Portugal the Cup

The Cup final opposed the losers of the championship: Benfica vs FC Porto. Bronze vs silver, both teams ambitious to win a trophy. As often is the case between equal rivals, the final was tight and won minimally by Benfica 1-0.

FC Porto ended well the season – second in both championship and cup tournament. But second is not first… they lost twice minimally. A good team, but not great and perhaps not polished yet. But FC Porto established firmly itself among the very best Portuguese clubs and clearly was going to be a constant factor.

Benfica won the Cup and thus saved the season, but they fooled no one: the team was not so great, it needed new and better players, if Benfica wanted to live up to its reputation. At the moment, they were losing steam in Portugal and were not a leading club on European scale. As a whole, Benfica, FC Porto, and Lisbon shared the same problem – very few stars. Portugal needed a new strong generation of players and so far there were none.

Portugal I Division

1979-80 season was nothing special – the Portuguese First Division was sharply divided into two groups: the top 4 clubs and the rest. The top itself was divided into three distinct parts, which tells enough about competitiveness. A bit of trivia, then. Sporting (Lisbon) won all home games they played. FC Porto finished the season with unique record: they allowed only 9 goals in 30 matches! And interestingly they received less goals on away matches – 4. Benfica was the highest scoring team by far – 79 goals, 12 more than Sporting. Varzim was the only team without a win away from home. Ties were not in vogue – only 4 clubs tied 10 or more matches, Estoril had the most – 11.

One club seemingly improved this year.

Belenenses (Lisbon) finished 5th, suggesting perhaps recovery, but was the club going to recover its once upon a time strong place remained to be seen.

One club was a hopeless outsider, finishing last was 13 points – Rio Ave.

Rio Ave – dead last in the league.

The battle for survival went between 4 clubs Beira Mar, Estoril, Leiria, and Vitoria (Setubal).

Usually, Setubal was found in the upper half of the table, but they had weak season and fought for survival – lucky to escape relegation with 23 points, which placed the 12th. The other three participants in the race for survival joined Rio Ave in relegation.

Leiria – 13th with 21 points.

Estoril – 14th, also with 21 points, but worse goal-difference. This team distinguish itself with the worst scoring record in the league – 18 goals.

Beira Mar – 15th with 20 points.

At the top of the league, Boavista continued its good run – late 1970s were great years for the club and the 1980s started well.

Boavista finished 4th with 37 points – 3 points ahead of Belenenses and thus separated from the bulk of the league, but 8 points behind the bronze medalists. Apparently, Boavista was unable to build and maintain really strong squad, but nevertheless helped shaping the new Portuguese establishment: the opposition between Lisbon and Porto.

Benfica got the bronze medals – a miserable season by their standards. They ended 8 points ahead of Boavista, and had the highest scoring strikers in the league, but finished 5 points behind the silver medalists.

Two clubs contested the title and the pursuit was close to the end. Curiously, home record separated the winner from the loser. FC Porto won 13 home matches and tied 2 – and lost the title by 2 points, for Sporting Lisbon had perfect home record – 15 wins. Both teams had the same away records.

Standing from left: Eurico, Fraguito, Jordão, Barão, Meneses, Bastos, Vaz.

First row: Marinho, Manoel, José Eduardo, Manuel Fernandes (captain).

Great victory for Sporting, but it was not a great squad – Jordao and Eurico were practically the only stars.

One more look at the champions, this time at their full squad – they deserve it, for Sporting was out of the spotlights for the most of the 1970s.

Portugal II Division

With few familiar names in it, the Portuguese Second Division is not really worth detailed report – except for the winners. Three kinds of winners actually – the winners of the three zones, directly promoted to first division; then the tournament between them, deciding the second league seasonal champion; and finally the mini-tournament between the second placed for the 4th and last promotional spot. In the zones, the only competitive race happened in Zona Centro, but Zona Norte was without outstanding leaders: there the gap between the winner and the next team was the smallest.

Penafiel finished first with 41 points – 3 more than Fafe and Chaves.

Standing from left: Mascarenhas, Quim, Cerqueira, Celton, Kikas, Barbosa.

Crouching: Belo, Valter, Alberto, Faia, Abel.

