German Football At The Olympics : The Last Cold War Qualifiers

The OLYMPIAAUSWAHL of the DEUTSCHER FUSSBALL VERBAND, more appropriately known as the senior national team of East Germany, line-up at the Ernst Thaelmann Stadion in Karl Marx Stadt ahead of the first leg of the Olympic elimination tie with the amateur national team of West Germany on September 16, 1963.

Left to right — capt Juergen NOELDNER (FC Vorwaerts Berlin), Juergen HEINSCH (Hansa Rostock), Heino KLEIMINGER (Hansa Rostock), Herbert PANKAU (Hansa Rostock), Klaus URBANCZYK (Chemie Halle), Otto FRAESSDORF (FC Vorwaerts Berlin), Hermann STOECKER (FC Magdeburg), Rainer NACHTIGALL (FC Vorwaerts Berlin), Werner UNGER (FC Vorwaerts Berlin), Kurt LIEBRECHT (BSG Lok Stendal), Konrad WAGNER (BSG Wismut Aue).

Despite the construction of the infamous Berlin Wall in August of 1961, the International Olympic Committee continued with its folly of a “Unified Team of Germany” at both the Winter and Summer Games so, in the fall of 1963, the Deutscher Fussball Bund and its arch-rival, the Deutscher Fussball Verband, once again staged a pair of Ausscheidungsspiele to determine whose football team would represent Deutschland in Tokyo, Japan, in the year to follow.

The West German government had actually banned all sporting contact between the B.R.D. and the D.D.R. within three days after the Berlin Wall went up. Still, in direct contrast with the notorious Geisterspiele Olympic qualification matches that were contested behind closed doors previously, both the D.F.B. and the D.F.V. decided to alter its police with respect to attendance. This time, the public were welcome in the stadiums hosting the games on both sides of the border between selections of the Bundesrepublik Deutschland and the Deutsche Demokratische Republik to the east.

Once again, however, as a result of the I.O.C. policy often referred to as “shamateurism”, the West Germans did not have access to the country’s best football players — whom all were to be found on the payrolls of clubs in the newly-created Bundesliga — whereas the East Germans were completely free to field whomever they saw fit.

This handicap had not prevented the D.F.B. selection from upending the D.F.V. Auswahl 4-1 on aggregate in the first-ever all-German Olympic encounter four years earlier. But that had been something of a political disaster for the East German government, who were by now extremely keen to use sport as a vehicle to advance its national legitimacy to speak nothing of political ideology. And so there was a concentrated effort to improve the football program as well as considerable pressure on the Hungarian trainer of the D.D.R. national team, KAROLY SOOS, to deliver positive results in the autumn of 1963.

Certain government bureaucrats and sports officials had to be relieved when goals from HEINO KLEIMINGER of Hansa Rostock, HERMANN STOECKER of FC Magdeburg and captain JUERGEN NOELDNER of army club FC Vorwaerts Berlin, who was compared favorably by some to legendary Hungary World Cup star FERENC “The Galloping Major” PUSKAS, saw to it that the D.F.V. did not fail at home again to the D.F.B. and enabled a comfortable 3-0 victory in front of 50,000 fans at the Ernst Thaelmann Stadion in Karl Marx Stadt (Chemnitz).

With such a mountain to climb, it is not so surprising that only a reported 15,000 spectators showed up one week later to watch the return leg at the Niedersachsenstadion (then able to hold of a capacity of 86,000) in Hannover. The West German amatuer squad of HELMUT SCHOEN, who was coaching in Saxony but became disenchanted with the government interference in football and decided to flee the D.D.R. in 1950, did put up a respectable fight anyway. A brace from DIETER ZETTELMAIER of 1.FC Bamberg bested the East German’s solitary goal from Stoecker to give the D.F.B. a 2-1 victory for the second elimination game.

Not enough, though, to prevent the D.F.V. Auswahl from winning by two clear goals as East Germany earned the right to represent “Equipe unifiee d’Allemagne” in formal qualifying for the football tournament at the the 1964 Summer Olympic Games in the Far East.


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