Eintracht Frankfurt goal-scorer RONALD BORCHERS (left), who was capped six times in his career by West Germany, looks to cross the ball in as 1.FC Kaiserslautern captain HANS-GUENTER NEUES observes midfielder FRIEDHELM FUNKEL arriving to defend during the 1981 West German Cup Final in front of 71,000 spectators at the Neckarstadion in Stuttgart. (Jorg Schmitt/DPA)
In what had to be a propaganda disaster for the Deutsche Demokratische Republik, a former East German player was always guaranteed to be on the winning side going into the Final of the 1981 DFB Pokal at the Neckarstadion in the Bundesrepublik city of Stuttgart.
After all, each contestant boasted at least one defector from the communist DDR on its books for the decisive match of the annual knockout competition in West Germany and, thus, history would be made regardless of the result.
Eintracht Frankfurt, the defending UEFA Cup champions, fielded the former Chemie Halle pair of versatile midfielder NORBERT NACHTWEIH as well as goalkeeper JUERGEN PAHL — both had bolted the Iron Curtain roughly four and a half years earlier while in Turkey with the East Germany U-21 international team.
Nachtweih, equally adept at attacking or defending, was well on his way to a second consecutive season of seven goals and 30-plus appearances for die Adler in the Bundesliga; the 23-year-old all-arounder scored 10 goals from 42 games in all competitions for Eintracht Frankfurt that year.
After a long wait since first joining the club, Pahl finally established himself as the Eagles first choice by playing 32 of Eintracht Frankfurt’s 47 fixtures for the 1980-81 campaign.
Interestingly enough, neither Nachtweih nor Pahl featured for visiting West German side Eintracht Frankfurt for the UEFA Cup first round, first leg match opposite Ukranian side SHAKHTAR DONETSK in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics on September 17, 1980.
Meanwhile, in the squad for 1.FC Kaiserslautern was for East Germany international midfielder LUTZ EIGENDORF, who was in his first full Bundesliga season after sitting out the FIFA-mandated year-long suspension following his defection in March of 1979.
Eigendorf, who had been dubbed the Beckenbauer of the East before his defection from Stasi-sponsored Dynamo Berlin, struggled with both fitness and form during the 1980-81 schedule and only appeared in 19 of 34 Bundesliga games for 1.FC Kaiserslautern while scoring three goals.
The 24-year-old, who had played all four of Kaiserslautern’s games in the UEFA Cup that fall, made only four appearances, all in the Bundesliga, after the Winterpause; entering the 1981 DFB Pokal Finale against Eintracht Frankfurt at the beginning of May, Eigendorf had not been in the first team since the end of March.
Fully informed of Eigendorf’s progress in West Germany, Stasi chief ERICH MIELKE must have been pleased.
1981 DFB POKAL FINALE
Neckarstadion — Stuttgart
Zuschauer — 71,000
3 – Eintracht Frankfurt ——— Neuberger 38′, Borchers 40′, Cha 64′
1 – 1.FC Kaiserslautern ———– Geye 90′
EINTRACHT FRANKFURT : Pahl ; Pezzey, Sziedat, Koerbel, Neuberger, Lorant, Borchers, Nachtweih, Nickel, Hoelzenbein, Cha
1.FC KAISERSLAUTERN : Hellstrom ; Wolf, Dusek, Melzer, Briegel, Neues, Geye, Funkel, Wendt, Bongartz, Hofeditz