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History

Game of two halves

Spies, suspicion and Cold War suspense – Bayern’s journey to their first European title was nearly derailed by a trip behind the Iron Curtain, when the champions of West and East Germany met in a duel worthy of a political thriller

WORDS Ian Holyman

The pictures are grainy, the faces blurred out. In black and white, the camera tracks peaceful flag-waving fans across a city centre. There’s no sound on these images; it’s 1973, so technology wasn’t what it is. However, this is no family trip captured for posterity. This is part of the archive of the former East German secret police, the Stasi, and their surveillance of Bayern fans in Dresden for a politically charged Cold War football match, the first ever between clubs of the then divided nation.

“I remember that when we got into the DDR, everything was grey,” Johnny Hansen tells Champions Journal. Bayern’s Danish defender had also made the trip for this European Cup second round decider against Dynamo Dresden on 7 November 1973 – a relatively short one as the crow flies, but a step into a different world. As the only non-German in either line-up, the club’s expedition from West to East was a surreal experience for him. That said, for most of his team-mates it was no less mystifying. 

Just as hard to fathom, in the lead-up to the tie, were Bayern’s opponents. “We didn’t know much about Dynamo,” admits Hansen. “But our coach, Udo Lattek, had been to watch them twice in the DDR.” That put the legendary tactician in an exclusive club. Few beyond the Iron Curtain had any grasp of the East German champions, except perhaps that they were affiliated with the Stasi – short for Staatssicherheitsdienst (State Security Service) – and had recently won their third league title. Oh, and they had just humbled last season’s runners-up Juventus in the first round. 

Above all they were a team intent on stopping Bayern. This was the Bavarian club’s breakthrough campaign in the European Cup; beaten by Ajax in the quarter-finals the previous season, Bayern were about to match the Dutch outfit’s feat of lifting the trophy three years in a row. They were building a dynasty, and it all began with Lattek’s reign from 1970 to 1975. The coach had added promising players who he’d nurtured in charge of Germany’s youth team – such as Paul Breitner, Uli Hoeness and Georg Schwarzenbeck – to established names such as Franz Beckenbauer, Sepp Maier and Gerd Müller.

Even so, the first of those titles almost never happened: Bayern had only just stumbled past Swedish champions Åtvidaberg on penalties in the first round. Later they would require a Schwarzenbeck equaliser in the dying breath of extra time in the final against Atlético Madrid to force a replay – yes, a replay – which they won handsomely 4-0. But the tie against Dynamo was as testing as anything else they faced that season, both on and off the pitch. “It was no normal football match,” Hoeness wrote later in newspaper Der Tagesspiegel. “This encounter was political and, for the first time, it wasn’t just football fans who were interested in us.”

Leeds manager Marcelo Bielsa famously sent ‘spies’ to peek through the fences at opponents’ training grounds; this tie involved real spies. And the Iron Curtain was not the kind you could glimpse much of anything through, aside from watchtowers, barbed wire and machine-gun-bearing border guards zealously protecting East from West (and vice versa).

“We couldn’t watch Bayern games on western TV,” Frank Ganzera, Dynamo’s captain over the two legs, explained to the club’s website in 2015. “I’d played against Uli Hoeness in the 1972 Olympics, so I’d been warned and knew how quick he was. But by today’s standards, we were badly prepared.”

As the first leg in Munich on 24 October approached, that seemed to be a common theme. Klaus Sammer, father of Champions League and Ballon d’Or winner Matthias, secretly met his West Germany-based aunt. Other Dynamo players sought to slip away from their Stasi minders for a brief taste of the West before the game at the Olympiastadion. But when it came to matchday, they were clearly focused.

Despite Dynamo’s humbling of Juve, Lattek had not been impressed on his scouting mission. “At home we have to force our game on them,” he vowed, while Schwarzenbeck later confessed, “We didn’t know Dresden and subconsciously concluded, ‘They can’t be good.’” Indeed, the Olympiastadion scoreboard even misspelled some of the Dresden players’ names. 

What followed was a jaw-dropping, eye-opening first-leg display from the visitors. “Dynamo teach Bayern how to shudder” was the verdict in Munich daily Süddeutsche Zeitung. Dynamo led 1-0 and 3-2, only for Bayern to prevail 4-3 thanks to a late winner from the irrepressible Müller. Dynamo coach Walter Fritzsch had done his homework following his own scouting forays, when he’d taken the then innovative step of filming Bayern’s games to analyse their tactics.

Fans await Bayern in front of the Interhotel Newa in Dresden, but the team ended up staying elsewhere (above), Dresden players celebrate having opened the scoring at the Olympiastadion (top right), Dresden goalkeeper Claus Boden is called into action in the first leg (right)

The Stasi officer who had travelled with him had also been busy as part of Aktion Vorstoss – Action Advance – the paranoid East German state’s initiative to ensure that the return leg would occur with minimal contact between “class enemies”. Bayern were keen for that too, though not for the same reasons.

“We didn’t go to Dresden the day before the game; instead we stayed in Hof,” says Hansen, referring to Bayern’s stopover in the Bavarian town just on the western side of the divided Germany. Club president Wilhelm Neudecker had claimed, laughably, that the 400-metre difference in altitude between Dresden and Munich, and his squad’s potential difficulties with acclimatising, was the reason for contravening UEFA’s regulation that opposing teams arrive the day before a match. “Uli [Hoeness] and Paul [Breitner] had had some problems in the DDR before,” says Hansen. “We took all our food with us.” 

