European Cup Historical Perspectives

With some of the empty seats easily recognizable in the background, youthful West Germany international star midfielder ULI HOENESS of Bayern Munich seeks to dribble away from his Dynamo Dresden shadow EDUARD GEYER (4), the 29-year-old veteran who was later serving as the national team trainer of East Germany when the Berlin Wall symbolically fell in the fall of 1989, during the historic first leg of the European Cup of Champions tie at Munich’s Olympiastadion in late October of 1973.

Strange by contemporary standards in Bavaria nowadays, but a crowd of ‘only’ 50,000 had shown up for the first leg at the Olympiastadion in Munich to witness the very first all-Deutschland duel between West German titlist BAYERN MUNICH and visiting East German champion DYNAMO DRESDEN in the second round of Europe’s premier football competition — this a full 30,000 shy of the total that had turned out to see the Olympic battle between the Bundesrepublik Deutschland and the Deutsche Demokratische Republik in the very same stadium at the 1972 Munich Summer Games just thirteen months earlier.

It should be remembered that, at this point in time of the club history, Bayern Munich had still ‘only’ won three domestic crowns in the Bundesliga and had never lifted the prestigous European Cup. As a matter of fact, local supporters of cross-town rivals TSV 1860 Munich took full advantage of ticket availability as well as great delight in singing along to the “Dynamo” song with the one thousand visitors from the D.D.R. (all of whom had first successfully passed a strict government screening procedure in order to obtain the necessary permission) at the Olympiastadion. Sometimes, in the highly-competitive world of professional football, there is just no place for political ideology and/or nationalistic loyalty.

It is also interesting to recall that the passionate, football-loving people of Dresden were, at that time, not free to descend en masse on the city of Munich and swallow up any remaining match tickets, as is certain what would have happened had ordinary citizens of that East German city the simple freedom to travel outside their country to the West; as it was, the 1,000 Dynamo supporters who did appear at the Olympiastadion for the match with Bayern Munich had all been part of a detailed and elaborate plan code named “Aktion Vorstoss” (Action Raid) implemented by the German Democratic Republic’s Ministry for State Security.

Selling out the second leg of this landmark European Cup tie a couple of weeks later behind the Iron Curtain was never going to be anything even remotely resembling a problem, but that would be another story.


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