|Replaced by||2nd Bundesliga|
|Level on pyramid||Level 2|
|Relegation to||Bezirksliga (15 regional leagues)|
|Last champions||1. FC Union Berlin|
The DDR-Liga (English: GDR League or East German League) was, prior to German reunification in 1990, the second level of football competition in the DDR (Deutsche Demokratische Republik or German Democratic Republic, commonly East Germany), being roughly equivalent to the 2. Bundesliga in West Germany.
The league was established with two divisions of ten teams each in 1950 as the level of play below the DDR-Oberliga, and as such was the second tier of the East German football league system. It remained the second tier in various configurations throughout its existence until it was disbanded in 1991.
The champion of each division was directly promoted to the Oberliga. While not having geographical "tags" attached to the division, Staffel 1 was originally equivalent to a Northern Division while Staffel 2 was the Southern Division. The system was not static however, clubs were often moved between groups to balance out league numbers, and sometimes also for political reasons. In the same way, clubs were also moved between cities out of a variety of reasons.
In its second season, the divisions were expanded to twelve teams each, the year after to thirteen and in 1953 to fourteen.
The year 1954 saw the creation of a third group, Staffel 3, making geographical categorizing more difficult, but essentially One was north, Two was south and Three was central.
The league system changed completely in 1955. East Germany followed the example of the Soviet Union and switched to a calendar year system, resulting in a shortened autumn competition for 1955 only with a single division, fourteen-team format. From the 1956 season the league continued to operate as a single division format with the top two teams gaining promotion.
After the 1960 season, the league reverted to the traditional system of playing from autumn to spring. This meant that the 1961-62 season, as a transition season, went through three rounds and each of the fourteen clubs played 39 games.
The year after, the league returned to two divisions, North and South, still with fourteen clubs each and the winners gaining promotion.
In 1963, the two divisions were expanded to sixteen clubs each.
After a lengthy period without changes to the system, the DDR-Ligas were revamped in 1971 when their number was increased to five with eleven teams in the C and D group and twelve teams in the other three. The year after, all five divisions had twelve clubs. The new system meant that not all league winners could be directly promoted. Instead, the five champions played a promotion round with the top two teams gaining entry to the Oberliga.
To a large extent, the five new divisions represented the pre-1950 states of East Germany, Brandenburg, Mecklenburg, Saxony-Anhalt, Saxony and Thuringia, which were all re-formed with the German reunification in 1990.
Until 1976, reserve teams of Oberliga clubs were permitted in the DDR-Liga. They were then banned from entering the second tier in order to increase the appeal of the leagues as attendance for matches involving reserve teams in Germany never were particularly high. This also resulted in the promotion round now definitely being played by the league champions. Previously, when one of the five divisions was won by a reserve team, the best placed first team from the division was entered in the promotion round.
The year 1984 saw the DDR-Liga revert to a two-group system, now with eighteen clubs per division and direct promotion for the champions again. Also, reserve teams were re-admitted to the league but still barred from promotion to the Oberliga.
The 1989-90 season was the last under the old East German system; in the following season the league operated under the name of NOFV-Liga, meaning Nordostdeutscher Fussballverband-Liga (English:Northeast German FA League). The majority of clubs moved away from their, mostly communist, background and adopted new or pre-DDR names. In its final season, 1990–91, the league was under the authority of the DFB, the (West) German Football Association. Reduced to sixteen clubs per division and without reserve teams now, the clubs played for qualification in the united German football league system from 1991. With the exception of the bottom two teams in each league, all clubs went to the new NOFV-Oberligas, the new tier III leagues in what was East Germany and West Berlin.
The NOFV-Oberliga Nord, the equivalent of the DDR-Liga Staffel A, and the NOFV-Oberliga Süd, the former DDR-Liga Staffel B, are in a geographical sense the continuation of the old leagues, covering the same regions, albeit not on tier II level anymore, but as a tier V competition.
For the most part of the existence of the DDR-Liga, the leagues below it were the 15 Bezirksligas. Those were introduced in 1952. For a brief period from 1955 to 1963, the 2nd DDR-Liga formed the third tier of the East German pyramid. This league, consisting of five regional divisions, was abolished again in 1963 and the Bezirksligas became the level immediately below the DDR-Liga again. In its last season, the newly recreated states of former East Germany introduced their own regional leagues, with the exception of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania and Berlin. Those still exist today. The Bezirksligas however have mostly either disappeared, changed their name or exist in a different format.