No famous players here, naturally – eventually Quim became fairly known and reached the national team, but it was later. But it was fantastic season for Penafiel – Futebol Clube Penafiel is a relatively young Portuguese club, founded in 1951. So far, they managed to climb to the second level and winning a second division zone was their biggest success so far. The next season they were going to debut among the top, and trying to survive, but for the moment it was simply great.

Zona Centro was a close pursuit between two clubs. Academica (Coimbra) and Academico (Vizeu) – also known as CAF – were head and shoulders above the rest of the league, leaving the third placed Oliveira do Bairro 11 points behind. One point decided first and second – CAF with 46 points. Academica triumphed with 47.

Perhaps the best known club of the Second Division, Academica struggled in the 1970s and became quite familiar with the lower level of Portuguese country. But they did not give up and constantly tried to move back to the top division.

The boys in black succeeded to win promotion – well done and dramatically too, but the real test was going to be the next season.

Zona Sul had one overwhelming favourite from start to end – Amora. They finished 6 points above better known Lusitano Evora.

Like Penafiel, Amora Futebol Clube never played in first division before, but it was much older club than Penafiel, founded in 1921. Their first success, their first promotion. But it was not all:

The three zonal winners played between themselves to decide the Second Division champion – a matter of pride only, for they all won promotions already. Here Amora FC finished first, a point ahead of Academica (Coimbra).

Standing from left: José Martins, Gonçalves (Masseur), Veiga, Mourinho (coach), Durives Pereira (President), Helder, Luis Manuel, Albuquerque, Armando, Mira, Carlos Alberto

First row : Joel, Arnaldo, Tateu, Milton, Vitor Manuel, Vieira, Peixoto, Paulo Oliveira, Nando.

So far, the most successful squad in the history of Amora FC – at large, the players were nobodies, but not so locally – at home, they were heroes. Legendary heroes.

The three second-placed teams competed for the last promotional spot. Fafe from Zona Norte, a bit lucky, for they finished 2nd thanks to better goal-difference; Academico (Vizeu) from Zona Centro; and Lusitano (Evora) from Zona Sul. Lusitano failed, winning just a single match, so Fafe and CAF really competed. CAF won 3 of the 4 matches and Fafe – 2. With 6 points CAF finished first and won the promotion.

The last promoted club: standing from left: Ângelo (adjunto), Rodrigo, Basto, Ângelo, Professor José Moniz (coach), José Manuel, Sobreiro, Ramon

Middle row: Carnoto (masseur), Mário Vasconcelos (adjunto), Rui Nery, Penteado, Emanuel, Hélder, Chico Santos, Gerúsio, José Pereira

Sitting: Vinagre, Alberto, Águas, Inaldo, Simões, Arnaldo, Nelito.

Clube Academico de Futebol (Vizeu) finished on a high note – they missed direct promotion by a single point, but clearly were the best second-placed team in the division – the only one competing for the top spot in any zone. Good form through the whole season and better squad than most second division clubs was well rewarded at the end. Both clubs sporting the unusual at the time colour black – Academica (Coimbra) and Academico (Vizeu) – were relegated in 1978-79, but managed to return to the top division after a single season in purgatory.


Switzerland continued searching for the optimum formula – after the league was reduced to 12 clubs, a new enlargement started. 14 teams played in 1979-80 and the formula of the championship was new: after the first standard phase, the top 6 clubs entered a final phase. But the rest of the league finished with the first phase – there was no more promotion/relegation tournament. The standings were final and the last 2 clubs were relegated. The top two of normally played second league were promoted.

FC Bellinzona won the second division championship. With 38 points, they clinched first place by a single point difference, but otherwise it was remarkable season – the champions did not lose even one match: 12 wins and 14 ties. Impeccable defense – just 14 goals received. Bellinzona was returning to the top league apparently strong.

FC Nordstern (Basel) finished second – strong period for the small club, although they were not really competitive when playing with the best. But they were strong in the second league – missed first place by a single point, but finished with the best striking record – they scored almost twice as many goals than the champions. And they were without rivals – third placed Winterthur was trailing 5 points behind, not a challenger.

The first phase of the top league – and final for most participants – had a hopeless outsider:

FC Lugano is not even worth mentioning – they won only one match and tied 5. The rest was losses… and they were last with 7 points.

More competitive, but still outsiders, FC La Chaux-de-Fonds finished with 17 points. Three points less than the 12th finisher, Xamax. Down they went with Lugano.

