukla (Banska Bystrica) was 8th, and Jednota (Trencin) 13th, but neither club showed any promise. They were lowly clubs anyway – the difference between them was 3 points, but Jednota finished just a point better than the relegated 15th. Which was also Slovak club – Tatran (Presov), one of the eternal ‘unsettled’ clubs, fluctuating between first and second division. More or less predictably they were going down again, distinguishing themselves with the worst attack in the league this season.

Bellow them was only one club: Sklo Union Teplice finished last. Never a strong club, they had a few good season, but in general were a mid-table club, more likely to occupy a place near the relegated than near the leaders. This year they were really weak and it was not a great surprise. One Slovak and one Czech club ended in the relegation zone, so no real or imaginary problems – back to normal, two clubs relegated and two promoted.

The winners of the Slovak Second Division were familiar somewhat: they played top flight before, one of the constantly moving up and down clubs, representing the city of Nitra. At a glance, the name was unfamiliar…

Plastika (Nitra) was unheard of name – but the club was the same. It was just a club changing its name frequently and this was the newest, but… it was not to last either. Well. Plastika for the moment… and nothing else to tell about the newcomers.

The winners of the Czech Second Division differed from Plastika only slightly: they played in the first division before, sometimes even well, but sunk down in the 1970s. At last, they were coming back.

Ruda Hvezda (Cheb), with their logo, typical of the clubs from Communist countries – a big, red star. In their case, rightly so, for the name means precisely ‘Red Star’. It was a strange relic of the 1950s in Czechoslovakia – back then clubs were named and renamed like that, but all that ended in the 1960s and in the 1970s the clubs had either their original names (Sparta, Slavia, Bohemians), or used the name of their industrial sponsor (Skoda, Zbrojovka). For some reason they kept the symbolic Communist name in Cheb – and changed it in 1980s.

Automatically, one expects a club named ‘Red Star’ to play in red, but they used blue and white. Anonymous team, which was happy to win promotion – and really concentrate on the next season, when survival was pretty much everything Ruda Hvezda and the city of Cheb could realistically dream of.

Romania I Division and Cup

First division was equal, competitive, and without any internal divisions, not even outsiders. Thus, the last three were more unlucky than really weak. FC Bihor (Oradea) were last with 28 points. U.T. Arad, a strong team no long ago, were17th with 29 points, but with unusual 45-46 goal-difference – 9 clubs ended with worse , and 8th placed SC Bacau had the same as U.T. Arad. 11 clubs scored fewer goals than U. T. Arad. The third relegated club ended 30 points at 16th place.

Corvinul (Hunedoara) were possibly expected to finish low, but they did not end there without a fight. It was really a matter of a single win – or loss… 30 points meant relegation. 32 points – ‘comfortable’ mid-table…

Olimpia (Satu Mare) finished 10th with 32 points.

Also with 32 points, ASA (Targu Mures) were 9th. They also had far worse goal-difference then Corvinul – but were safe. One or two points divided place from place all the way up. Steaua (Bucharest) finished 3rd with 40 points. Dinamo (Bucharest) was second with 41. The champions soared high above everybody else with 45 points… which is misleading. The championship was decided in the last three rounds when Steaua lost a match and the future champions won and took the lead. The new leaders won their last two games and that was that – competitive championship without overwhelming favourite. The champions may have been a bit lucky, but also judging by the big wins in two of their last three games, may be suspicious. Were some result fixed does not matter now – no accusations surfaced in later time. The most important thing remaining is tough, competitive season with tight race for every place to the end.

Arges (Pitesti) triumphed.

One of the best Romanian clubs of the 1970s, Arges already won one title. They confirmed their strong position by winning a second championship. Not bad for a provincial city with a smaller stadium than the one in the village of Scornicesti. Not bad for a provincial club playing in a country where football was politically ruled – such a victory was against all odds.

The champions were good squad, lead by one of the greatest Romanian players of the 1970s Nicolae Dobrin. To a point, it is surprising that Arges was able to keep their stars, but one thing was also sure – it was already aging team. Dobrin was already 32-years old. He also refused to join Dinamo (Bucharest) and Universitatea (Craiova), but this is perhaps less important than the fact of aging. As a team, it reached its peak and without emerging new stars more success was unlikely. And it did not happen – 1979 is still the last year Arges won a trophy. Their last it was – one Cup and two titles. Provincial predicament, but it was also beneficial in a strange way: Romania stopped exporting players around 1972. Now other Eastern European countries carefully started to export their aging stars and Romania followed the same pattern: over the hill veterans were allowed to play abroad. It was done without much publicity, trying to avoid public interest – an old player from a provincial club was almost unnoticeable: his disappearance could be easily seen as retirement. The first Romanian to be allowed to play abroad after 1972 was Nicolae Doru – not a big star, he was transferred to Panathinaikos (Greece) in 1980. But this is still future – for the moment, Dobrin, Doru, and the rest enjoyed their title.

