Ins And Outs Of Cold War Football

West Germany star midfielder ULI HOENESS (14), who netted a skillful goal for the Federal Republic’s side in the 3-2 loss to the German Democratic Republic at the 1972 Summer Olympic Games hosted by Munich, would play a pivotal role for Bundesliga champion Bayern Munich in the second leg of the historic European Cup tie with Oberliga titlist Dynamo Dresden at the Dynamo Stadion in the fall of 1973.

Union of European Football Association regulations expressly state that the visiting club in a sanctioned competition must arrive in the city in question the day before the match to be contested. Therefore, according to official Stasi reports, a crowd of curiousity-seekers from both sides of the Iron Curtain numbering about four hundred converged on the Dresden’s Hotel Newa in the Deutsche Demokratische Republik hoping to get a glimpse, if not an autograph or other souvenir from West Germany international stars such as sweeper FRANZ “der Kaiser” BECKENBAUER, striker GERD “der Bomber” MUELLER or, perhaps, goalkeeper SEPP MAIER the day before the second round, second leg clash between Bundesligkoenig BAYERN MUNICH and Oberligameister DYNAMO DRESDEN in the European Cup of Champions. All were left disappointed, however, as the expected Bayern team bus never did arrive in the city often referred to as the “Florence on the Elbe” until about 2:30 in the afternoon the next day, only a few hours before kickoff.

The truth was the Bayern team bus had stopped overnight in northern Bavaria on the fringe of the East German border before finishing the trip to Saxony for the second leg in the D.D.R. the next morning. The official explanation offered by Bayern, if rather flimsy at best, revolved around the difference in altitude. It was cited that the Alpine city in West Germany was 500 meters above sea level whereas Dresden was only 106 meters in comparison.

Years later, it was revealed that the real reason for the late arrival of Bayern Munich for the second leg with Dynamo Dresden was centered around suspicions of a more classic Cold War nature. A few years prior to the famous European Cup tie between Bayern and Dresden in 1973, highly-competent Western teams had experienced trouble with diarrhea and other sickness during a UEFA youth tournament staged in Leipzig. Two players who had been directly affected at that time were none other than Bayern Munich’s very own, by-now West Germany senior internationals PAUL BREITNER and ULI HOENESS; aside from the concerns about the food in Leipzig, there were further worries that hotel quarters and meeting rooms had been equipped with electronic listening devices.


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