After the first phase the top 6 moved to the final phase, carrying half of the points they earned in the first stage. This was also the trouble, noticed in the previous years, and forcing the Federation to change the format again: some clubs had nothing to play for. Servette, Grasshopper(s), and FC Basel were the top three after the first stage. There was a bit of a gap between them and the next three – FC Luzern, FC Zurich, and FC Sion. It was pretty much clear that the lower three would just go through the motions, having no real chance to win the title. Servette was seemingly the favourite after the first stage – they lost only 3 matches and finished with 2 points lead. Which was reduced to 1 point after the initial points were halved… and the top three started the final phase almost equal. Now Servette stumbled, perhaps spending its energy in the first phase of the championship.

FC Luzern distinguished itself with seemingly not paying attention to the final phase – in the 10 final games, they tied a single match and lost the rest, scoring 4 goals and receiving 38 – more than they received in the 26 matches of the first stage. Clearly, not interested…

FC Zurich was at good form at the final stage and pushed as much as they could, but the handicap of the first stage prevented them from coming even close to the medals.

The battle for the title was between the initial top three clubs – or may be just between two of them, for Servette underperformed.

Top row from left: Locca (Coach), Piet Hamberg, Gerald Coutaz, Peter Pazmandy (Trainer), Roger Cohannier (Präsident), Comte (Artzt), Jean-Luc Martin, Serge Trinchero, Lucio Bizzini

Middle row: Karl Engel, Charles Dupuis, Favre (Pfleger), Guy Dutoit, Christian Matthey, Gianfranco Seramondi, Claude Milani

Crouching: Franco Cucinotta, Gilbert Guyot, Claude Sarrasin, Umberto Barberis, Jean-Yves Valentini, Claude “Didi” Andrey, Marc Schnyder.

It was not a big flop, but Servette lost 4 matches in the final stage and got 11 points – less than their competitors, which at the end place them 3rd, losing silver on worse goal-difference.

Grasshoppers, 3rd in the first stage, moved a place higher in the final stage. 13 points were the second best performance in the final, which only equalized them with Servette – but they had better goal-difference and got the silver medals.

FC Basel was strong second in the first phase, finishing 2 points behind Servette. Halving the initial points for the second stage reduced the gap to one point and FC Basel seemingly kept their best for the most important part of the championship. They excelled in the final group, finishing on top with 14 points. Thus, their combined record was also best – 33 points. Two more than the rivals had.

8th title for FC Basel – a strong ending of successful decade.


Well done, but… it was largely anonymous squad. In recent past Basel had some more recognizable names. The obligatory 2 foreigners did not ring a bell at all: the French midfielder Serge Gaisser (b. 1958), and the West German striker Detlev Lauscher (b. 1952). The big figure was the coach – Helmut Benthaus, a West German, already recognized as the one responsible for Basel’s success. Which was also the liability: it was very unlikely a good coach would stay with relatively small club for long. 1967-80 are considered the best period in the history of Basel and the end of it depended on the coach – it came in 1982, when Benthaus left. But the sign was in the air already: the squad was almost anonymous and decline was inevitable.

The Cup final opposed not the favourites of the championship, but small fry. FC Sion to Young Boys (Bern).

Young Boys played and lost the cup final the previous year. To reach the final right away was quite a surprise for a club of the lower half of the league for years. This year they finished 10th , so there was not much to the team even by Swiss standards.

FC Sion was 6th after the first stage of the championship and had to play in the final phase. There Sion entirely gave up, which means they concentrated on the Cup. Neither opponent was particularly strong, but a final is a matter of matching ambitions. FC Sion prevailed 2-1. Young Boys lost the finals in two consecutive years and FC Sion won their 3rd cup.