The Cup final was a Bucharest affair – Sportul Studentesc vs Steaua.

The ‘Students’ were quite strong at that time, but not as strong as Steaua. Which was not a happy club without a trophy… and they won comfortably: 3-0.

The new old Cup winners – this was the 13th Cup for Steaua. Normally having the top players of Romania and no exception this year, but the Cup was more or less a consolation – they lost the title.

Romania II Division

Curiously, no internal league divides in Romania. Relatively equal teams, but perhaps more competitive than most East European countries. Yet, one can think that the clubs were too many to be really strong – often smaller cities had a few clubs, which automatically meant none had a chance of becoming a major force. In the second division there was the distinct flavour of ‘metallic’ names, suggesting clubs belonging to industrial clubs – and thus depending largely on the whims of the factory’s boss. Of course, outside Romania, second division was entirely unknown world, in which dwell mysterious formations and few familiar names – like Rapid (Bucharest), down on their luck, they ended 6th in Serie A of Second Division. Three other clubs from Bucharest were also members of this sub-division – Metalul, Progresul Vulcan, and Autobuzul. However, most of the second division members never played first division football. Like Dinamo (Slatina):

Standing from left : Stoica, Vlăduţ, Erdei, Mincioagă, Furnea, Ciocioană, Lică, Ghenu,    Virgil  Blujdea – coach.

First row: Cordoş, Gabrian, Frăţilă II, Asaftei, Bălan, Cotoşman, Stanciu.

They finished 12th in the 18-team Serie A of Second Division, barely escaping relegation.

Of the better known clubs

Otelul (Galati) was in second division and CFR (Cluj) were also playing down there.

A squad similar to Dinamo (Slatina) – not to the powerhouse the club is after year 2000.

Curiously, Cluj, a traditional strong center of Romanian football had no member of First Division at all. The local derby was played down second tier. But the championships went well – for instance, in Serie A only two clubs were obviously different: the last two were clearly very weak. The rest was a battle between equals – 8 points divided the 16th (relegation zone) from the 4th. And the 4th, Rulmentul (Alexandria) was not exactly out of the race for the promotional spot – they finished with 2 points less than the 3rd placed and 5 points behind the champions. First place was clinched by 2 points difference and the winners were not best in everything – they shared the league record in scoring with 7th placed Poiana (Campina), 4 clubs had better defensive records, 2 clubs had lost fewer matches. The winners excelled only in… winning. 20 victories made them first. The unknown Romanian second division may have been anything, but nobody can say it was not competitive. At the end three clubs emerged with promotion: two familiar names and a strange one.

Universitatea (Cluj) a few years back was playing in the UEFA Cup, but now were happy to return to top flight – unlike their city rivals CFR, who remained down.

FCM Galati were also coming back from exile.

The third promotion went to the winners of already mentioned Serie A. Viitorul (Scornicesti) – the only unknown club among the promoted. However, there was no such name in the next season of the top league. Instead, there was Olt.

