USSR the Cup

The Cup final opposed Torpedo (Moscow) to Dnepr (Dnepropetrovsk). Torpedo reached the final for a second consecutive year – they lost the final the first time, so… they were eager to correct that. Dnepr, however, was stronger team than Metallist (Kharkov), the previous year winners. The final was not a great match, not even memorable – hot weather was blamed for the economical, if not outright sluggish tactical display on the pitch. Both teams depended on counter-attacks, and the similar approach naturally reduced greatly the entertaining value of the game – much more so than the heat. Thus, the most interesting part of the final were the scandals: Dnepr complained just before the start of the game that Torpedo was fielding ineligible player. They were right… kind of. The right full back Solovev had 2 yellow cards so far and by the rules he had to miss the game. Torpedo argued that, yes, Solovev had 2 yellows, 1 playing for the first team and one for the B team, but he already served his suspension, missing a B team match. The refereeing body had different interpretation of the rules – he had to miss first team game, B teams do not count. Why cards got at B team games counted, but serving suspension must be only with the first team nobody was able to figure out – Solovev had to be replaced with another player and the foggy rule discussed later. Torpedo delivered its own low punch after the game: they contested the result. In the 42nd minute Yury Savichev scored equalizer and the referee immediately signaled that it was a goal. Then he consulted the linesman and with the same categorical gesture dismissed the goal. The match inspector in his report gave the referees the lowest mark and the rest was endless debates about what happened – was it legitimate goal or not, was it some big, but innocent refereeing mistake, or something more sinister, and so on. More dirty laundry was uncovered, when it became known that the rules looked a bit twisted – the referee for the final had to be chosen from a pool of referees, but at the time of choosing they earned suspensions and what was left was only this one – well, an easy choice to make when there is only one candidate. But it is not an easy matter to annul a Cup final – Torpedo’s contest was eventually dismissed.
The final itself was largely a discussion of the new Torpedo kit – they played with unusual green jerseys, to the great displeasure of their fans insisting on traditional white and black. Even colours became a negative factor – in white (Dnepr played in white at the final) players appear bigger. This green… it made Torpedo smaller, that’s why they lost. As a whole, Torpedo looked better organized and more dangerous (Dnepr was missing injured players and its play was nervous and not well coordinated), but was unable to score a few chances. On the other hand, Dnepr had one chance and did not miss it – if it was a real chance, for their attack was not much and Torpedo’s defense looked like taking the upper hand and the ball was cleared. But it was cleared to the foot of Shokh, still far away from the net, outside penalty area, and he made a great kick, and the ball ended in the net. It was a great surprise to a big part because Shokh did not train with Dnepr for a week, going to his mother’s funeral, and it was taken for granted that he was not ready for the game neither physically, nor mentally. This more or less lucky goal proved to be the only goal scored legally and Dnepr won.
Anton Shokh, captain and goalscorer of Dnepr, received the Cup. No wonder he does not look happy and is not smiling, practically arriving to play the final from his mother’s funeral.
Torpedo (Moscow) lost second final in a row. There were some good players in the squad – the Savichev brothers, for instance – and the team had solid season, but after the last whistle in the final fans murmured that their Torpedo is dead. They proved prophetic…
Dnepr (Dnepropetrovsk) won its first Cup right after winning their second title. Crouching from left: A. Sidelnikov, I. Vishnevsky, A. Cherednik, A. Yudin, V. Bagmut, N. Kudritzky, E. Shakhov, E. Son, V. Lyuty, V. Chebanov – masseur. Standing: V. Gorodov, V. Tishtenko, A. Chervony, R. Konafotzky – administrator, N. Filippovsky – team chief, E. Kucherevsky – coach, S. Krakovsky, L. Koltun – assistant coach, A. Shokh, E. Yarovenko, N. Chernysh – doctor, N. Cherny – doctor.
After the final Anton Shokh said that Dnepr’s secret was the close friendship between the players. Although most players came from other clubs, they were not young and insecure players and that was perhaps why the relations in the team were so good – they had common goal to unite them and on that base no unhealthy rivalries emerged. Shokh gave as an example the friendly relations between the goalkeepers – Gorodov and Krakovsky – who, despite the fact, that Krakovsky took the place previously taken by Gorodov helped each other without ill feelings. Perhaps there was more to it, for Shokh was friends with Son and Yarovenko from their years together with Kairat (Alma-ata) – and in the case of Yarovenko, friends since childhood, but in any case relations in the team were good. The coach was highly respected too, which helped particularly when the team had to improvise because of injured players – three defenders at the final were moved back midfielders. Bagmut in particular with time was moved from one position to another – from striker to midfielder and from midfield – to right full back. Perhaps good relations existed because of the chance Dnepr provided to second-rate – or underrated – players like Shokh, Son, Sorokalet (a staple of the team, who missed most of this season because of heavy injury), Yarovenko, and others , to achieve some success at last, when it was also clear that no big club would be interested in them. And since there were no great stars in the team, equality kept them well cemented together. Meantime Dnepr was considered the only Soviet club organized as a real professional club should be (or imagined to be), meaning there were no problems with money (although other clubs often paid more) and players were well taken care of. All said, the great period of Dnepr ended at this time – nobody knew or expected that, but the Cup was the last trophy Dnepr won.

USSR I Division

First Division. Let say this season was transitional – the effort of transforming Soviet football into properly professional sport was a combination of inventions, experiments, wrong decisions, and resistance to change. On one hand transfers of players to foreign clubs accelerated, immediately creating a problem with replacing departing stars. On the other hand were the clubs still run the old way even when selling players abroad – the transfers were not even handled buy the clubs, but by special body of the Federation. Anyhow, the season was dominated by 2 teams and was marked by experiment in democracy, producing drastically different results – the champion and the outsider. Nationalism was rising and after the season ended Georgian teams left the Soviet championship, soon followed by others – the next season started with 14 teams and finished with 13, so this one was the last full and regular championship of USSR.
Zenit (Leningrad) was the outsider this season – last with 19 points. Various problems, boiled down to conflict between players and coach, led to the relegation of the 1984 champions. Who was right and who was wrong… most players did not want Sadyrin to coach them. Some were loyal to the coach. Pavel Sadyrin sanctioned key players, who lacked discipline and motivation, the players thought he was unfair. The scandal ended with the team voting the coach out. The direct democracy did not bring anything good – the best players also left (Dmitriev joined Sadyrin in CSKA, Salenko went to Dinamo Kiev, etc), those who were accused and punished by Sadyrin (goalkeeper Biryukov, for example) stayed. Under new, theoretically acceptable to the players coach, Zenit sunk. The democratic experiment failed miserably – and only fueled debates over democracy as such: it was destroying sports. Yet, the same approach won the championship… go figure.
Lokomotiv (Moscow) finished 15th with 23 points and was also relegated. A bit unfortunate – they ended bellow Shakhter because of less wins. Their relegation was not a surprise, unlike the grand failure of Zenit – Lokomotiv was traditional candidate for relegation. The squad, although having some strong players (Gorlukovich, champion with Dinamo Minsk some time ago, for instance), was generally weak and what was worse, it depended often on players coming from the bigger Moscow clubs – when their original clubs needed them, those players did not hesitate to leave Lokomotiv (as goalkeeper Cherchesov did before the season).The interesting thing about Lokomoiv was their coach – Yury Semin. He went down with the club and stayed, so next season he faced another rapidly rising coach, Gazzaev, in the Second Division and both climbed up with their teams to become the new face of post-Soviet Russian football. Sometimes the road to fame and success goes down, it seems.
Shakther (Donetzk) finishead also with 23 points, but rules were on their side – in case of equal points, the tiebreak was more wins. Thanks to that, Shakhter finished ahead of Lokomotiv and escaped relegation at 14th place. Top row from left: Vladimir Yurchenko, Oleg Serdyuk, Vassily Evseev, Sergey Shterbakov. Middle row: Valery Goshkoderya, Yury Gulyaev, Aleksandr Rolevich, A. Konkov – coach, V. Malyshev – assistant coach, Sergey Svistun, Aleksey Kobozev, Evgeny Drachunov. Sitting: Sergey Shipovsky, Sergey Podpaly, Igor Petrov, Viktor Grachev, Igor Leonov, Sergey Yashtenko, Aleksandr Sopko, Mikhail Mikhaylov.
Pamir (Dushanbe) – 13th with 24 points. The debutantes achieved what usually a newcomer achieves: managed to survive and were not relegated right away. Late in the season they became the first club using foreign players in the First Division, although it was mostly a novelty (2 of the 3 imported Zambians played 3 games each and were dismissed). Top row from left: A. Yuldashev, A. Azimov, ?, V. Ermolaev. Middle row: T. Akbiev, H. Fuzaylov, I. Omelchenko, V. Manasyan, A. Manannikov. Front: A. Gertner, R. Rakhimov, D. Kamaletdinov, A. Volovodenko.
Ararat (Erevan) – 12th with 24 points.