FC Sion, founded in 1909, was never among the leading Swiss clubs, but in the historic scheme – not so bad either, for most clubs never won even a single trophy. A rare success, but success. The team was nothing to speak of – perhaps Bregy was the biggest star. Two foreigners, similar to those playing for Basel – that is, hardly heard of. A veteran French defender Jean-Claude Richard (b. 1946), and a more interesting midfielder – Marian Cernicky (b.1953), a Czechoslovak player, who debuted this season. The previous season he played for Lokomotiva (Kosice) and this is what makes his case interesting and mysterious. In general, Czechoslovakia cautiously started exporting players in 1980. At first they were veterans with well known names, who played for the national team for years. The pattern of every Eastern European country. Cernicky was slightly younger – as a rule, almost every Communist country permitted players over 28 to play abroad. He never played for national team and in Czechoslovakia was practically anonymous player, playing for small club. Possibly, he was a defector. But he played for Lokomotiva the previous season and for Sion – right the next season. Normally, defectors missed at least a year, suspended by FIFA for their ‘illegal’ leaving of the original club. What was the true story is so far impossible to uncover: Cernicky was very close – yet, under – the usual age permitting export. He moved to Switzerland so close to the accepted year of Czechoslovakia beginning the export of players – yet, before that year. He was entirely unknown player – but USSR, Bulgaria, Romania started their exports with players off the public radar. Whatever the truth, Cernicky started successfully his career in Switzerland – with a cup. The last and bigger interesting thing was the coach of FC Sion – a debutant coach, winning a trophy in his very first coaching year. As a player – a Swiss legend and well known in Europe: Daniel Jeandupeux. Barely 31 years old. Misfortune explains his early start of coaching – he did not recover from a badly broken leg in 1977 and missed his last two years with Bordeaux. The injury lead to early retirement – and the switch to coaching was immediately successful. Success was not good for FC Sion – the club was unable to keep Jeandupeux, who was invited to take over his former club FC Zurich right after winning the cup. And in Zurich he tried to return to playing – he was registered as playing coach in the next three years, but the injury was too bad and he played only 2 games, in which he scored 1 goal. A great success for FC Sion, but trivia and gossip are perhaps the most interesting part of their story.

Hungary The Cup

The Cup final confirmed the transitional state of Hungarian football at that time: the new strong teams were not sos strong to dominate and the old feet were still good enough. Vasas vs Diósgyõri VTK – old feet vs provincial disturbers of the status quo.

Vasas was still having big names – Meszaros, Muller, Varadi, Zombori, Torok. Getting long in the tooth, but not at all to be dismissed, especially at a time when oldish stars were placed on the international market. Vasas was seemingly the favourite.

Paper is one thing, real football – something else. Vasas lost the final 1-3.

Standing from left: Szabó Géza vezetőedző, Szabó, Tatár, Salamon, Oláh, Kádár, Veréb, (középen) Szántó, Borostyán, Kerekes, Kutasi, Tóth István gyúró.

Crouching: Fekete, Teodoru II., Szalai, Görgei, Fükő.

Happy and proud Cup winners!

Diosgyiori VTK (Miskolc) did it again – they won their first cup in 1977 and added a second one in short time. No doubt, the best years of the club. Therefore, a legendary squad – which was not bad at all. Yet, it was a provincial team without much future: in the championship they finished 12th, which was their rather typical position. It was a wonderful team only on local level and it was unlikely they would be able to keep their best players for long. But they won over the long-established stars of Vasas, added a second cup – a sign of a transitional period: smaller clubs with younger squads were pretty equal to the big clubs, depending on aging stars.


Hungary I Division

Hungary was still running its largest first division – 18 clubs – which, given the general decline of the game in the country, perhaps explains the comfortable existence of most clubs. Three clubs were far below the rest in 1979-80.

Good for clubs like DMVSC – or Debrecen – the lowest of the ‘comfortable’: they finished 15th, just above relegation zone, but with 30 points they were never in trouble. The 16th finished with 22 points.

MAV Elore (Szekesfehervar) finished 16th and went down, thus reducing the first division derbies by one. Videoton was running strong, MAV Elore did not – perhaps understandable situation in a smaller city: not enough money to keep two relatively strong clubs.

Salgotarjan, as the club was popularly known, finished 17th with 20 points. Relegation was hardly a surprise – SBTC was lowly club and no stranger to lower division football.

The weakest of the weak was not match even to the other outsiders, finishing with 15 points.

Pecsi VSK was a newcomer, which did not last, as expected. The only thing about their departure from the league was the end of the novelty of provincial derbies: Szekesfehervar lost its derby this season and so did Pecs.

Pecsi MSC, traditionally the stronger club of Pecs, finished like they ever did – in mid-table. Unlike getting stronger Videoton, PMSC just kept their usual level. Their smaller neigbours PVSC did not develop into a rival.

