Flashback From Leipzig – Zentralstadion In Disrepair


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At the time of its completion in 1956, the mammoth ZENTRALSTADION at the SPORTFORUM LEIPZIG was the largest in all of Europe. The “central stadium” and adjoining facilities served as not only ‘home’ ground for the official football team of the Deutsche Demokratische Republik but also operated as an epicenter for other disciplines in the East German national sports program, such as track and field, as well. After the symbolic fall of the Berlin Wall in November of 1989 and the subsequent reunification of Germany in the following year, the enormous athletic complex in Leipzig had fallen into a depolorable state of disrepair by the late 1990s.
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The photos for the following exhibition are courtesy this curiousity-filled Canadian blogger and his brother, Matthias, who were visiting German relatives in Leipzig back in 2000 and stumbled across the massive Zentralstadion complex; the rest of that interesting story can be found at the following web address — http://wandel.ca/homepage/zentralstadion/index.html
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The photos of the Zentralstadion presented here, which were snapped by the curious Canadian blogger pictured climbing the stairs and his ‘partner in crime’, are said to have been taken in the year 2000, a full decade after the complete disappearance of the old Deutsche Demokratische Republik.
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The enclosed Press / VIP box that communist state-controlled writers and important government bureaucrats shared alike to watch the national football team of the D.D.R. compete in front of overflow crowds in excess of 100,000 spectators for significant athletic triumph and the greater glory of the German Democratic Republic, in general.
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The East German national team played 48 international matches at the imposing Zentralstadion in Leipzig, incluing three Olympic qualification games. The very first Laenderspiel ever staged at the Zentralstadion involved the Deutsche Demokratische Republik and visiting Wales in a FIFA World Cup qualification match that drew an official crowd of 100,000 although some sources claim another eight thousand people or so were present on May 19, 1957. The East Germans came from behind to win that historic contest 2-1 on goals from Guenther Wirth of FC Vorwaerts Berlin as well as Willy Troeger of SC Wismut Karl Marx Stadt and would continue to have Leipzig host most of the nation’s important football matches from there on out.
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EAST GERMANY attendance at ZENTRALSTADION
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110,000 … 10/27/1957 …… vs Czechoslovakia
105,000 … 05/23/1965 …… vs Hungary
100,000 … 05/19/1957 …… vs Wales
100,000 … 05/09/1971 …… vs Yugoslavia
100,000 … 05/29/1974 …… vs England

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95,000 … 10/21/1965 …… Austria
95,000 … 09/26/1973 …… Romania
95,000 … 08/28/1977 …… Soviet Union
95,000 … 10/12/1977 ……. Austria
92,000 … 11/29/1979 ……. Holland
90,000 … 08/12/1959 …… Czechoslovakia
90,000 … 06/02/1963 …… England
90,000 … 07/24/1969 …… Soviet Union

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85,000 … 10/10/1981 ……. Poland
80,000 … 05/31/1964 …… Soviet Union
78,000 … 09/11/1985 ……. France
75,000 … 03/30/1983 …… Belgium
71,000 … 07/28/1987 ……. Hungary
70,000 … 08/17/1960 ……. Soviet Union
70,000 … 05/14/1961 ……. Holland
70,000 … 07/26/1983 ……. Soviet Union

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EAST GERMANY record at ZENTRALSTADION
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48 matches … 22 wins, 14 draws, 12 losses … 75-57 goals for/against

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Perhaps foreshadowing what was in store for both the massive football stadium in Leipzig as well as the Deutsche Demokratische Republik, itself, the East German national team would only win just one more time in its last nine games ever contested at the Zentralstadion following a 1-0 victory over soon-to-be FIFA World Cup champion Italy in the spring of 1982. Although the 2-0 defeat of reigning UEFA European Championships titlist France in a World Cup qualifier in September of 1985 was noteworthy, the other results were not so positive. Furthermore, East Germany scored exactly one goal in its last five games at the Zentralstadion in Leipzig after that last triumph over the French.

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2 responses to “Flashback From Leipzig – Zentralstadion In Disrepair

  1. richard jones

    Great photos. I was at the ‘new’ Zentral Stadium for the recent Lok/Red Bull derby game. Well proportioned stadium built inside the original Zentral-bowl. Spectators climb the steps up to the rim of the old zentral and then down steps on to ramps which lead into the ‘new’.
    A very special stadium.

    • LOOSE CANNON

      Derby matches are always the best! … The new RED BULL ARENA — a little new stadium built literally right inside of the big old stadium — is really one of a kind, is it not? … I have a post up here at this blog (“Leipzig’s Red Bull Arena”, June 5, 2012) with a great overhead shot of the new facility.