Dinamo (Tbilisi) – 11th with 25 points. They were in decline, but it did not matter much, for this was their last season in the USSR championship.
Rotor (Volgograd) – 10th with 27 points. Apparently, adjusting well to top league football. Second row from left: Sergey Kuznetzov, Aleksandr Nikitin, Aleksey Bolshakov, Valery Kleymenov, Anatoly Koval – assistant coach, Andrey Fedorovsky, A. Sevidov – coach, Aleksandr Khomutetzky, Sergey Sergeev, Oleg Krushin. Front: Yury Kalitvintzev, Oleg Stogov, Sergey Khudorozhikov, O. Sizov, S. Polstyanov, R. Manassipov.
Dinamo (Minsk) – 9th with 29 points. Top row from left: S. Shiroky, D. Klyuyko, E. Yakhinovich, S. Gomonov, S. Gerasimetz, V. Demidov, A. Metlitzky, A. Zygmantovich, S. Pavlyuchuk, P. Rodnenok. Middle row: E. Kuznetzov – assistant coach, A. Gorbylev – assistant coach, M. Vergeenko – assistant coach, Yu. Kurbyko, M. Markhel, L. Garay – team chief, E. Malofeev – coach, I. Shtekin – assistant coach, M. Tzeytin – assistant coach, A. Shalimo, V. Dmitrakov – doctor, A. Satzunkevich, A. Chernukho – masseur, L. Vassilevsky – administrator. Front row: E. Kashentzev, S. Gotzmanov, Yu. Antonovich, A. Timoshenko, I. Gurinovich, S. Aleynikov, V. Sokol, G. Lesun.
Dinamo (Moscow) – 8th with 30 points. Top row from left: I. Bulanov, A. Borodyuk, S. Silkin, I. Dobrovolsky, I. Sklyarov, S. Dmitriev, S. Neyman, A. Smirnov, S. Derkach. Middle row: D. Kharin, A. Yardoshvili – doctor, N. Tolstykh – team chief, S. Altman – assistant coach, A. Byshovetz – coach, N. Gontar – assistant coach, A. Gassov – masseur, A. Uvarov, R. Sabitov. Sitting: V. Dolgopolov, B. Pozdnyakov, V. Lossev, I. Kolyvanov, V. Karataev, A. Eremenko, E. Smertin, A. Chernyshev, A. Kobelev.
This squad should have been a title contender… but it was not.
Metallist (Kharkov) – 7th with 30 points. From left: A. Kanishtev, I. Yakubovsky, V. Shterbak, R. Kolokolov, A. Essipov, Ya. Lantzfer, Yu. Tarassov, S. Ralyuchenko, A. Ivanov, V. Simakovich, V. Suslo.
Chernomoretz (Odessa) – 6th with 31 points.
Torpedo (Moscow) – 5th with 35 points.
Zalgiris (Vilnius) – 4th with 36 points. Perhaps at their peak, but for them the end of playing in the USSR league was approaching. Unlike Dinamo (Tbilisi), they started the next season, but left the championship after a few games.
Dinamo (Kiev) – 3rd with 38 points. Not one of their best seasons for sure. It was considered that Dinamo was demoralized quite early, when Spartak (Moscow) practically destroyed them 4-1, but the factors for their dropping out of the race for the title were more complex. On one hand, Dinamo lost a number of key stars exported to the West. Others aged. Dinamo still provided the bulk of the Soviet national team, which meant that the team had much more games to play than any other team in the league, fighting on various fronts. Lobanovsky did not always all of his best due to injuries too. And it was more difficult to recruit top talent from other clubs now – Lobanovsky was on the losing side competing with foreign clubs, some players did not want to work with him, because of his heavy-handed methods, and on top of everything players now had the opportunity to negotiate better pay with other clubs and were not particularly interested in playing for winning club, but in better paying club. Still, Lobanovsky got new talent, but the players were still too young to play key roles (Luzhny, Onopko, Nikiforov, Yuran, Salenko, Kanchelskis will be big stars during the 1990s, but before the start of 1989 season they collectively had 58 games played, 47 of which belonged to Salenko, playing for Zenit). Dinamo still had enough top players for a good run, but it was also very clear that the days of Belanov, Mikhaylichenko, Protassov, Litovchenko, Ratz, Kuznetzov are numbered – they surely were going to play abroad, and very soon. In the same time Bessonov and Demyanenko were not only getting old, but were plagued with injuries. It was difficult time for Dinamo and not winning was not surprising.
Dnepr (Dnepropetrovsk) finished 2nd with 42 points. The champions of 1988 were running strong, they tried to win again, but eventually lost the battle. Standing from left: Kulish, Gerashtenko, Sidelnikov, Lyuty, Gorodov, Shokh, Puchkov, Yarovenko. Sitting: Tishtenko, Yudin, Son, Bagmut, Kudritzky, Cherednik, Chervony, Shakhov, Sorokalet.
Dnepr, although often criticized for their physical and not very attractive play, were mostly praised – they were considered the only club which managed to successfully transform into proper professional club and thus achieving success. A great example to follow. May be so, but there was something else – Dnepr had team generally of second-rate players, often recruited not from Ukraine, but from far away. That helped them keeping solid and competitive team for years – bigger clubs did not find anybody particularly stronger than the players they had and were not interested in luring Dnepr players, so the core of the squad remain the same. This stability and familiarity helped them staying on top. With time, there was also growing feeling in the club that its best players were unjustly ignored by the national team – but that was mostly injured local pride.
Champions! Crouching: A. Hadzhi – administrator, E. Kuznetzov, F. Cherenkov, G. Morozov, V. Shmarov, A. Mostovoy, I. Shalimov, A. Prudnikov. Standing: Zhilyaev – assistant coach, S. Cherchessov, B. Pozdnyakov, O. Romantzev – coach, S. Bazulev, Yu. Vasilkov – doctor, S. Rodionov, V. Pasulko, V. Zernov – assistant coach, G. Belenkin – masseur, A. Ivanov, Yu. Susloparov, V. Kulkov
Spartak (Moscow) won the championship with 44 points from 17 wins, 10 ties, and only 3 lost games. 49-19 goal-difference. Not a big advantage over Dnepr – just 2 points – but Spartak excited fotball obeservers and was called a ‘phenomenon’. That, because direct democracy was applied and produced excellent result. It was the same case as Zenit – players elected their coach. Zenit failed in that, Spartak prospered… All came from the knowledge that long time and highly respected coach Konstantin Beskov was stepping down – it became known well in advance and not just the club, but the players had plenty of time to think the next step. The players came to the decision they want to chose who will coach them, the club, willingly or not, agreed and presented two options. The players voted for Oleg Romantzev – they knew him well, for he captained them for years. He knew them well too, for he played with most with them. Their was mutual respect. Even more important was that he started well his coaching career, choosing to get experience in lower leagues, where it was easier to implement new ideas and methods. The players liked that as well. Romantzev was not only well known to them, but his modern methods were in sink with the ideas the players had about modern football. Of course, players voting who will coach appeared frivolous and highly dangerous, it looked as a road to self-indulgency and lazy passing of time, but the results were quite the opposite. Romantzev faced severe problem immediately – top stars left to play abroad: Rinat Dassaev moved to Spain and soon Aleksandr Bubnov went to France. There was no enough time to find new big names and Spartak in any case had difficulty getting stars from elsewhere for years, so Romantzev addressed the looming problem in unusual way – that depends on point of view: it was unusual, but also typical for Spartak, recalling the approach of Beskov a decade earlier, when he built a team of nobodies and won the title right after climbing back from Second Division. Romantzev himself was part of that team. Now he did pretty much the same – calling some former Spartak players and inviting lower league talent. The newcomers were mostly former Spartak players – Morozov, Bazulev, Prudnikov, Boris Kuznetzov, Sochnov, Pozdnyakov, Crechessov. None of them was what one could call top-class player and their return was met with skepticism – after all, what players failing develop further earlier, could do better now? But they were familiar to the rest of the team and to the coach, their limits and qualities were well known, relationships between coach and players were friendly and some had desire to prove themselves: after all, it was desire to play forcing goalkeepers Cherchessov and Prudnikov to leave Spartak, because with Dassaev in the team they were doomed to keep reserve’s bench warm. Now Dassaev was gone and they had a chance – competing between themselves, unfortunately, but no scandal formed (Cherchessov won the regular position, Prudnikov appeared only twice and left again after the end of the season). Romantzev did not have the best team, but he managed with what was available, mindful not to criticize heavily his players and particularly the team captain Fedor Cherenkov. Spartak won the title one round before the last, extracting 2-1 victory at home over Dinamo (Kiev), after losing 0-1 at halftime.
Sitting from left: Gennady Norozov, Aleksandr Bubnov (he went to play abroad at half-season), Fedor Cherenkov, Viktor Pasulko, Valery Shmarov, Igor Povalyaev.
Middle: Aleksandr Prudnikov, Gennady Belenkin – masseur, Oleg Romantzev – coach, Nikolay Starostin – team chief, Fedor Novikov – assistant coach, Viktor Zernov – coach of the B team, Aleksandr Hadzhi – administrator, Stanislav Cherchessov.
Top row: Vassily Kulkov, Boris Pozdnyakov, Yury Susloparov, Andrey Ivanov, Aleksandr Boky, Sergey Rodionov, Evgeny Kuznetzov, Sergey Novikov, Oleg Kuzhlev.
Missing: Sergey Bazulev, Aleksandr Mostovoy, Igor Shalimov, Boris Kuznetzov, Vladimir Kapustin, Sergey Gradilenko, D. Popov.
Well, Spartak won its 12th title and also democracy not just lost this year, but also won – and its victory was called ‘a phenomenon’.

