German Football At The Olympics : D.D.R. Overhauls Attack


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West Germany midfielder BERND CULLMANN (8) of 1.FC Koeln and defender BERTI VOGTS (2) of Borussia Moenchengladbach can do nothing as East Germany forward JUERGEN SPARWASSER (14) of FC Magdeburg is about to strike for the only goal of the game in the 77th minute of the historic and memorable match at the Volksparkstadion in Hamburg during the 1974 FIFA World Cup final tournament.
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Heading forth into the football competition of the 1976 Summer Olympic Games in Montreal, East German football had been suffering from something of a monster, two-year hangover ever since JUERGEN SPARWASSER scored the most famous goal in the history of the Deutsche Demokratische Republik at the Volksparkstadion in Hamburg.

In a cruel twist of football fate, the D.D.R.’s first round, upset victory over the eventual 1974 World Cup titlist from the Bundesrepublik Deutschland only ‘won’ the East Germans the honor of encountering mighty Brazil, the reigning World Cup champion, the skillful side of the Netherlands, beaten Finalsts at both the 1974 and 1978 FIFA World Cups, as well as Argentina, the would-be winners of the 1978 World Cup, in the second round whereas the West Germans, in direct contrast, drew the far-less-demanding schedule of Poland, Sweden and Yugoslavia in the other group.

Things deteriorated rapidly from there on out as East Germany opened its 1976 UEFA European Championships qualifying campaign with a shock 1-1 stalemate with the genuine amateurs of Iceland at home in Magdeburg in October of 1974. Following two more ties with France and Belgium, respectively, the East Germans actually lost 2-1 in Reykjavik and were left completely embarrassed in early June of 1975. Consecutive victories against the French and the Belgian group leaders ensued, but it was too little, too late as the D.D.R. were eliminated by a single point in the standings.

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JOACHIM STREICH, who starred for FC Hansa Rostock until a transfer in the summer of 1975, scored six goals in seven contests to lead co-bronze medalist East Germany at the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich and is easily the all-time leading scorer in the history of the Deutsche Demokratische Republik having shot 53 goals in 98 ‘full’ international matches.
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D.D.R. national team trainer GEORG BUSCHNER had already been using the Olympic qualification programme as an opportunity to prepare for the future even before the Reykjavik debacle. 21-year-old striker HANS-JUERGEN RIEDIGER of Dynamo Berlin started every Olympic qualifier save one and tied for tops on the D.D.R. Olympische Auswahl with two goals, as well. Although, obviously, someone had to make way.

The 28-year-old Sparwasser, who finished tied for fourth in the Oberliga with 13 goals for the 1975-76 domestic campaign, was deployed by East Germany but once in the Olympic qualifiers. His club teammate who also counted a baker’s dozen strikes for FC Magdeburg during the 75/76 season, lethal 25-year-old JOACHIM STREICH, sat out the last three qualifiers. The tandem of Sparwasser and Streich — far and away the all-time leading scorer in the history of the East German national team — had combined to record eleven goals, exactly half the team total, for the co-bronze medalists at the Munich Summer Games in 1972.

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20-year-old HANS-JUERGEN RIEDIEGER of FC Dynamo Berlin, who made his senior international debut against Bulgaria in late March of 1976 and went on to collect 39 caps and score six goals for the Deutsche Demokratsiche Republik, broke out and scored 18 goals to finish third on the Oberliga scoring chart for the 1975-76 season.
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The two veteran FC Magdeburg attackers would be left off the 17-strong East Germany Olympic squad traveling to Montreal in the summer of 1976, however. Highly-experienced EBERHARD VOGEL, the second-leading scorer in the Oberliga with 19 goals on the 75/76 season for FC Carl Zeiss Jena, was another who did not make the final cut. The 33-year-old winger, second on the all-time chart with 24 goals in ‘full’ internationals for the D.D.R., had started four of the six Olympic qualifiers and netted twice in the two opening round matches opposite Greece.

There was no place for the 1976 Oberliga Torjaegermeister who grabbed 24 goals over the course of the 26-game Oberliga season for domestic champion Dynamo Dresden, either. HANS-JUERGEN KREISCHE, the soon-to-be 29-year-old veteran of the 1972 Olympics and 1974 World Cup, was the third-highest scorer ever for the D.D.R. having totaled 22 goals on his 46 ‘full’ international appearances. Kreische’s days in the national team were actually done but two of his Oberliga colleagues in Dresden did find a place, if surprisingly, on the final Olympic team.

As it was, the one and only attacker to appear for East Germany at the Montreal Games who had been a member of the 1974 World Cup squad was 21-year-old MARTIN HOFFMANN of FC Magdeburg.

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East Germany forward MARTIN HOFFMANN of FC Magdeburg, who recorded 62 caps and 15 goals for the senior national side of the D.D.R. over the course of his, heads the ball down past Chile goalkeeper LEOPOLDO VALLEJOS of Club Union Espanola to open the scoring in the 55th minute of the first round, Group 1 match at the Olympiastadion in West Berlin during the 1974 FIFA World Cup final tournament in West Germany.
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Buschner elected to bring to Canada a pair of inexperienced wingers who had scored six and seven goals, respectively, for title-winning Dynamo Dresden during the 75/76 Oberliga season. GERT HEIDLER, who only won his first full cap at the age of 27 against Czechoslovakia in November of 1975, started the last four qualifiers and would feature three times in the Startelf for the D.D.R. at the Summer Olympics. 28-year-old DIETER RIEDEL, who would be chosen a grand total of four times throughout his entire career by the senior national team of East Germany, did not play at all in the Olympic qualifiers.

Three more Dynamo Dresden players would also figure prominently for the East Germans at the Montreal Games. 24-year-old REINHARD HAEFNER, who had been a reserve at the Munich Olympics in 1972 and had not been chosen at all by Buschner for the 1974 World Cup roster, had now assumed a regular place and would ultimately earn a respectable 54 caps for the D.D.R. in his career. The versatile 20-year-old GERD WEBER, who turned out at left back for the Saxon club in the Oberliga, and 21-year-old HARTMUT SCHADE were two other newcomers from the reigning domestic champions in the middle of the park for East Germany.

Haeffner, Hoffmann and Schade would all step up to score huge goals for the Deutsche Demokratische Republik at the 1976 Summer Olympic Games in Montreal as the matter would unfold.

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DIETER RIEDEL of SG Dynamo Dresden was already 26 when first capped by the senior national team of East Germany for the international friendly match against Czechoslovakia at the former Rudolf Harbig Stadion in Dresden in late March of 1974 and would make but one substitute appearance opposite Brazil in the D.D.R.’s scoreless 1976 Olympic opener at Varsity Stadium in Toronto.

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