Somewhat agrarian club, if their logo mean anything. They also got the future big star Victor Piturca for the new campaign. There was more, vague, and dark. The club was one of the youngest in Romania – founded in 1972. Scornicesti is most often called a village, although with population over 12 000, it is really a small town. And it looks like city too – with condominium buildings, not only individual houses with big yards. Scornicesti still has the 11th largest stadium in Romania, with capacity of 18 000. Larger than the whole population of the place… off hand, not surprising: such projects were done here and there in Eastern Europe, taking into account a population of the area of which the ‘major’ village served as a center. Ill-considered grandeur too, but it had been done. Especially when some ‘big considerations’ were at stake. In this case, Scornicesti was famous for only one thing: it was Nicolae Ceausescu’s birthplace. So, the original insignificant village was enlarged, becoming perhaps the center of Olt county. Football perhaps was not key part of the ‘natural’ project, but once the club was founded, it was not to stay small… partly, because Scornicesti hardly had anything else to show to the world. The club was ‘helped’ in its way up… so is the rumor. Very quickly they reached Second Division – what is mostly remembered from this climb is a 18-0 victory over their neighbours Dinamo (Slatina), which helped promotion from Third to Second Division. In general, the opinion in Romania is that the club was pushed forward and helped to stay in First Division for years. From aside, it looked like astonishing achievement of a club from tiny town or village, which in only 6 years of existence reached top flight, managed to stay there, and had a string of famous payers – beginning with Victor Piturca – at one or another time. The ‘master-builder’ of the successful teams was Mitica Dragomir, eventually very respected Romanian coach and football official. But everything is foggy about this club – Romanian sources give the club’s name as ‘Viitorul’ until the end of the 1978-79 season. In first division the club debuted under the name Olt – now establishing the claim of centrality and of representing the whole Olt county. In the German-language Wikipedia the name was changed in 1973. There are rumors that the Ceausescu’s family was directly involved in the rapid climb of the club and it may have been done, but others were directly involved: the Communist Party, local authorities, football authorities. The very fact of the significance of the place automatically made everybody ‘naturally helpful’ – big clubs from Bucharest dispatched young talent to obscure Scornicesti, referees were careful with their whistles, money were never lacking, and so on. It did not have to be done by direct written orders – everybody was ‘clever’ to figure out what was ‘good’ and what was ‘bad’. Football flourished in Scornicesti. As for the new stadium, was it ever full is a good question – even with the whole population marched to the stadium, still more people were needed… may be the whole Olt county was ‘encouraged’ to attend? Who knows. From aside, it was a rare success of a village club – all the way up to First Division at still infant age. Glory to the peasants. Ceausescu said pretty much the same.

DDR Championship and Cup

With the whole league in place, what about the champions. They were brand new – always exciting moment of football history. Apparently, the steady rising Dynamo (Berlin) finally matured.

Dynamo (Berlin) never won a title before. Since 1970 they were going up, establishing themselves as the 5th big East German club, but so far were similar to Lokomotive (Leipzig): constantly strong, but not really a title contender. Yet, their squad was getting stronger and stronger and the emerging new stars tended to play for Dynamo. They were expected to win a title or two, just it was difficult to figure out when. And also it looked like they were going to clinch occasional title in a tightly contested championship. Instead, they came with a real bang – 21 wins, 4 ties, and a single loss. 75-18 goal-difference, clearly the best team, not a single weak line, overwhelming. Dynamo (Dresden) was left in the dust, 7 points behind. Explosive first title and for the moment, greeted at least from abroad as a fresh change of the familiar and becoming slightly boring parade of East German champions: Dynamo, Magdeburg, and Carl Zeiss, again, again, and again. How the new champions were seen in East Germany is another matter, but it was not all that clear that they will monopolize the championship. Not yet.

First time champions, joy for their supporters and even bigger joy for their sponsors, the Stassi. Lauck, Terletzki, and Trieloff were stars for years, but now a whole bunch of new national team players formed the team – Rudwaleit, Noack, Troppa, Ullrich, Riediger, Starsser, Netz. The future of the East German football, replacing the heroes of 1974. So, the future belonged to this team. Another very promising player was also in the squad – Lutz Eigendorf. Soon he was to defect, ending in West Germany and playing successfully in the Bundesliga. Not the first East German to run to the other side, but Eigendorf was particularly irritating case: first, because he came from the club belonging to the Stassi, the most ideologically ‘correct’ club… what a blow to have a player defecting. Second, Eigendorf not only run away, but was very vocal, constantly criticizing the Communist East German regime. This immediately prevented his former masters to use the traditional condemnation that an young greedy idiot was lured by money and betrayed his country purely for selfish – and foreign to Communist society – reasons. Eigendorf was ideologically motivated and therefore dangerous. He died in suspicious car accident… the case was not never solved, but ever since Stassi is considered the guilty party, staging a murder.

Anyhow, Dynamo were triumphant and more – they had a chance for a double. At the Cup final they faced 1.FC Magdeburg. The regular time ended scoreless and the overtime Seguin scored the single goal of the final. Unfortunately, Seguin played for Magdeburg… and Dynamo lost. Not yet ready for complete domination… for the moment, it looked like that the team was going to be a winner, but not the only one… the lost final was prophetic – Dynamo (Berlin) was unable to win the Cup until 1988.

Magdeburg won their 6th Cup. It was also second consecutive cup victory, won by exactly the same result as in 1978.

The only East German so far winning European cup, still had teeth. Sparwasser, Zapf, Tyll, Pommerenke, Hoffmann, Seguin, Raugust – all Cup Winners Cup holders from the memorial triumph in 1974. Add the best-ever East German goal-scorer Joachim Streich, who was once again the league top scorer with 23 goals. New talent was also at hand. Magdeburg was still a force and looked like younger Dynamo (Berlin) was not going to dominate East Germany – at least Magdeburg, with their very experienced squad, was equally strong. So it appeared in the spring of 1979.