USSR II Division

Second Division. 22 teams, the top 2 promoted to First Division and the last 3 relegated to Third Division. Two teams dominated the championship and there were also 2 outsiders. As a whole, the championship brought familiar and long lasting criticism. Only the winners were praised – and for good reason. The turbulent reality of USSR left its stamp, partly in football terms, partly in political terms.
SKA Karpaty (Lvov) was the absolutely hopeless outsider this season – last and relegated with 17 points. Top row from left: Saulevich, V. Yurchishin, Zhuravchik, S. Yurchishin, Kuleshevich, Bandura, Batich. Middle row: Kvasnikov, Tishtenko, Kulchitzky, Rossikhin, Potochyak, Pshik. Front: Gula, Laba, Derkach, Vassilitckik, Farkovetz, Leskiv.
If one reads Ukrainian, the opening would be a big surprise: ‘The reborn football team Karpaty’. How come a team so weak and relegated is praised? The photo must be from the end of 1989, very likely after the championship already ended and the reason for praise is nationalistic – the city of Lvov had 2 clubs ten years ago: Karpaty and SKA. Karpaty was the beloved home club with which local Ukrainians identified. SKA was Army club and because of that seen if not entirely Russian, at least representing Soviet power, which deprived Ukrainians from their own state. The amalgamation of the two clubs about 10 years earlier was disliked by local population – the idea may have been more sporting, than political, to create one solid and strong club at time when Karpaty was rapidly losing ground, but was seen mostly in political terms by the fans. Lvov was quite a cradle of Ukrainian nationalism, sometimes expressed at football games and getting stronger and more openly expressed at the 1980s progressed, so the amalgamation of the two local clubs may be aimed at suppressing it, but the likelier result was the opposite. SKA Karpaty failed to achieve its original aim and instead of going up, eventually went down, reaching the shameful point of relegation. And with that the hated club was finished, SKA was separated and Karpaty reborn. Hence, the triumphal tone – big hopes for great future… in Third Division.
Daugava (Riga) was the other outsider – much better than SKA Karpaty, but worse than anybody else. 21st with 26 points and relegated.
SKA (Rostov) was 20th with 32 points. They tried to survive, but eventually lost the race and were relegated. It was not all that long ago when SKA won the Soviet Cup and in general they were a club associated with First Division, but times were changing – even at home. Now the other club of Rostov, Rostselmash, was ascending and SKA – descending. It was quite a reverse – traditionally, SKA was the prime football representative of the city, and the club belonging to and named after to industrial plant for agricultural machinery, which was a pariah just a few years ago, not even a proper local rival, played in Third Division. Now the picture was changing and eventually was entirely reversed.
Kuban (Krasnodar) – 19th with 34 points. Like SKA, they had better days in the past and now were in crisis, but at least they managed to escape relegation.
Dinamo (Batumi) – 18th with 35 points. The Georgian club was mostly happy to maintain a place in Second Division, but this was their last season in Soviet football.
Spartak (Ordzhonikidze) – 17th with 35 points. Survival was on their minds this season, rather small aim. Their fate will change soon, pretty much as soon as their home city restored its original name Vladikavkaz. The most interesting figure in the 1989 squad was the coach – Gazziev was on his way to become one of the most successful coaches in the post-Soviet Russia.
Shinnik (Yaroslavl) – 16th with 36 points. Weak season for the league oldtimers. Yet, they avoided relegation. Front row from left: E. Kotrussov – administrator, S. Novosselov, D. Popov, Yu. Rodionov, E. Martyanov, A. Tzenin, E. Bushmanov, B. Pomazov, V. Gavrikov – masseur. Standing: V. Petrov – team chief, A. Nikolaev, B. Gravrilov – coach, Kalashnikov, R. Bilyaletdinov, I. Makarov, M. Morozov, V. Bodrov, M. Chesnokov, A. Tyutikov, S. Nikitin, V. Sotnikov, A. Kolesnikov, V. Chistyakov – doctor, V. Frolov – assistant coach.
Kuzbass (Kemerovo) – 15th with 36 points.
Rostselmash (Rostov) – 14th with 38 points. Perhaps this season was the turning point – SKA not just finished bellow their ‘lesser’ neighbours, but was relegated and Rostselmash practically became the leading club in Rostov. As it happened, there was no turning back.
Torpedo (Kutaisi) – 13th with 41 points.
Pakhtakor (Tashkent) – 12th with 43 points.
Geolog (Tyumen) – 11th with 43 points.
Nistru (Kishinev) – 10th with 43 points. Top row from left: Pivtzov, Tropanetz, Vassilyev, Rolevich, Fink, Savelyev, Slavinsky. Middle row: Chistov, Kapatzina, Goyan – administrator, Soltan – team chief, Aleskerov – coach, Tzinkler – assistant coach, Losenko – doctor, Flentya, Botnerash. Front row: Savchenko, Shulaev, Kuzhetzov, Protzenko, Safronenko, Syrbu, Pavlov, Sirotyuk.
Kotaik (Abovyan) – 9th with 44 points.

