Das Stadion An Dresden


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November 7, 1973 — the former RUDOLF HARBIG STADION, the venerable site now officially known at this point in time as the Dynamo Stadion, and its distinctive “Giraffen Flutlichter” in the city of Dresden played host to the historical second leg of the famous European Cup fixture featuring Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich from the Federal Republic of Germany and Oberligameister Dynamo Dresden of the German Democratic Republic.
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The “Giraffe Floodlights”, so nicknamed for their impact upon the local skyline, first arrived on the scene at the still-named Rudolf Harbig Stadion in early September of 1969 for a match between Dyanmo Dresden and a D.D.R. national select side after having been built that summer by the PGH Elektrobau Dresden. Design credit for the lighting system at a sports facility with no roof was given to Manfred Mortensen with the assistance of architect Guenter Schoeneberg and engineer Friedrich Schmidt. The four steel towers, which altogether weighed 60.5 tons, each stood 62 Meters high while leaning at the angle of 20 degrees and originally produced a brightness of 570 Lux, which easily exceeded Union of European Football Association requirements of the 450 Lux minimum needed to host night matches.
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This particular ground in Saxony had been the site of athletic events starting in the late 19th century before the ILGENKAMPFBAHN, financed by successful pharmaceutical businessman Hermann Ilgen, was constructed and first opened in May of 1923 with a capacity for 24,000 spectators. Although the cultural center was nicknamed “Elbflorenz” (Florence of the Elbe), Dresden was just one of many cities in Adolf Hitler’s Nazi Germany which suffered severe damage from Allied bombing during the thorough and complete tragedy which was the Second World War. The Ilgenkampfbahn was largely destroyed and remained that way in the Soviet zone of occupied Germany for roughly six years after the war ended.
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March 6, 1951 — two socialist workers of the German Democratic Republic repair the stands at the largely-destroyed Ilgenkampfbahn football stadium in the city of Dresden. Six months on in late September of that year, the facility was officially re-opened as the Rudolf Harbig Stadion in honor of the Dresden native who was, perhaps, most recognized for his world record in the 800 meters at Milan in 1939. Harbig, who also established world records in the 400 and 1,000 meters and is the only track and field athlete in history to ever hold these three marks at one time, was later drafted into the paratroopers and rose to the rank of sergeant before being killed in action on March 5, 1944, near Kirovograd in the Ukraine.
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One particular facet of the history of football during the time of the former East Germany was that things were prone to change radically without warning. Clubs changed names often and, occasionally, were ordered off to another city altogether; as this blog has already noted, the entire first team of Dynamo Dresden had been abruptly re-assigned to Dynamo Berlin in January of 1955. In the summer of 1971, it was decided by the political leadership in the D.D.R. that, upon further reflection, the biography of Sergeant Rudolf Harbig did not pass Socialist/Marxist ideological muster so the facility was officially re-named the DYNAMO STADION and was properly designated as such until the disappearance of the German Democratic Republic once and for all in 1990.
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The old Giraffen Flutlichter at the Rudolf Harbig Stadion in Dresden are, like the former Dynamo stars such as HANS-JUERGEN KREISCHE, HANS-JUERGEN DOERNER, TORSTEN GUETSCHOW, ULF KIRSTEN and MATTHIAS SAMMER just to name a few, no longer to be found at the football field in this particular east German region of Saxony today.
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Construction was begun in late December of 2007 to bring the Rudolf Harbig Stadion up to speed with more modern amenities, most notably covering for the spectators. Two years later the work was finally completed, but not before the facility had been chosen by FIFA as one of the venues for the 2011 Women’s World Cup final tournament to be hosted by Germany. In December of 2010, the naming rights to the stadium were sold to GLUECKGAS, a Bavarian energy company.

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