East Germany
Shirt badge/Association crest
Nickname(s)"Weltmeister der Freundschaftsspiele" (World champion in friendly games)[1][2]
AssociationDeutscher Fußball-Verband der DDR
ConfederationUEFA (Europe)
Most capsJoachim Streich (102)
Top scorerJoachim Streich (55)
Home stadiumZentralstadion, Leipzig[a]
First colours
Second colours
First international
 Poland 3–0 East Germany 
(Warsaw, Poland; 21 September 1952)
Last international
 Belgium 0–2 East Germany 
(Brussels, Belgium; 12 September 1990)
Biggest win
 Ceylon 0–14 East Germany 
(Colombo, Ceylon; 8 January 1964)
 Ceylon 1–12 East Germany 
(Colombo, Ceylon; 12 January 1964)
Biggest defeat
 Hungary 5–0 East Germany 
(Hungary; 18 May 1952)
 Wales 4–1 East Germany 
(Cardiff, Wales; 25 September 1957)
 Poland 3–0 East Germany 
(Warsaw, Poland; 21 September 1952)
 East Germany 1–4 Czechoslovakia 
(Leipzig, East Germany; 27 October 1957)
 Ghana 3–0 East Germany 
(Accra, Ghana; 23 February 1964)
 Denmark 4–1 East Germany 
(Copenhagen, Denmark; 8 May 1985)
 Italy 3–0 East Germany 
(Naples, Italy; 22 November 1969)
 Belgium 3–0 East Germany 
(Antwerp, Belgium; 18 April 1973)
 Scotland 3–0 East Germany 
(Glasgow, Scotland; 30 October 1974)
 Austria 3–0 East Germany 
(Vienna, Austria; 15 November 1989)
 France 3–0 East Germany 
(Kuwait City, Kuwait; 24 January 1990)
 Soviet Union 3–0 East Germany 
(Kiev, Soviet Union; 26 April 1989)
 Brazil 3–0 East Germany 
(Goiânia, Brazil; 8 April 1986)
 Uruguay 3–0 East Germany 
(Montevideo, Uruguay; 29 January 1985)
 Hungary 3–0 East Germany 
(Budapest, Hungary; 28 March 1979)
 Netherlands 3–0 East Germany 
(Rotterdam, Netherlands; 15 November 1978)
World Cup
Appearances1 (1974)
Best resultRound 2, 1974 (Ranked 6th)
Medal record
Olympic medal record
Men's football
Men's Olympics
Gold medal – first place 1976 Montreal Team
Silver medal – second place 1980 Moscow Team
Bronze medal – third place 1972 Munich Team

The East Germany national football team, recognized as Germany DR by FIFA, was from 1952 to 1990 the football team of East Germany, playing as one of three post-war German teams, along with Saarland and West Germany.

After German reunification in 1990, the Deutscher Fußball Verband der DDR (DFV, English: German Football Association of the GDR), and with it the East German team, joined the Deutscher Fußball Bund (DFB) and the West Germany national football team that had just won the World Cup.


In 1949, before East Germany (GDR) was founded and while regular private clubs were still banned under Soviet occupation, efforts were made to play football anyway. Helmut Schön coached selections of Saxony and the Soviet occupation zone before moving to the West. On 6 February 1951, the GDR applied for FIFA membership, which was protested against by the German Football Association, which was already a full member. FIFA accepted the GDR association (later called DFV) on 6 October 1951 as a provisional member, and on 24 July 1952 as a full member.

The first international game, not competitive but rather a display of good will, took place on 21 September 1952 against Poland in Warsaw, losing 3–0 in front of a crowd of 35,000. The first home game was on 14 June 1953 against Bulgaria, a 0–0 draw in front of a crowd of 55,000 at Heinz-Steyer-Stadion in Dresden. Only three days later, the Uprising of 1953 in East Germany would have prevented the permitted assembly of that many Germans. On 8 May 1954 games resumed, with a 1–0 loss against Romania. The East Germans had not even considered to enter the World Cup which was won by the West Germans two months later. This caused much euphoria not only in the West, and the GDR tried to counter this by abandoning their policy of presenting a group of socialist role models of their "new German state"; instead, players were selected purely according to ability. The GDR entered the qualification for the WC 1958 and were hosts to Wales on 19 May 1957 at the Zentralstadion in Leipzig. 500,000 tickets were requested, officially 100,000 were admitted, but 120,000 in the crowded house witnessed a 1–0 victory.

East Germany was not as successful as its Western counterpart in World Cups or European Championships. It had only qualified for one major tournament in its history, the 1974 World Cup. However, they were always serious contenders in qualifying throughout their history.