Neftchi (Baku) – 8th with 46 points.
Metalurg (Zaporozhye) – 7th with 46 points.
Tavria (Simferopol) – 6th with 48 points.
Fakel (Voronezh) – 5th with 49 points.
Dinamo (Stavropol) – 4th with 50 points.
Kairat (Alma-ata) – 3rd with 55 points.
Guria (Lanchkhuti) – 2nd with 63 points. Promoted for second time, but… there was no second season in the USSR First Division for them. On the surface, it was lovely Cinderella story – small club from small town reached the top league for a second time and may be would even stay in it longer than a single season. Highly admirable success. Bellow that… something different. It was a bit strange that in time of general decline of Georgian football,which lost its attractiveness, did not produce new great talent in some years and Dinamo (Tbilisi) lost not only its leading position in Soviet football, but dropped down to insignificance, some small Georgian clubs were going up: Dinamo (Batumi) moree or less establish itself in the Second Division, Dinamo (Sukhumi) won promotion to the Second Division, and Guria – to First Division. In time of general decline, there were going to be 2 Georgian teams in the top league and 3 in Second Division – at the time of its peak, Georgia was hardly able to make two teams – after Dinamo (Tbilisi) concentrated the best, there were barely enough good players left for Torpedo (Kutaisi) to keep a place in the Second Division. Now both traditional Georgian teams were quite weak, but smaller clubs were going up – the secret was money. There was money in Georgia and flamboyant Georgians were ready to spend for some local glory. Means were secondary to glory… so, players were lured from elsewhere, even from higher leagues, to play for solid salaries. Bribes were made… for instance, Guria, at home, beat CSKA (Moscow), but it was obvious to those who saw the game that the game was ‘doctored’. The referee was blamed and bribes were not mentioned, but complains of bad refereeing in games involving Guria were made before and usually the team benefited from that. As a team Guria had little chance to survive in the top league, unless recruiting more good players, which had to be from outside Georgia because of the lack of local talent. All that for the next season… which never came, for Georgian clubs left the Soviet championship.
CSKA (Moscow) won the Second Division championship with 64 points from 27 wins, 10 ties, and 5 lost games. 113-28 goal-difference. Top row from left: S. Kolotovkin, O. Malyukov, V. Broshin, I. Korneev, M. Kolesnikov, V. Tatarchuk, V. Shashenok -doctor.
Middle row: V. Murashko – team chief, I. Posokh – masseur, D. Bystrov, S. Krutov, D. Kuznetzov, P. Sadyrin – coach, S. Fokin, D. Galyamin, V. Kardivar – administrator, A. Kuznetzov – assistant coach, B. Kopeykin – assistant coach.
Front row: D. Gradilenko, V. Yanushevsky, M. Eremin, Yu. Shishkin, V. Massalitin, S. Dmitriev.
Special attention was paid to this team and for good reason. Winners always attract analytical attention and based on their current success very often great future was predicted, not always fulfilled. This time, however, predictions proved right, if not prophetic. The first optimistic sign was not that much their Second Division title, but the way it was done, the new approach and the implementation of it. True, CSKA prevailed over Guria by only 1 point, but it was high above the rest of the league and unlike Guria, their success was blameless. They set an all-time record of both First and Second divisions in scoring – nobody before scored 113 goals in single season. In the same time, it was not just reckless attacking football, based on outscoring any opposition – CSKA also had the best defensive record this season, allowing only 28 goals in their own net. The second-best in both categories were distant seconds – Guria scored 78 goals, and Fakel received 36. There was a sense that the long and painful decline of CSKA finally came to end and their new coach – Pavel Sadyrin – had full credit for that, plus some change of philosophy in the club, now more adjusted, or at least trying to adjust to the rapidly changing reality. Sadyrin won the Soviet title a few years back with Zenit (Leningrad), so he had strong reputation already. However, he left Zenit before the 1989 under scandalous circumstances – the players he made champions did not want him as a coach, there were mutual accusations and finally he was voted out of Zenit by the players. That was CSKA’s great luck… Sadyrin was not going right away to CSKA, but rather to work abroad, yet, CSKA’a administration managed to convince him to coach their team. It was challenging and taxing prospect, perhaps not even possible if the CSKA did not articulate changes in their outdated philosophy and, more importantly, implemented them. The decline of CSKA, started in the 1970s, was mostly due to changing realities in football – the center of the game moved from Moscow to Kiev and some other provincial clubs dared to challenge the big clubs from the capital as well – it was a matter of money. It was a well known secret that players are paid and very often even run-of-the-mill Second Division clubs were paying better than CSKA – even when football became somewhat professional in the 1980s and salaries became known, the difference was that smaller clubs were able to give 6 to 10 times larger premiums than CSKA (salaries were more or less equal and relatively small, the real money players got were the premiums). CSKA fell behind the times, for they used their traditional approach: as an Army team, they could take any player under the pretext of his fulfilling the obligatory military service, but could him longer than the fixed service time only by making him an officer – and paying him according to rank. With time, this approach became ineffective – players and their original clubs hated the heavy-handed grabbing used by the Army and found ways to avoid it. Money was the other big reason for players trying to avoid CSKA – it may have been prestigious and well-paid job to be an Army officer, but no more – now other clubs paid much more, one did not have to play for practically nothing, if a mere soldier, or to wait years for promotion to higher rank, which cannot be very high anyway. And new generations of players preferred freer life than Army life, however relaxed. Thus, CSKA gradually became unable to recruit strong players and even less of building and maintaining strong team. Instead, they had rag-tag squads, formed from whoever they were able to enlist for military service – made of players mostly killing time until their service was finished and departing immediately for better life elsewhere. No wonder CSKA suffered greatly during the 1980s and sunk to Second Division. Sadyrin found such a team when he arrived – players mostly thinking where is best for them to play, ready to leave CSKA as soon as possible. True, the CSKA brass announced a change of philosophy – the club would no longer take players just because they had to serve in the Army, but only players who wished to play for CSKA – that is, a change from recruitment without consent to recruitment with player’s consent. This was a big change, but it involved future players, not the current ones. Different way of paying them perhaps was also invented, but it was never made public – no matter what it was, CSKA was going through transition to professionalism. And that were the arguments convincing Sadyrin to take charge of CSKA. His early days were mostly talking to players, trying to convince them there was something to put an effort for. He succeeded – no player left the club and the new recruits, although not numerous, were of players eager to play for CSKA – Sergey Dmitriev arrived mostly to be with his coach, for he was champion with Zenit under Sadyrin and against the kicking out of the coach. The Zenit’s scandal made him leave the club – and join the new club of Sadyrin. V. Yanushevsky was also USSR champion – with Dinamo (Minsk). Both were solid and experienced recruits, with significant authority too. O. Sergeev arived from up and coming Rotor (Volgograd) and finally V. Minko from Dinamo (Barnaul). Not top rate players, but solid, reliable and ambitious – that was strong addition to the already existing team, which did not lose a single regular. The team believed in Sadyrin and was more than willing to follow his methods, which were rather tough in training, but were also modern – CSKA, for instance, used 3-men defense this season,which was the current modern tactic – the players were willing to be under Sadyrin, because he was modern coach, not someone using outdated methods and tactics. So, rather quickly CSKA was transformed into solid and even exciting team. Sadyrin’s work was so good that even various misfortunes did not affect the triumphal road to victory – newcomers Dmitirev and Sergeev missed half-a-season each due to injuries, which depleted the striking line almost to nothing. True, Massalitin proved his scoring abilities and with 32 goals was the top scorer of the championship, but he never trained properly when younger, and his play has various shortcomings and defects. Yet, his scoring talent was well used, almost the solitary striker of the team, because of the injuries Dmitriev and Sergeev suffered. Perhaps the best part of Sadyrin’s work was finding common language with the captain of CSKA Tatarchuk, an old timer and perhaps the only player in the team with Army roots. Of course, he was more than just a good player – Tatarchuk won Olympic Gold with team USSR in 1988, but he was pretty much alone in the club for a long time and also somewhat represented the old Army spirit, which could have triggered a clash between leading player and coach – but Sadyrin found a way to deal with Tatarchuk, who craved some success with the club, obviously getting tired with indifferent teammates and meandering between First and Second Division. There was still some misunderstanding between Tatarchuk and the rest of the team, but that was playing misunderstanding now, not personal – a lot of Tatarchuk’s passes did not reach the intended teammate, largely because his adeas were not perceived by the receiver, but Sadyrin kept him on the field even when it was obvious that nothing comes out of Tatarchuk passing. Confidence was built and maintained that way and as a whole CSKA played attractive winning football, so the fans returned – good for moral as well. No wonder CSKA was seen as a bright prospect for the future, although it was clear that team needed more classy players to make impact in the top league – but Spartak (Moscow) of 10 years ago was recalled as an example: back then they started rebuilding under new, but respected coach, in the Second Division, won it with a team which looked like wanting reinforcement, and with the same team won the Soviet title the next year. May be CSKA will do the same?