Weak season for Ferencvaros – they finished 6th with 39 points – three more than Pecsi MSC at 7th place.

Videoton ended 4th with 43 points and a point better was Vasas.

Bronze medals for Vasas – they were still going relatively strong.

The title was a contest between Ujpesti Dosza and Honved. Honved had the edge and won the championship 3 points ahead of Ujpesti Dosza. May be Honved took advantage of the shaky generational change of their rivals, but it was historic victory.

Third row, from left: Weimper, Varga, Lukács, Kocsis, Pál, Kozma.

Middle row: Tóth Kálmán gyúró, Paróczai, Garaba, Nagy A., Dajka, Esterházy, Fejes, Tichy Lajos vezetőedző.

Sitting: Menyhárt, Pandúr, Melis, Bodonyi, Pintér, Gujdár.

On one side, it was a victory of the Army over the Police – the traditional rivalry in the Communist countries. It was part of the revival of the Army clubs in Eastern Europe at the end of the 1970s. On the other hand, this was the first title won since 1955! It was their 6th and the number is surpirzing, considering that the old Honved was closely associated with the great ‘Flying Magars’ of the 1950s. But the Hungarian Revolution in 1956 cut the wings of Honved in more than one aspect: not only stars emigrated, notably Ferenc Puskas, but the political changes diminished the powerful status of Honved – a status clearly seen as Stalinist creation. It took 15 years for Honved to come back.

Honved were strong indeed, but were to return to a dominance? Was it a beginning of second golden period? They had a team of contempary stars, unlike the aging Ujpesti Dosza and shaky Ferencvaros. But it was not a great team – Guydar and Pinter were leading players for some time, but never the best at their positions in the country. Garaba, Kozma, Bodonyi, Dajka, Menyhart, Poczik… not a bad bunch, but somewhat unfinished, not the prime stars. Much more perspective squad, compared to Ujpesti Dosza, but not great one. It all depended on further development – Honved returned to the top of Hungarian football, but really strong years were yet to come.

Hungary II Division

Hungary II division. A mixed bag of winners.

Declining Csepel (Budapest) was still too good for second division and won promotion quickly. The team was not too bad actually – Hajdu, for instance, was still national team material. But the glory years were long gone, never to return. Still, it seemed that the proper place of Csepel was in the top league.

Kaposvari Rakoczi – one more attempt to establish itself among the best Hungarian clubs. Unlike Csepel, it was more than doubtful they will succeed.

The third club winning promotion was different – NYVSSC never played first division before.

As many Hungarian clubs, the name is hidden behind convenient abbreviation, for it was long and difficult, but just as often it was known in another version – just the name of the home city Nyiregyhaza. The club was founded in 1928 and went into several name changes between 1944 and 1955. The changes were not over, though – in 1977 the club merged with the other club of the same city, Nyiregyhazi Spartacus Petofi, becoming Nyiregyhazi Vasutas-Spartacus Sportclub. Hence, NYVSSC. One long and difficult to chant version; the other – difficult to pronounce, so it was sufficient just to call it Nyiregyhaza.

Third row, from left: Temesvári Miklós vezetőedző, Bakos Béla gyúró, Szekrényes, Gáspár, Ambrusz, Szűcs, Nagy Lajos technikai vezető,Arany László palyaedző.

Middle row: Buús, Moldván, Cséke, Kiss, Mayer

Sitting: Lukács, Polyák, Kozma, Czeczeli, Turtóczky.

The newest incarnation proved the most successful in the club’s history, winning the very first promotion. Like Kaposvar, the squad was nothing to speak of and the club was not expected to last among the best. Then again, who could tell in advance.