Line-up for the first-ever World Cup finals match
Line-up for the first-ever World Cup finals match

That tournament was staged in West Germany, and both German teams were drawn in the same group in the first round. With successful games against Chile and Australia, both German teams had qualified early for the second round, with the inter-German game determining first and second in group. Despite this lack of pressure to succeed, the match on 22 June 1974 in Hamburg was politically and emotionally charged. East Germany beat West Germany 1–0, thanks to a goal by Jürgen Sparwasser. This was rather a Pyrrhic victory, as the DFV wound up in the possibly stronger second round Group A. The GDR lost to Brazil and the Netherlands, but secured 3rd place in a final game draw with Argentina. On the other hand, the DFB team changed its line-up after the loss, and went on to win all games in the other second round group B, against Yugoslavia, Sweden, Poland, and the World title against the Netherlands.

East Germany nearly secured qualification for the 1990 World Cup, needing only a draw versus Austria in Vienna in their final group match on 15 November 1989 to achieve a place in Italy. However, Toni Polster scored three times as Austria won 3–0 and advanced to the finals instead.

The GDR took part in the draw for the qualification for the European Championship 1992 and was drawn in Group 5 together with the FRG, Belgium, Wales and Luxembourg. On October 3 in 1990 Germany was re-unified and with them their football teams. The scheduled matches of the East German team were cancelled, except two matches. The match against Belgium was converted into a friendly match on September 12, 1990, at Brussels. It was the last match played by East Germany national team and ended with a 2–0 victory for them. The match between East and West Germany remained and was scheduled to be played on November 14, 1990, to celebrate the unification of Germany. Due to riots by East German spectators it was cancelled.[3]

Millions of East Germans had moved to the West before the Berlin Wall was erected in 1961, and some escaped in a successful Republikflucht attempts also afterwards. All East Germans were automatically entitled to receive a West German passport, but players who had caps for the DFV, like Norbert Nachtweih and Jürgen Pahl who fled in October 1976 at a U21-match in Turkey, were ineligible for international competition for the DFB due to FIFA rules. Lutz Eigendorf had escaped to the West in 1979 and died in 1983 in a mysterious car crash in which East German Stasi agents were involved.[citation needed]

Shortly after reunification, players who had played for the East German team were allowed by FIFA to be eligible for the now un-rivalled German team of the DFB. A total of eight players have been capped for both East Germany and unified Germany, among them Matthias Sammer and Ulf Kirsten.

Olympic football

Main article: East Germany Olympic football team

Medal record
Olympic Games
Bronze medal – third place 1964 Tokyo Team
Bronze medal – third place 1972 Munich Team
Gold medal – first place 1976 Montreal Team
Silver medal – second place 1980 Moscow Team

East Germany did however achieve significantly greater success in Olympic football than the amateur teams fielded by the Western NOC of Germany due to using its elite players from the top domestic league. In 1956, 1960, and 1964 both states had sent a United Team of Germany. For 1964, the East German side had beaten their Western counterparts in order to be selected. They went on to win Bronze for Germany. As GDR, they won Bronze in 1972 in Munich, Gold in 1976, and silver medal in 1980 in Moscow.

East vs. West

See also: East Germany–West Germany football rivalry

The team that played Argentina at La Bombonera of Buenos Aires, July 1977
The team that played Argentina at La Bombonera of Buenos Aires, July 1977

Over the years of their separate existence, the GDR and FRG played each other only a handful of times. The only notable meeting with professionals from the West was at the 1974 World Cup, which East Germany won 1–0. Three other games were played in Olympic Football where only players with amateur status could represent West Germany, like the young Uli Hoeneß who delayed his pro career in 1972. In the inter-German qualification prior to the 1964 Olympic Games, the two played a two-legged preliminary round tie, the GDR advancing to represent Germany as they won their home leg 3–0, while the FRG won the return 2–1. In the 1972 Olympic Games, the GDR and FRG, having qualified from their First Round groups, met in the Second Round, with the GDR winning 3–2.

Brussels, 1990: saluting the crowd before the last match
Brussels, 1990: saluting the crowd before the last match

The draw for 1992 UEFA European Football Championship qualifying took place on 2 February 1990, with East Germany drawn in Group 5 along with Belgium, Wales, Luxembourg – and West Germany. By 23 August that year, the East German parliament confirmed reunification for 3 October. The planning for the opening fixture away to Belgium on 12 September was too far along to be cancelled, and so it was played as a friendly.[4] It was also planned to play East Germany's home fixture against West Germany, scheduled for 21 November 1990 in Leipzig, as a friendly to celebrate the unification of the DFB and DFV, but the game was cancelled due to rioting in East German stadia.[4]