USSR III Division And Lower Levels

USSR. Ranked 2nd. This was the last full, or ‘classic’, if you prefer, championship of USSR. Tensions were growing along with ‘perestroyka’ and ‘glasnost’, but nothing yet suggested collapse. In the realm of football, the central problem was the transition to real professionalism, which most obviously were represented by clashes between professional players and their clubs still run non-professionally. At the end of the season only Dnepr (Dnepropetrovsk) was judged really transformed club. The clashes were often expressed in terms of democratization, the twisted and painful battle for changes which noboidy really understood and translated sometimes widely into something more or less corresponding to their own wild imaginations. Thus, the end result of the battle for democracy produced strange results: the democratic election of coach by the players produced the champion this year, but also the last team in the league – there was hardly a coherent lesson or working formula by the application of the same democratic experiment. On another level, the first imported player in USSR appeared this season – the story is interesting trivia: the first imported foreigner was the Bulgarian defender Tenyo Minchev. He moved from Beroe (Stara Zagora) to Krylya Sovetov (Kyubishev), a Third Division club. The transfer recalled the first exports of both countries, USSR and Bulgaria, made roughly 10 years ago. The first Bulgarian transferred to the West was also aging player of Beroe – Petko Petkov, about 35 years old back then, went to Austria (Vienna). Tenyo Minchev, a teammate with Petkov back then, was now 35 years old. The first Soviet player to play abroad, Zinchenko, was playing for Second Division club – Dinamo (Leningrad) – when he was transferred to Rapid (Vienna). Both Soviet and Bulgarian first exports went to Austria. The first Soviet export and import involved lower league clubs. Both times they were purely football matters, involving political factors: ten years ago Austrian Socialists negotiated the Soviet ‘help’ and now the Communist Party local officials negotiated the transfer of Minchev – Stara Zagora and Kyubishev were ‘sister cities’, so their governing bodies frequently visited each other, the football clubs of the both cities visited each other too. As 10 years ago there was no official regulation for foreign transfers in the USSR, so now there was no such regulation for imports. May be that was why in both occasions low key Soviet clubs were involved – and in the Bulgarian case, a provincial club, and common for both countries – the first transfers were of old players, nearing retirement. Thus, the first imported player in the USSR appeared in Third Division, but in the second half of the season the first foreigners in the top league popped up: if the transfer of Minchev was negotiated at the end of 1988 and the player appeared at the start of 1989 season, the next foreigners came in October 1989 in the league debutante Pamir (Dushanbe) – 3 Zambians arrived: Derby Makinka (24 years old), Wisdom Chansa (25), and Person Mwanza (21), all members of the Zambian national team, so attracting the eye of their new employers in the 1988 Olympic games. Although leading Zambian players (Makinka amassed 98 games for the national team in his career), only Mwanza established himself in Pamir – the other two played 3 games each and were let go. Thus importation of players in USSR started. Meantime the export was increasing speed, placing new burdens on the transformation of football in the country – weakening of the teams and scandals. As the season progressed, tensions progressed as well and even FIFA was unable to provide clear guidance to increasing Soviet problems. But the complexity of situation is beyond the scope of this review, so back to football as it was.
Third Division – still divided in 9 Zones, which winners after the regular season competed for 3 promotions to Second Division. A glimpse of the vast lower levels of Soviet football:

Spartak (Archangelsk) – bronze medalist of the championship of their county this season. Most teams in the country, never heard of, played in such local championships and tournaments.

Novator (Archangelsk) – winner of the city championship of Archangelsk.
Here is another: the winners of the trade unions championship of Belarus – Belarus (Marini Gorki).
Slightly higher level: Sputnik (Minsk) won both the Cup and the Supercup of Belarus this season.

Obuvshtik (Lida) – champion of Belarus.

Similarly, Torpedo (Riga) won the Cup of Latvia.
RAF (Jelgava) won the championship of Latvia.
Gradually coming to third level…
Dinamo (Kirov) – posing here with the Lev Yashin Cup, which they just won. This was internal trophy for the teams of the vast Dinamo system – the big members of the system from Moscow, Kiev, Minsk, Tbilisi, did not compete in such tournaments and some were even quite independent, yet the system remained.
Gomselmash (Gomel) celebrated its 30th year in Third Division – they became better known abroad after Belarus became independent.