New page was opened in Czechoslovakia, however, with some difficulties. 1980 was double-edged edged year: international success of the national teams at the European Championship and the Olympic games, but at home it was not so great season, marked by inevitable aging of the great 1976 heroes, the sharp decline of the Slovak clubs Slovan (Bratislava) and Spartak (Trnava), and the lack of really strong current club. Dukla (Prague) seemingly had the squad to dominate the league, but had a weak season. There was no other well-rounded team in the league – the better ones had no more than 5-6 classy players. To a point, the aging stars of 1976 still determined positions – who had them, performed quite well. The best example was Bohemians (Prague), which started their perhaps greatest period – they had Antonin Panenka (32 years old by now) for years, but since 1977 few more veterans were added: Karol Dobias (33, formerly of the excellent Spartak Trnava team), Frantisek Vesely (37, who spent his best years with Slavia Prague) and Premysl Bicovsky (30, formerly of Sklo Union Teplice). They, plus few formerly promising, but failing to become stars players – like Dusan Herda (29), formerly of Slavia (Prague) – amalgamated into one of the best teams at this time. It should be noted that 1979-80 was the last season for Panenka and Vesely – in the summer of 1980 the Czechoslovakian Federation started exporting players, a new trend in East Europe – USSR made its first transfer of player abroad, Bulgaria and Romania also did so. Hungary started a year earlier. It was one and the same pattern everywhere: players, well into their 30-s , nearing retirement and no longer needed for the national teams were permitted to play abroad in small numbers. Panenka and Vesely were among the first transferred abroad after the brief ‘Prague Spring’ period in the late 1960s. The new opportunity perhaps boosted the moral of aging stars, who found new reason to keep top form, but the problem was that they and not yet the younger generations shaped Czechoslovakian football.

At the lower level – no sign of change. Sklo Union (Teplice) and Spartak (Hradec Kralove) won the two groups of the Czech Second Division.

Sklo Union had no rival in their group, leaving the next team 7 points behind and seemingly ready to return to to flight. But they lost the play-off against Spartak 1-1 and 0-1.

Spartak (Hradec Kralove) were Czechoslovakian champions once upon a time – 20 years ago. After that they declined and spent most of the 1970s in the second division. Perhaps they were coming back?

The Slovak Second division had a bit of variety – DAC Dunajska Streda, unheard of previously club won one of the groups and painfully moving up and down Tatran (Presov) was the other group winner.

Well done by DAC, but that was all. Tatran won the promotional play-off. However, this team should be taken into account for the future: they failed this time, but the 1980s were their glory years.

As for Tatran, it was painfully familiar success. It was difficult even to count how many times they were promoted only to be relegated again. A typical ‘unsettled’ club – too strong for the second division, yet, too weak for the first. None of the promoted was expected to shake the top league – they would be lucky to escape relegation next year.

The unlucky ones, going down were not a surprise – two of small fry, which were clearly below the rest of the league in 1979-80.

Skoda (Plzen) finished last with 19 points.

Jednota (Trencin) was 15th with 20 points. Dukla (Banska Bystrica) was safe at the 14th place with 26 points. Most of the league was fairly equal and hardly exciting.

Ruda Hvezda (Cheb) was one of the ‘bulk’ – it could be said that they had a good year… finishing 12th with 28 points. Lucky to survive? Perhaps, but they were not that far away from the bronze medalists – 6 points difference. They deserve mentioning for another reason, though: the name. By now, such strongly ideological names were all but gone in Czechoslovakia – since the mid-1960s. Ruda Hvezda means Red Star were a strange remnant of the Stalinist 1950s. Eventually, they changed the name too.

Dukla (Prague) for some reason had a weak year and were out of the championship race, finishing 4th with 33 points. Without them, the top spots were open for those with relatively stronger squads. Bohemians (Prague) got the bronze medals – a success for the club, which ranked distant 4th among Prague’s clubs, playing at tiny stadium. The title was beyond their reach, however.

Zbrojovka (Brno) finished with silver medals, capitalizing on the weakness of others, particularly Dukla. These were strong years for the club, but they had no really great squad – after winning the title in 1978, they did not add new strong players. It was still the same team with the same limitations – 5-6 strong players and the rest were journeymen. Zbrojovka did not really fought for the title in 1979-80 – they ended 5 points behind the champions.

One horse race, then. The winners were one of the strongest Czechoslovakian teams in the 1970s – Banik (Ostrava).

It was easy sailing: 16 wins, 9 ties, 5 losses, 47-23 goal-difference, and 41 points – 5 points more than Zbrojovka. Banik was not troubled at all and won its 2nd title.

The champions were not a great team – to a point, their success came because of the decline or relative weakness of the competition. Vojacek and Knapp were the long-time stars and the goalkeeper Michalik was also now and then playing for the national team. Next to them were the rising stars, the next generation of national team regulars – Radimec, Licka, and Rygel. This group, in good form, was enough to make the difference in a league without any well-balanced team studded with stars. Objective circumstances helped indeed, but no reason to deny the success of Banik – this was the best period in the history of the club. Champions in 1976, Cup winners in 1979, second title in 1980 – and it was not over yet.