DDR I Division

First division was clearly divided into 3 sections – nothing new, it was like that for years. 4 clubs struggling to keep a place among the best, 5 clubs in the middle, no better or worse than any other year, and five fighting at the top. The same five clubs since 1970… if not even earlier.

Hansa (Rostock) finished last with 15 points.

Third row, from left: Helmut Hergesell – coach, Rudi Schneider – assistant coach, Gerd Kische, Jorg Seering, Dieter Schneider, Karl-Heins Aul, Rainer Jarohs, Peter Sykora, Dr. Rainer Muller – team doctor, Klaus Decker – assistant.

Middle row: Ronald Adam, Wolfgang Weber, Hans-Joachim Wandtke, Michael Mischinger, Dietrich Kehl, Norbert Linningen (?)

First row: Jurgen Utess, Jurgen Decker, Bernd Kohler, Gunter Blum – physio, Axel Schulz, Eckhard Martzke, Rudiger Kaschke.

Really strange team – Hansa was steadily up and down since 1974-75, when were relegated. Came back immediately the next season, but finished last in first division in 1976-77. Won promotion in 1977-78. And last again in 1978-79. Perhaps such a roller-coaster is unique in the world, but even more curious was that this team did not appear to be so bad – at least when compared to the other lower East German clubs. They lost the best East German goal-scorer Joachim Streich, but still had one of the 1974 heroes – Gerd Kische. And Peter Sykora. With two stars, they should have been in mid-table, others had less and still were out of trouble. Whatever the reason, Hansa was unable to keep place among the best.

Above Hansa, but also relegated was BSG Chemie (Bohlen).

For them, it was written on the wall: a modest club, which earned promotion in 1977, but was not expected to survive the trials of first division football. The managed to stay, finishing 12th in their first season – that is, just a place above relegation zone. But it was not up to them to repeat the same – they fought as much as they were able to and lost the battle by 2 points.

BSG Sachsenring (Zwickau) finished 12th, reaching safety with 18 points.

This was perhaps great for the best ever East German goalkeeper Jurgen Croy (the dark-haired one on the picture) – it would have been a disgrace to end in second division.

The best club among the outsiders was Wismut (Aue).

At 11th place, they were consistent – always near the relegation zone. Their best season during the decade was 6th place in 1975-76. Their ‘preferred’ – 12th, which they occupied most often.

The middle group had 1. FC Union (Berlin) at the bottom. They were 10th with 21 points.

The East Berliners preferred to support Union in spite of Stassi-representing Dynamo, but the club was lowly. Their chief aim was to keep a place in first division. So to be among the mid-table ‘solid’ clubs was not bad. The question was were they able to maintain their position.

The newcomer BSG Stahl (Riesa) finished 9th.

Without stars, Stahl was traditionally one of the expected to be relegated. They just returned from second division. To a point, they had an excellent season.

FC Karl-Marx-Stadt were 8th with 22 points.

With such a name, one automatically expects them to be a constant favourite. Instead, they were modest mid-table club. Nice kit and the novelty of bell-bottomed training pants is just about everything to be noted about them.

Yet, the archetypical mid-table club was not Karl-Marx-Stadt, but Rot Weiss (Erfurt).

Always in mid-table – amazingly consistent in safe mediocrity. 7th this year with 24 points.

HFC Chemie (Halle) were 6th with 27 points and perhaps there is a question were they belonging to so-so clubs, or the the leaders. They finished 3 points clear of Rot Weiss, yet 2 points behind Lokomotive (Leipzig). The previous season they were also 6th, but were 6 points ahead of the small fry and appeared to be rising and perhaps joining the strongest.

6th again, but it was clear that Chemie was to stay with the small fry – the club had no famous players before, did not get any, did not climb up and challenged the strongest, but maintained position just bellow them. The best among the mid-table teams, that was all.

Relatively weak season for Lokomotive (Leipzig) – 5th and not a factor.

Third row, from left: Thomas Dennstedt, Joachim Fritsche, Gunter Sekora, Hans-Jurgen Kinne, Udo Rietzschel, Volker Grossmann, Wolfram Lowe.

Middle row: Heinz Joerk – coach, Wolfgang Altmann, Karl-Heinz Herrmann, Wilfried Grobner, Roland Hammer, Henning Frenzel, Mathias Liebers, Lutz Eichhorn, Helmut Burkhardt – masseur, Bernd Kirsche – assistant coach.