Arsenal (Tula) – another third level team, which, like Gomselmash, climbed up after the collapse of USSR.
Sokol (Saratov) – one more team coming out from obscurity after the collapse of USSR. Presently, no more than Third Division for them… Standing from left: V. Shpitalny, A. Nikonorov, E. Tumassyan, S. Bassov, A. Aslamov, A. Kochetkov, R. Monassipov, Yu. Vassilyev, A. Podgorodny, A. Kislyakov, I. Kurakin, A. Koreshkov, A. Silkin, G. Semenov. Sitting: V. Komarov, A. Pospelov, V. Plotnikov, V. Ponomarev, O. Pritula, A. Issaev, D. Maksimov, O. Terekhin, S. Ivanov.
Meliorator (Shimkent) – the far East hardly produced memorable team at any time, but this club was steady Third Division member.
Unlike Meliorator, Dinamo (Barnaul) won the championship of its Zone – the Far-East-Siberian Zone. And went to the semi-finals of the Third Division structure… whatever that means.
Better known from their Second Division seasons SKA (Odessa) remained in Third Division – they had it tougher than most third level clubs, for they played in the strong Ukrainian Zone.
Kolos (Nikopol) was in the same situation as SKA (Odessa).
Krivbass (Krivoy Rog), dressed in white, was also in the same situation as Kolos and SKA – return to Second Division was impossible, but they played a friendly against Ipswich Town this year and that most likely was the most memorable moment not just of 1989.
What mattered most was the promotion tournament, of course – 9 teams divided in 3 groups and the winners going up to Second Division. The happy winners became known before the final round was played, but the promotion phase was not without controversy.
Group A: Tzement (Novorossiysk) was considered favourite here, but they finished last. They were so apathetic at the last game, played at home, that the fans chanted ‘Mercenaries’, ‘Sell-outs’, and ‘Shame’ most of the time. What really happened is probably unpleasant story, but Tzement instead of first, finished last with 3 points from 4 games. Irtysh finished 2nd with 4 points and Lokomotiv (Gorky) – 1st with 5 points from 2 wins, 1 tie and 1 loss, 6-3 goal-difference. They won promotion before the last round, because they had superior goal-difference to the rest, Irtysh already played its last match then and Tzement had goal-difference so bad, that they needed a win with 4 goals difference to take top position.
Group C. Traktor ended last with 2 points. Neftyanik (Fergana) took 2nd place with 4 points and Dinamo (Sukhumi) won promotion with 6 points – 3 wins and 1 loss, 5-1 goal-difference. They won the tournament before the last round was played and were perhaps the most admired team at the promotion tournament. Of course, there is no good without some tint of bad – Dinamo was accused of too rough play.
Group B had the already mentioned Krylya Sovetov (Kuybishev) in it, so the team with the first foreign player in USSR was actually looking for promotion. At least, it looked that way, given the past of Krylya Sovetov – they were most famous team at the promotion stage, the only one which played in First Division and that for years. But the present was different…
Krylya Sovetov finished last with 2 points and without winning even one game (2 ties gave them points). So, even with foreign player, their huge crisis was unending. Standing from left: V. Antikhovich – coach, V. Gaus, V. Fillipov, V. Korolev, S. Marushko, N. Shtukin, V. Guba, A. Eremeev, M. Volodin, Tenyo Minchev, B. Valkov – assistant coach.
Front: R. Valiev, D. Sharipov, V. Tumaykin, A. Tzygankov, I. Lakutenko, S. Mikhnevich, ?.
Volyn (Lutzk) finished 2nd with 3 points.
Tekstilshtik (Tiraspol) confidently won promotion – 1st with 7 points. 3 wins, 1 tie, 0 losses, 7-2 goal-difference – the best record of all winners. Front row from left: Eduard Lemeşco, Igor Raicev, Vitalie Culibaba, Denis Lozinschi, Oleg Iavoriv, Andrei Stroenco.
Middle row: Iuri Hlâzov (administrator), Evgheni Şincarenco (antrenor), Victor Barâşev, Alexandr Camaldinov (antrenor), Serghei Stroenco, Ivan Grin, Ivan Mandrâcenco, Oleg Flentea, Veaceslav Proţenco, Ivan Danilianţ (antrenor principal), Mihail Iarmolinschi (şeful echipei).
Top row: Veaceslav Alexeev (medic), Nicolai Mandrâcenco, Alexandr Şicov, Vitalie Carmac, Alexandr Veriovchin (captain), Igor Artiomenco, Ghenadi Tiumin, Petru Sârbu.
Thus, the newly promoted team were Tekstilshtik (Tiraspol), Lokomotiv (Gorky), and Dinamo (Sukhumi). Only Dinamo (Sukhumi) played Second Division before. However… if one looks at Second Division in 1990, he will find only Lokomotiv (Gorky) in it. If searching deeper… the Moldovians were there too, but under new name, more in accord with their national belonging – they became Tiras (Tiraspol). Dinamo (Sukhumi) did not appear at all (and split into 2 clubs, depending on who wanted to play in which championship), for Georgia was going into separation from USSR and the football clubs left the USSR championship, soon followed by Baltic clubs.

West Germany the Cup

The Cup final opposed interesting contenders: Werder Bremen and Borussia Dortmund. Both teams won the trophy before, but each only once and that long time ago – Werder in 1961 and Borussia in 1965. For Borussia 1965 was the only successful year since the creation of the Bundesliga in 1963 – the club actually went through a long period of decline and reemerged only in the 1980s, but so far without winning anything. Werder, although not always strong, was also enjoying strong period after a decline and won the German title in 1988. Both teams craved success and Werder seemingly had better chance – but in the final Borussia destroyed them 4-1.
Borussia Dortmund triumphed. The winners – second row from left: Horst Koppel – coach, Norbert Dickel, Thomas Helmer, Michael Zorc, Konrad (?), Henke (?) – assistant coach, Bernd Storck, Thomas Kroth, Michael Rummenigge, Matthias Rulander. Crouching: Gunter Breitzke, Gunter Kutowski, Wiegand – masseur, Wolfgang de Beer, Andreas Moller, Frank Mill, Murdo MacLeod, Michael Lusch.
Werder failed… and they lost badly on top of it. The loss reveals how far one can go with limited squad – certainly Otto Rehhagel achieved a lot with a team of mostly second-raters, but such a team cannot run endlessly. Burgsmuller, Votava, Borowka, Ordenewitz were getting old and even at their prime were rarely called to the national team. Reck and Rollmann were not national team material. The Norwegian Bratseth, Riedle, and Eilts were the current brightest players and the two Germans were just climbing up and making themselves known. It was short base for continues success – limits are limits.
Frankly, Borussia Dortmund was expected to have a bigger impact on German football for some years and it was coming to the point that some victory was a must – either that, or decline… Luckily, Borussia did not miss the crucial moment and won. It was a great moment by all means: Borussia won its second Cup and it was the first trophy after 1965 – a long wait, which, until recently, was generally going down and spending years in Second Division. Restoring their name was slow and without some success… but it came at last and opened the door for greater times. As for the team, it was still promising, but similar to what Werder had, only hungrier. The triumph came under coach Horst Koppel, who apparently replaced Saftig either just before the start of the season, or during the season. Koppel, well remembered as a player, somewhat match his squad – once upon a time he was well respected and successful player, who played a bit for the national team, but he was never a prime star. Now he had similar players – Michael Rummenigge, Frank Mill, Murdo MacLeod, Wolfgang de Beer. And along them, young bright talent – Andreas Moller and Thomas Helmer. Not a team equal to Bayern’s squad, but similar to Werder’s, only slightly younger, a bit classier, and more hungry. The boys succeeded, but the team needed reinforcement in order of becoming a truly leading team. That for the future – presently, it was great joy.