The Czechoslovakian Cup final opposed the Cup winners of Czechia and Slovakia – Sparta (Prague) and ZTS Kosice. Neither club was strong at the time – Sparta finished 10th and Kosice – 13th in the league. Both clubs were in a special moment: trying to restore their positions after some lean years. Both clubs ‘enjoyed’ second division not long ago.

Kosice, under slightly different name – VSS, instead of ZTS – was quite strong in the first half of the 1970s, but as a provincial club, they had no chance to maintain strong squad for long. Eventually, they suffered decline after 1975, failed behind their city rival Lokomotiva (Kosice), dropped to second division, and at the turn of the decade were just trying to re-establish themselves in the top league. The Cup final was a rare and chancy opportunity for some success. Alas, they lost the final 0-2.

Sparta won the Cup, which sounds normal, given the history of the club – one of the most successful and famous Czech clubs. But the familiarity with the name hides the truth: the 1970s were perhaps the lowest point in the long history of the club. They were even relegated to the second division. Ironically, the only trophy Sparta won was as a member of the second division – the Cup. Making history, however, for this was the only time a second division club won the Cup in the history of the country. They won promotion the same season, but so far they stayed in the lower half the league table, slowly trying to build a stronger team. Miroslav Starek, Josef Jarolim, and aging Jaroslav Pollak, ironically, the star player of Kosice during its good years, were the bone of not made yet team. Frantisek Straka was the promise for better days: already included in the national team. Sparta had enough classy players to overcome weaker ZTS Kosice and started the 1980s brightly: winning the Cup suggested a team rising. It was still uncertain affair, but at last Sparta had some good players and a chance to improve.


DDR The Cup

Dynamo (Berlin) was not taken for what it was yet – they won the titles, but not the cups. Nothing alarming or suggestive: they lost the Cup final in 1978-79 and did not reach it at all in 1979-80. It will be later, when it became clear that Dynamo were made dominant by every mean available to their omnipotent owner, the Stazi, the Cup became a sign of the corruption: Dynamo (Berlin) was unbeatable in the league, but the Cup format was not so easily organized: direct elimination was not so easily manipulated. Perhaps the Cup was not all that important, perhaps it was left to hide the ‘organized’ championships by pretended fairness. But all this belongs to future speculations. In 1979-80 Carl Zeiss and Rot-Weiss (Erfurt) reached the Cup final. Rot-weiss scored in the first half, Carl Zeiss managed to equalize 10 minutes before the end of the match, and finally prevailed with 2 more goals scored in the extra-time. 3-1 and the Cup went to Jena.

Rot-Weiss fought bravely, but inevitably lost. No strong players in their team, they were the underdog. By far. There were long gone years when Erfurt – under the name Turbine – was strong, the national title. The great years finished in 1955. Under the new name – Rot-Weiss – the club was small potato: constantly in the lower half of the table and relegated a few times. This year was no different – Rot-Weiss finished 12th, escaping relegation by 2 points. Nobody expected them to win the Cup final – objectively, they were too weak. Too bad they lost, though – it was rare success for the club: their first since they were champions in 1955. Their first under this name. And it was their second final – the first they lost in 1950, when they were called BSG KWU Erfurt. They lost their second final too…

Carl Zeiss were stronger – way stronger with their about 10 former, current, and future national team players – and won their 4th Cup and their first trophy since 1974. It was not an easy victory, but class prevailed in overtime. Traditionally, one of the strongest East German clubs, but something was not known yet – that this very team will be the strongest internationally squad of Carl Zeiss, achieving the biggest European success of the club.

One other thing was also unknown… that this cup will be the last trophy won by the club. So, let us take one more look at the boys.

DDR I Division

The chasm between second and first division was not the only one in East German football – by the end of the 1970s a second big separation settled down: the top league was clearly divided into two groups. Half the league just fought for survival and the other half was way stronger. Newcomers hardly lasted more than a single season. 1979-80 season only confirmed the trend.


BSG Chemie (Leipzig) – winning promotion in 1978-79 – finished last with 15 points. Nothing new… the same happened to them before: promoted in 1974-75 and relegated in 1975-76, for instance.