Kneeling: Andreas Roth, Andreas Bornschein, Rene Muller, Siegfried Stotzner, Werner Friese, Lutz Moldt, Dieter Kuhn.

Lokomotive continued to be among the top clubs, but not a title contender. They also had less famous players than any other of the traditional favourites.

1.FC Magdeburg were also out of the race for the title – the fought with Carl Zeiss for bronze and lost it by a point.

Yet, the forth place in the table was a bit misleading – Magdeburg were still very strong.

Similar were Carl Zeiss (Jena) – like Magdeburg, they appeared to be in danger of decline: depending on familiar stars and no new one emerging. They clinched third place, but had no strength for more.

Carl Zeiss however played very well in the European tournaments, compensating for their a bit weaker domestic performance.

Dynamo (Dresden) was comfortably above the three big clubs mentioned so far – they ended 5 points ahead of Carl Zeiss and lost only matches during the season. Certainly a contender.

The most successful East German club of the 1970s, but they were not really in the race for the title this season, settling for comfortable second place. Much stronger than the rest of the league, yet not a match for the champions. Dynamo (Dresden) appeared to change generations smoothly, so it was not approaching a crisis. And they really managed to avoid crisis, but in the next decade Eastern German changed in a way which voided competition and thus the real strength of Dresden’s club was become a mystery.


DDR II Division

1978-79 was a season of significant change in DDR – a brand new champion, which was perhaps welcomed change of status quo. It was known what ‘institution’ the new champion represented, but resentment was not so obvious yet – it was impossible to predict that this club will establish monopoly to the very collapse of the state. It was also the first victory of Berlin’s club since 1969 – 10 years is a long time indeed, but perhaps the news was not exactly hailed anywhere. More optimistic news was the slight change of guard – the new champions had a bunch of younger players, becoming the next generation stars. It was good, because so far the key figures were the heroes of 1974 World Cup and they were inevitably aging. Along with that, the number of strong clubs increased to five – not bad, the battle between 5 contenders makes a championship interesting, but in the same time firm gap between them and the rest of East German clubs was great and never bridged. Since the new champions were among the favourites for years, in fact, there was no addition to the strongest – it was only that the previously weaker of the them finally matured. Or ‘helped’ into maturity… For the moment, the season ended on positive and optimistic note. But it was just the top of the pyramid… if looking down, the picture was not so bright.

Only one of the 5 Second Division groups was really competitive – Group E, where 3 teams competed for the first place.

BSG Motor (Suhl) clinched victory by one point over BSG Motor (Weimar). BSG Wismut (Gera) ended third, with 3 points less.

The other groups had a clear overwhelming leaders:

BSG Energie (Cottbus) finished 5 points ahead in Group D. They lost only one match this season.

TSG Bau (Rostock) also finished with 5 points lead in Group A.

BSG Chemie (Leipzig) did even better in Group C– 6 points lead, although they lost 3 matches.

But the winners of Group B were astonishing.

FC Vorwarts (Frankfurt/Oder) did not lose even a single match. They tied only 4 games and won 18, scoring 77 goals and receiving mere 6 in the bargain. The next best club was 12 points behind them.

The promotional mini-league of the 5 winners was similar – FC Vorwarts won 7 matches and tied one, scoring 24 goals and receiving 6. With 15 points, they head and shoulders above the rest. The second promotional spot was tightly contested and decided by goal-difference, a curious affair, for one of the two contestant ended with negative goal-difference. Two clubs were clear outsiders – TSG Bau finished last with 3 points and BSG Energie was 4th with 4 points. BSG Motor were apparently more enthusiastic than really good: they got 9 points, thanks to 4 wins, but in the same time when their losses were devastating. With 14-19 goal-difference promotion was just a dream. BSG Chemie also earned 9 points, but 11-7 goal difference – the promotion was theirs to enjoy.

Second place and promotion for Chemie (Leipzig). Relegated from First Division in 1976, now they were coming back. Once upon a time a stronger club, Chemie was living in the shadow of Lokomotive (Leipzig) for years now. And nobody expected a change – the limited pool of East German football hardly permitted for two strong sides in one city. Chemie was expected just to fight for survival in the top division.

The winners were different story – the army club was relegated the previous season and now was coming back with a vengeance. It looked like Vorwarts – or the Army itself – were determined to restore their leading place in East German football, which they lost after relocated from Berlin to Frankfurt/Oder in 1971. And that was the only positive sign coming from second division.