West Germany I Division

First Division – Bundesliga. Still among the best leagues in Europe, although it is was not the most desirable league for major international stars. Reputation is reputation, but the reality was… Bayern. Other clubs came and went, Bayern remained dominant. Rather boring…

Hannover 96 – the outsider this season. Last with 19 points and once again relegated.

Stuttgarter Kickers – 17th with 26 points. Quite unlucky – they were entangled in a battle for survival with three other teams. All finished with 26 points, but St. Kickers had the worst goal-difference and was relegated.
Eintracht Frankfurt – escaped direct relegation on better goal-difference, but remained in risk of going down: 16th with 26 points and going to promotion/relegation play-off against the 3rd in the Second Division.
Eintracht managed to survive with difficulty – they prevailed over 1.FC Saarbrucken 2-0 and 1-2 and kept their top league place. Very weak season, though, and looking at the their team, such poor performance was surprising. But all ended well.
VfL Bochum clinched safety on better goal-difference: 15th with 26 points.
1.FC Nurnberg – 14th with 26 points and best goal-difference among the weak.
Bayer 05 Uerdingen – 13th with 31 points.
SV Waldhof Mannheim – 12th with 31 points.
Karlsruher SC – 11th with 32 points.

FC St. Pauli – 10th with 32 points. Arguably, the best ever season of the smaller Hamburg’s club.
1.FC Kaiserslautern – 9th with 33 points.

Bayer 04 Leverkusen – 8th with 34 points. Coached by Rinus Michels now and having large group of foreigners (Tita, Cha, Buncol, Lesniak), but no stronger than the previous season…
Borussia Dortmund – 7th with 37 points in the league, but that was memorable season for them.
Borussia Moenchengladbach – 6th with 38 points.
VfB Stuttgart – 5th with 39 points. Stuttgart had the squad for more, but…
Hamburger SV – 4th with 43 points. Looked like HSV made successful transition and was getting ready for new attack of the title – as soon as the next season. No trouble of selling Polish star Okonski – young Oliver Bierhoff was in the squad.
Werder Bremen – 3rd with 44 points. One has to credit Otto Rehhagel: he had good, but not exceptional team, so it was his coaching keeping them at the top of West German football.
1.FC Koln – 2nd with 45 points. Coming up, yet not ready to challenge Bayern – may be the next year. Christoph Daum was certainly making a name for himself, but the squad needed a few solid additions and fine tuning – Morten Olsen, Littbarski, Thomas Allofs and Kargus were getting dangerously old, so there was need to add younger players to a skeleton of Illgner, Kohler, Thomas Haasler, and Flemming Poulsen. And that if able to keep the talented skeleton, which was also difficult.
Bayern was dominant champion: 19 wins, 12 ties, only 3 lost games, 67-26 goal-difference and 50 points. There was no secret: money and solid organization, aimed always at winning. Jupp Heynckes was arguably the best young German coach and Bayern had no sentimental problems with hiring one of their foes in the past. The squad was superior to any other German team – may be not as great team as the one led by Beckenbauer in the 1970s, but it was not Bayern’s fault that German football was not producing players like Beckenbauer, Muller, Maier, Breitner, Hoeness anymore: they had the best available at the moment. The only problem this team had was a repetition of the one in the late 1970s: goalkeeping. Back then there was a shaky period after Sep Mayer retired, finally solved with the recruitment of Jean-Marie Pfaff. Now a replacement of Pfaff was needed urgently. And may be a classy playmaker. Both problems were more international than domestic – at home they could easily prevail over any rival, but for European success at least a better goalkeeper was a must. But that was for the transfer period in the post-season – presently Bayern was enjoying their 11th title.

West Germany II Division

Second Division – Bundesliga 2. Rather dramatic race for top positions in pretty much equal league. Last 4 – relegated, the top 2 – directly promoted, third-placed team going to promotion/relegation play-off against the 16th in the Bundesliga. Various strict requirements – largely financial ones – existed, so at the end one of the relegated team was actually going down because their license was revoked.
Union Solingen was the outsider this season – last with 20 points and relegated.
FSV Mainz 05 – 19th with 29 points and relegated.
Viktoria Aschaffenburg – 18th with 34 points. Quite unlucky – relegated on worse head-to-head record.
SpVgg Bayreuth – 17th with 34 points and ahead of Viktoria Aschaffenburg on better head-to-head record. Normally, they should have been relegated, but there was unexpected luck – Kickers Offenbach had their license revoked and Bayreuth remained in the league.
Rot-Weiss Essen – 16th with 35 points. Barely surviving now and their decline was not going to end.
Kickers Offenbach – 15th with 35 points. However, the club was in serious trouble and its license was revoked – and with that, they were relegated.
VfL Osnabruck – 14th with 34 points.
Hertha BSC – 13th with 36 points.
Schalke 04 – 12th with 36 points.

SV Darmstadt 98 – 11th with 37 points.
SV Meppen – 10th with 37 points
Eintracht Braunschweig – 9th with 38 points.
Blau-Weiss 90 West Berlin – 8th with 41 points.
Alemannia Aachen – 7th with 41 points.
SG Wattenscheid 09 – 6th with 42 points.

SC Freiburg – 5th with 42 points.
Fortuna Koln – 4th with 45 points. Tony Woodcock played for them, but his career was going downhill with aging.
1.FC Saarbrucken – clinched 3rd place with 46 points. Lost direct promotion by a point too, but still had a chance to go up at the promotion/relegation play-off. Unfortunately, it was not to be – they lost to Eintracht Frankfurt 0-2 and 2-1. One goal down… and no going up. As a trivia note, the first legally transferred Bulgarian was here – the former defender of Lokomotiv (Sofia) Nasko Zhelev (Jelev) arrived in January 1988, so technically he was in his second season, but the first full season. Of course, he was the first ever Bulgarian playing in Germany, but that was mostly before the Second World War. Stefan Abadzhiev, assistant coach of FC Homburg 09 at this time, played a little bit earlier, but he arrived too old for longer successful career and did not appear in the Bundesliga at all. However, he defected – Zhelev’s transfer was genuine and too bad Saarbrucken failed to get promoted – because of that, the first Bulgarian player in the Bundesliga debuted a few years later. And curiously, also from Lokomotiv (Sofia), where he was teammate with Zhelev.
FC Homburg – 2nd with 47 points. Clinched direct promotion and were going to try Bundesliga football one more time.
Fortuna Dusseldorf managed to win the championship with 49 points from 19 wins, 11 ties, and 8 losses. 85-52 goal-difference. Difficult victory, but a victory and promotion back to Bundesliga. Probably it is already noticeable that West German clubs imported largely Polish players at this time.