1.FC Union (Berlin) ended 13th with 16 points and were also relegated.

Union won promotion in 1975-76 – along with Hansa (Rostock) – and since then just fought for survival. Their best season was 1977-78 – 8th place. Inevitably, their stint in first division came to an end… they never improved. The relegation of the second clubs in Berlin and Leipzig meant there will be no derby – if the word is really applicable to East German football – in 1980-81.

The relegated were merely the bottom of the lower half of first division – East German football already settled into vast divisions: the lowly second division, much weaker than the first, then half the top league clearly not a match to the other half. It was marked division, staying stable to the end of DDR, with only few exceptions. First division was evenly divided – 6 points were the chasm between the upper and lower half.

BSG Sachsenring (Zwickau) ended at the top of lower half – 8th with 22 points.

HFC Chemie (Halle) was at the bottom of the strong upper half – 7th with 28 points. But there was one more division in the upper half – 5 teams were more or less equal, yet, far behind the top two. Nothing new and also a sub-division which was to stay. Effectively, East German football came to be dominated by one club, occasionally challenged. Anyhow, the good news in 1979-80 was the second promoted club in 1978-79:

Vorwaerts (Frankfurt/Oder) finished 5th. They were relegated in 1977-78 and came back with a vengeance after an year in the purgatory of second division. In decline since the beginning of the 1970s, the Army club seemingly was coming back – similar revival of Army clubs happened elsewhere in Estern Europe: Dukla (Prague), Honved (Budapest), rebuilt CSKA (Sofia) all came strong by the end of the decade. It looked like Vorwaerts were following the pattern, but a look at their squad did not promise much: there were no famous players there.

Carl Zeiss (Jena) finished with bronze medals.

Hinten v.l.

Helmut Stein(Co-Trainer) – Jürgen Raab – Dietmar Sengewald – Gerhard Hoppe – Hans Meyer(Trainer) – Rüdiger Schnuphase – Ulrich Oevermann – Jörg Burow – Dr.Johannes Roth(Mannschaftsarzt)

Mitte v.l.

Peter Rock(Mannschaftsleiter) – Lothar Kurbjuweit – Konrad Weise – Hans-Ulrich Grapenthin – Detlef Zimmer – Eberhard Vogel – Lutz Lindemann – Dieter Freund(Masseur)

Vorn v.l.

Dr.Manfred Dressel(Co-Trainer) – Andreas Krause – Matthias Kaiser – Dieter Noack – Thomas Töpfer – Gert Brauer – Martin Trocha – Paul Dern(Co-Trainer)

Well done, but… Carl Zeiss had not been title contender since 1974-75. The squad was still one of the best in DDR, the most the boys were able of was to finish on top of the bulk of the stronger half of the league with 32 points. This record left them 10 points behind from those fighting for the title.

And they did fight, the best two. Unlike the previous season, which was one-team show, this year there was real race. Real to a point…

Dynamo (Dresden) lost the title by a single points. The previous year they were also second, but 7 points behind the champions – now they really raced. Strong team, the most consistent club in the decade was showing signs of crisis. Unfortunately – and yet not a common knowledge – Dynamo had no chance of winning no matter what team they had. Was it fair championship or not matters little: Dynamo lacked both scoring and defensive power, compared to the champions.

Second consecutive title for Dynamo (Berlin).

It was not so confident victory as the year before, but Dynamo (Berlin) proved that will stay on top – no one time wonder these boys. Of course, many national team players and pretty much the new generation, pushing aside the heroes of 1974. Younger and less tired team than Dynamo (Dresden), Magdeburg, and Carl Zeiss, to be sure, but were Terletzki, Lauck, Netz, Noack, Rudwaleit, Trieloff, Ernst, Troppa much better than the stars of the other three strong clubs? It is hard to confirm or deny – it was not evident yet that Dynamo (Berlin) will dominate East German almost to the fall of the Berlin wall. It was not clear yet that Stazi will make them unbeatable, with a grip so strong that the top players of the country will play for Dynamo and referees will help them, and back-room orders will diminish whatever opposition existed. For the moment, their title was optimistic and refreshing: a new strong club added to the usual three and no chancy winners either: two consecutive titles meant Dynamo was going to stay, that the East German football will be more competitive than before. So it looked… and it was entirely wrong.