Competitive record

FIFA World Cup

  Champions    Runners-up    Third Place    Fourth Place  

FIFA World Cup record FIFA World Cup qualification record
Year Round Position Pld W D L GF GA Position Pld W D L GF GA
Switzerland 1954 Did Not Enter Did Not Enter
Sweden 1958 Did Not Qualify 3rd 4 1 0 3 5 12
Chile 1962 3rd 3 0 1 2 3 6
England 1966 2nd 4 1 2 1 5 5
Mexico 1970 2nd 4 2 1 1 7 7
West Germany 1974 Second Round 6th 6 2 2 2 5 5 1st 6 5 0 1 18 3
Argentina 1978 Did Not Qualify 2nd 6 3 3 0 15 4
Spain 1982 2nd 4 2 0 2 9 6
Mexico 1986 3rd 8 5 0 3 16 9
Italy 1990 4th 8 3 1 4 9 13
Total Second Round 1/10 6 2 2 2 5 5 - 47 22 8 17 87 65

UEFA European Championship record

UEFA European Championship record UEFA European Championship qualifying record
Year Round Position Pld W D L GF GA Position Pld W D L GF GA
France 1960 Did Not Qualify FR 2 0 0 2 2 5
Francoist Spain 1964 Ro16 4 1 2 1 7 7
Italy 1968 2nd 6 3 1 2 10 10
Belgium 1972 3rd 6 3 1 2 11 6
Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia 1976 2nd 6 2 3 1 8 7
Italy 1980 3rd 6 5 1 2 18 11
France 1984 3rd 6 2 1 3 7 7
West Germany 1988 2nd 8 4 2 1 13 4
Sweden 1992 Withdrew from qualification Withdrew from qualification
Total 0/9 0 0 0 0 0 0 44 20 10 14 76 57

Player records

Main article: List of East Germany international footballers

Players with caps for both East Germany and unified Germany

The rules of FIFA prevented players who had caps for the DFV team from playing for the DFB team before the unification of DFB and DFV in 1990. The numbers are from the website of the DFB.

Player East Germany Unified Germany Overall
Caps Goals Caps Goals Caps Goals
Ulf Kirsten 49 14 51 20 100 34
Matthias Sammer 23 6 51 8 74 14
Andreas Thom 51 16 10 2 61 18
Thomas Doll 29 7 18 1 47 8
Dariusz Wosz 7 0 17 1 24 1
Olaf Marschall 4 0 13 3 17 3
Heiko Scholz 7 0 1 0 8 0
Dirk Schuster 4 0 3 0 7 0


See also


a. ^ The East German team had no official home stadium, but 45 of 130 (35%) of their home games were played at the Zentralstadion. Also frequently used for home fixtures were the Stadion der Weltjugend, Friedrich-Ludwig-Jahn-Sportpark (both in East Berlin); the Sportforum Chemnitz, Chemnitz; the Ostseestadion, Rostock; and Ernst Grube Stadium, Magdeburg.


  1. ^ a b Joachim Streich also appeared in 4 matches at the 1972 Olympics that are not recognised by FIFA, scoring two goals
  2. ^ Hans-Jürgen Dörner appeared in 4 matches that are not recognised by FIFA
  3. ^ Jürgen Croy appeared in 8 matches that are not recognised by FIFA
  4. ^ Konrad Weise appeared in 8 matches that are not recognised by FIFA
  5. ^ a b Eberhard Vogel appeared in 5 matches that are not recognised by FIFA, scoring one goal
  6. ^ Bernd Bransch appeared in 8 matches that are not recognised by FIFA
  7. ^ Peter Ducke appeared in 5 matches that are not recognised by FIFA
  8. ^ a b Martin Hoffmann appeared in 4 matches that are not recognised by FIFA, scoring one goal
  9. ^ Gerd Kische appeared in 4 matches that are not recognised by FIFA
  10. ^ Lothar Kurbjuweit appeared in 7 matches that are not recognised by FIFA
  11. ^ Hans-Jürgen Kreische scored three goals that are not recognised by FIFA
  12. ^ Jürgen Sparwasser scored one goal that is not recognised by FIFA


  1. ^ Joel, Holger; Schütt, Ernst Christian (2008). Chronik des deutschen Fußballs: die Spiele der Nationalmannschaften von 1908 bis heute (in German). wissenmedia Verlag. p. 210. ISBN 9783577164214.
  2. ^ Wiederstein, Wolfgang (14 November 2009). "'Ein Spiel, das wir nicht gewinnen konnten'". Die Presse (in German). Retrieved 21 June 2016.
  3. ^ "East Germany - International Results 1952-1990". The Rec.Sport.Soccer Statistics Foundation. Retrieved 3 July 2021.
  4. ^ a b Mansel, Tim (28 December 2015). "The East German team that refused to die". BBC News. BBC. Retrieved 28 December 2015.
  5. ^ a b Mamrud, Roberto. "East Germany - Record International Players". RSSSF.