West Germany III Level

West Germany. Ranked 3rd. The most expensive transfer in the world was made by Eintracht (Frankfurt), selling Lajos Detari to Olympiakos (Piraeus). Records are records, German football was dominated by the familiar: Bayern. This country still used the classic 2-point-for-a-win system.
Four teams were going up from third level – the Oberliga regional leagues. Down there clubs with different histories played:
Clubs like SC08 Bamberg, which never played higher level football.
SV Asperden was also somewhere in the regional leagues. Standing from left: Peter Hermens, Dirk Wagner, Heinz-Gerd Giesen, Theo Joosten, Jürgen Krenkers, Andreas Wolf, Hansi Janßen, Heinz-Peter Bockhorn, Herbert Janssen, Linsen
Crouching: Gerd Coenen, Heiko v.d. Sandt, Michael Arts, Frank Maas, Reiner Singendonk, Berni Bodden, Ralf Billion, Jörg Nagorske, Leo Witting
front: Hubert Artz
Freiburger FC – the other and lesser known club from Freiburg. Second row from left: Arnold Brunner, Michael Hertwig, Thomas Schneider, Michael Fritz, Oliver Schäfer, Patrick Guillou,
Thomas Killenberger, Frank Wormuth, Trainer Werner Nickel.
Front roe: Michael Winkler, Matthias Bechthold, Peter Herrmann, Manuel Beron, Martin Ketterer, Uwe Herbstreit, Salvatore Perrone, Adolf Bachmann
Wacker 04 (West Berlin), which played a bit in the Second Division, but primarily played third level football.
Wormatia (Worms), which played mostly in the Second Division, but now was down on its luck. Top row from left: Liga-Obmann Manfred Brassen, Masseur Axel Brecht, Günter Braun, Stefan Mauer, Stefan Steinmetz, Michael Kaiser, Heinz-Jürgen Schlösser, Stefan Glaser
Middle row: Trainer Horst-Dieter Strich, Christian Waas, Jürgen Klotz, Mario Brassen, Rainer Schlösser, Horst Schellenschläger, Harald Nägle, Andreas Großmann, Platzwart Günter Reinhardt
Front: Marc Bals, Marc Schall, Jürgen Goschler, Thomas Frick, Günter Knecht, Jürgen Fischer, Frank Schuster, Frank Spölgen
1. SC Gottingen, which recently played in the Second Division, but went down.
TSV 1860 Munchen – perhaps the most famous name now out of the big picture. Top row from left: Armagan Sari, Joachim Goldstein, Rainer Aigner, Markus Wolf, Martin Spanring, Anton Schmidkunz, Bernd Jäger, Klaus Wabra, Jürgen Korus.
Middle row: Trainer Willi Bierofka, Masseur Hodrius, Andi Löbmann, Thomas Renner, Roland Kneißl, Stephan Beckenbauer, Srdjan Colakovic, Thomas Spindler, Co-Tainer Lutz.
Sitting: Herbert Brieger, Manfred Böhlert, Ralph Müller-Gesser, Daniel Sciopu, Markus Lach, Stephan Windsperger, Abdullah Kücükoglu, Gerhard Mastrodonato.
The important teams, however, were those earning promotion up and this season they were:
SpVgg Unterhaching – a big success for them, for they never played real professional football before.
Preussen Munster – returning to second division football.
KSV Hessen Kassel – like Preussen, returning to their more familiar Second Division.
MSV Duisburg, which unlike TSV 1860 Munchen, was recovering quickly from the disaster plunging them down to third level football. Top roe from left: Malischke, Vtic, R. Kessen, J. Kessen, Decker, Haremski, Kober, Lienen, Skripic, Janssen
Middle row: Co-Trainer Vos, Telljohann, Notthoff, Tönnies, Puszamszies, Struckmann, Rohr, Callea, Semlits, Trainer Pirsig
First row: Zeugwart Kasten und Ricken, Strunz, Vossnacke, Kellermann, Rusche, Böhlke, Zils, Canini, Masseur Hinkelmann (es fehlt Macherey)
As it was, only one newcomer to second level football – all others were simply returning.

Spain the Cup

The Spanish provided opportunity for a second trophy to Real Madrid. Real Valladolid was the other finalist, quite inferior to mighty Madrilenos, and although Valladolid put a brave fight, they still lost 0-1.
It would have been the underdog to surprise Real Madrid, but the difference of class worked against them. Still, it was not bad to play at the final – and because of that, to get a spot in the Cup Winners Cup. Standing from left: Albesa, Gonzalo, Peña, Enrique Moreno, Ravnic.  Crouching: Minguella, Patri, Branko Miljus, Lemos, Damián, Janko Jankovic.
Well, perhaps the foreigners spell out the difference between Valladolid and Madrid: good Yugoslavs, Ravnic, Miljus, and Yankovic, but even back home they were not first raters… certainly not equal to Butrageno, Sanchez, Schuster…
This was perhaps the finest season of Real Madrid in the 1980s – a double. 24th title, 16th Cup, but doubles were another matter in their record book: so far, they won only 3 doubles. This was their 4th – a complete triumph of wonderful team.
Real Madrid at its finest – standing from left: Buyo , Michel , Schuster , Esteban , Gallego , Tendillo.
First row: Butragueño , Solana , Hugo Sanchez, Sanchís, Martin Vazquez.
Dominating at home in Spain, highly entertaining, restoring some of the faded international glory of the club, but still demanding fans and observers considered the squad inferior to the greats of the 1950s and early 1960s – unfortunately, the measure of success was collecting the European Champions Cup and and so far this vintage failed to do so. Such expectations are very hard to fulfill.

Spain I Division

First Division – Primera Division. Real Madrid reigned supreme. Johann Cruyff -as his name was written in Spain at the time – made his second arrival in Barcelona well known, just like his first back in 1973, but he did not have the team he wanted yet. He was unable to challenge Real Madrid at its peak, but managed to Cup Winners Cup. No other team was able to come close to the leaders. At the other end of the table – Elche was hopeless outsider. Although not as bad as Elche, Murcia was very weak too. And in the promotion/relegation play-offs two more teams lost and were relegated.

Elche – last with 15 points and relegated.
Real Murcia – 19th with 24 points and relegated.
Real Betis – 18th with 29 points. Avoided direct relegation, but went down anyway, eliminated in the promotion/relegation playoffs by Tenerife.

What an ironic twist – Espanol played at the 1987-88 UEFA Cup final, but the new season was nasty battle for survival… 17th with 30 points. And it was lost battle at the end, for Espanol was beaten by Second Division Mallorca and thus relegated. From glory to misery in one year.
Malaga survived – 16th with 33 points.
Cadiz also survived – 15th with 33 points.
Logrones – 14th with 34 points.

Sporting Gijon – 13th with 35 points.

Real Oviedo – 12th with 35 points. Ahead of Gijon on better head-to-head record.
Real Sociedad – 11th with 36 points.

Osasuna – 10th with 37 points.

Sevilla – 9th with 38 points.
Celta Vigo – 8th with 39 points.
Athletic Bilbao – 7th with 42 points.

Real Valladolid – 6th with 43 points.
Real Zaragoza – 5th with 43 points. Nasko Sirakov was the first Bulgarian player in Spain, but unfortunately he got heavy injury and practically did not play.
Atletico Madrid – 4th with 46 points.
Valencia – 3rd with 49 points. Apparently, recovered from its slump, but was unable to compete for the title.
Barcelona – 2nd with 57 points. The presence of Cruijff was immediately felt, but he did not have the team he wanted yet and Barca finished distant second. Domestic season was compensated with international success, though.

This vintage of Real Madrid was its peak and triumphed after exceptionally strong season with 62 points – leaving Barcelona 5 points behind. 25 wins, 12 ties, and only one lost match – what a record. The boys scored 91 goals, permitting 37 in their own net – clearly, attacking high scoring football was their approach under the guidance of Dutch coach Leo Beenhaker. Unlike Cruijff, Beenhaker had the players able to do what he wanted, an already made highly talented and experienced squad, particularly lethal in attack. Life was good – 4th consecutive title, 24th altogether.