The fifteen Bezirksligas were:
|Season||Staffel 1||Staffel 2|
|1950–51||Anker Wismar||Wismut Aue|
|1951–52||Empor Lauter||Motor Jena|
|1952–53||Fortschritt Meerane||Einheit Ost Leipzig|
|1953–54||Chemie Karl-Marx-Stadt||Vorwärts Berlin|
|Season||Staffel 1||Staffel 2||Staffel 3|
|1954–55||Lok Stendal||Fortschritt Weißenfels||Motor Dessau|
|1957||SC Dynamo Berlin|
|1961–62||SG Dynamo Dresden|
|Season||Staffel Nord||Staffel Süd|
|1962–63||Lok Stendal||Motor Steinach|
|1963–64||SC Neubrandenburg||SG Dynamo Dresden|
|1964–65||Chemie Halle||Turbine Erfurt|
|1965–66||1. FC Union Berlin||Wismut Gera|
|1966–67||1. FC Magdeburg||Rot-Weiß Erfurt|
|1967–68||BFC Dynamo||Stahl Riesa|
|1968-69||BSG Stahl Eisenhüttenstadt||SG Dynamo Dresden|
|1969–70||1. FC Union Berlin||1. FC Lokomotive Leipzig|
|1970–71||Vorwärts Stralsund||FC Karl-Marx-Stadt|
|Season||Staffel A||Staffel B||Staffel C||Staffel D||Staffel E|
|1971–72||TSG Wismar||BFC Dynamo II||Chemie Leipzig||Motor Werdau||Rot-Weiß Erfurt|
|1972–73||Vorwärts Stralsund||BFC Dynamo II *||Vorwärts Leipzig||Dynamo Dresden II *||Chemie Zeitz|
|1973–74||Vorwärts Stralsund||1. FC Union Berlin||Hallescher FC Chemie||Chemie Böhlen||Wismut Gera|
|1974–75||SG Dynamo Schwerin||1. FC Union Berlin||Chemie Leipzig||Energie Cottbus||Wismut Gera|
|1975–76||Hansa Rostock||1. FC Union Berlin||Hallescher FC Chemie II||Motor Werdau||FC Carl Zeiss Jena II|
|1976–77||Vorwärts Stralsund||Stahl Hennigsdorf||Chemie Leipzig||Chemie Böhlen||Wismut Gera|
|1977–78||Hansa Rostock||Vorwärts Neubrandenburg||Chemie Leipzig||Lok Dresden||Stahl Riesa|
|1978–79||TSG Bau Rostock||Vorwärts Frankfurt||Chemie Leipzig||Energie Cottbus||Motor Suhl|
|1979–80||Hansa Rostock||Dynamo Fürstenwalde||Chemie Böhlen||Energie Cottbus||Wismut Gera|
|1980–81||Schiffahrt/Hafen Rostock||1. FC Union Berlin||Chemie Schkopau||Energie Cottbus||Motor Suhl|
|1981–82||Vorwärts Stralsund||1. FC Union Berlin||Chemie Böhlen||Stahl Riesa||Motor Nordhausen|
|1982–83||Schiffahrt/Hafen Rostock||Stahl Brandenburg||Chemie Leipzig||Stahl Riesa||Wismut Gera|
|1983–84||Vorwärts Neubrandenburg||Stahl Brandenburg||Vorwärts Dessau||Sachsenring Zwickau||Motor Suhl|
|Season||Staffel A||Staffel B|
|1984–85||1. FC Union Berlin||Sachsenring Zwickau|
|1985–86||BFC Dynamo II *||Fortschritt Bischofswerda|
|1986–87||Hansa Rostock||Hallescher FC Chemie|
|1987–88||Energie Cottbus||Sachsenring Zwickau|
|1988–89||Stahl Eisenhüttenstadt||Fortschritt Bischofswerda|
|1989–90||FC Vorwärts Frankfurt||Chemie Böhlen|
|1990–91||1. FC Union Berlin||FSV Zwickau|
Source: "DDR-Liga". Das deutsche Fussball-Archiv. Retrieved 4 March 2008.
|DDR-Liga Staffel A||1985||1986||1987||1988||1989||1990||1991|
|FC Hansa Rostock||♦||♦||1||♦||♦||♦||♦|
|1. FC Union Berlin||1||♦||♦||♦||♦||2||1|
|Aktivist Schwarze Pumpe||9||11||B||12||5||5||7|
|Lok Altmark Stendal||16||18||8|
|Lok/Armaturen / Rot-Weiß Prenzlau||12||13||17||16||13|
|SG Dynamo Schwerin||14||13||12||8||9||13||15|
|Chemie Velten *||3|
|SG Dynamo Fürstenwalde *||6||14||2||9||2||12|
|Kabelwerk Oberspree Berlin||14||15|
|BFC Dynamo II *||8||1||5||3||4|
|Vorwärts Stralsund *||7||4||4||10||8|
|Vorwärts Frankfurt/Oder II *||10||7||6||14|
|FC Hansa Rostock II||18|
|ISG Schwerin Süd||17||16|
|Stahl Walzwerk Hettstedt||17|
|TSG Bau Rostock||15||18|
Source: "DDR-Liga". Das deutsche Fussball-Archiv. Retrieved 15 March 2008.
|DDR-Liga Staffel B||1985||1986||1987||1988||1989||1990||1991|
|FC Sachsen Leipzig *||♦|
|Chemie Leipzig *||♦||A||A||6||6||2|
|Chemie Böhlen *||4||3||3||13||7||1|
|Aktivist Schwarze Pumpe||A||A||4||A||A||A||A|
|Motor Karl Marx Stadt||11||17||15||10||4|
|Kali Werra Tiefenort||17||15||17||15|
|SG Dynamo Eisleben||15||7||16||15|
|Aufbau dkk Krumhermersdorf||16||16|
|SG Dynamo Dresden II *||3||6||12||4||9|
|FC Carl Zeiss Jena II||10||5||14||18|
|FC Rot-Weiß Erfurt II||12||16|
|Wismut Aue II||18|
Source: "DDR-Liga". Das deutsche Fussball-Archiv. Retrieved 15 March 2008.