Hoeness was marked enough by that earlier brush to remember it decades later. “Paul Breitner and I had experienced, at a tournament with the junior national side, how teams from the West were controlled, put under surveillance and bugged in the DDR,” he went on to write. “Also, there were rumours that something would be done to the food to weaken us. You can now read about such things in Stasi files.”

Certainly this showdown meant a lot to the East German authorities. “Everyone of rank and name was accredited,” said Ganzera, who was thrust into the heart of the pre-match intrigue as he deputised for injured skipper Hans-Jürgen Kreische. “Before the second leg there was a press conference with representatives from both clubs in Dresden in a low-rise building at the stadium, and I was there as captain. Franz Beckenbauer wasn’t there.”

Ganzera and Der Kaiser would meet on the pitch in front of 30,000 spectators at Dynamo’s stadium. “I can remember that very well,” added the Dresden captain. “In his Bavarian accent, Franz Beckenbauer said, ‘Hello to you.’ I only said, ‘Likewise.’”

“There were a lot of fans outside the hotel,” remembers Hansen, who spent a few hours on DDR soil with the rest of the squad in Dresden’s Interhotel Newa before the game. Not that the Bayern players enjoyed the experience. According to Beckenbauer’s subsequent account, they were shut away and allowed no contact with the public.

There were also suggestions that Bayern’s pre-match preparations, including their strategy and line-up, were given to Fritzsch before the game courtesy of Stasi operatives. However, if that were actually true, Dynamo would surely have started the second leg a bit better.

“Udo Lattek was certain that the Dresden defence would focus completely on Gerd Müller,” said Hoeness. “So, Gerd stood in the middle of the defence and was surrounded, while Lattek put me on the halfway line from where I could overrun Dresden with my pace. Poor Eduard Geyer, who was marking me. I was in such good form that the game was a nightmare for him. By the 13th minute I had broken clear twice to put us 2-0 up.”

“Even before his two goals, Hoeness had been dangerous,” said Ganzera. “Looking back, you have to say that Walter Fritzsch should have intervened. Normally, at 2-0 down to Bayern, you’re out. But the fans in the stadium were so up for it. They pushed us forward incredibly and helped us find our way back into the game. There was no pessimism. We were too self-confident as a team for that.” Just three minutes before half-time, in fact, Siegmar Wätzlich rewarded the supporters by halving the deficit. 

“One thing was clear: here is a crowd that wants to see this Dynamo team win. Here there is only black and yellow”
Ronald Rychlewski

Out of the 30,000-strong crowd, only an estimated 8,000 had been able to buy tickets, with the vast majority of places going to politically reliable members of the party and security services. For the East German government, this game was an ideological contest – so much so that every person through the turnstiles was given a banana and an apple, a healthier option than the sausages and beer on offer across the border.

“For us at that time, sport was the more important thing,” Dynamo fan Horst Müller later recounted to German media outlet MDR. One of the lucky ones who had paid eight East German marks for his ticket, he was there simply to savour the action. “We were in our early twenties and didn’t see a lot of things that deeply, but more through a sports perspective.”

“Then Bayern came onto the pitch to warm up and a deafening concert of whistles took over the stadium,” fellow fan Ronald Rychlewski told MDR. Aged 14 at the time, he had “skipped two hours of civic studies at school” to be at the game’s afternoon kick-off. “Although we as East German citizens and football fans always looked west to the Bundesliga and the German national team, one thing was clear: this is the home of Dynamo Dresden. Here is a crowd that wants to see this Dynamo team win. Here there is only black and yellow.”

“There was row upon row of riot police and – in my memory – they were all in tracksuits, and had blue or green hats on, while every tenth one was wearing a red hat,” said Horst Müller, himself an amateur footballer at the time. “And they kept switching: one sat with his face to the crowd while the next one was watching the pitch. And every ten minutes, those with the red hats would give a sign and they all switched position so the ‘watchdogs’ weren’t always watching the stands.”

What they and Müller saw was another nail-biting finale. After Ganzera had registered a third assist of the tie to enable Hartmut Schade to equalise early in the second half, Reinhard Häfner swiftly put Dynamo ahead – and temporarily through on away goals. However, Gerd Müller made it 3-3 a few minutes after that, and Bayern held on to squeeze into the quarter-finals. Victory, but only just.

“One look at the Bayern coaching bench was enough to assess how pleased the renowned visitors were to have got away with a black eye in Dynamo’s atmospheric stadium,” wrote one East German reporter. “The Bayern stars, at the head of them Beckenbauer – who this time focused only on defending – sank totally exhausted and freed from a hundredweight load onto the dressing-room benches.”

“Two hours after the game we were back in West Germany,” says Hansen, the visitors’ team bus having made a quick getaway. 

West Germany coach Helmut Schön may have scheduled a quick retreat of his own. The man who masterminded victory at EURO 1972 and the 1974 World Cup had also been at the match, after returning to the city of his birth two days before with his wife. Upon arrival, his car had been rocked by fans chanting that Dynamo would “kick Bayern out”. Schön reported the incident to the East German authorities, the same officials who then came down hard on their own people when – as he was leaving the stadium – Schön threw a small package into the crowd.

“Of course, people immediately jumped on this little package,” recalled Horst Müller, who was about to receive a shock to the system, by the system. “In the blink of an eye, the police were there with rubber truncheons and drove the people apart. And when the package burst open, I was able to see that it had little Bayern München badges inside. At least for me, that was the first time I’d experienced something like this first hand, with people being punished for nothing. And that began to shape the future.”

Rychlewski too was punished – for playing truant. In his case, being hauled into the headmaster’s office along with his parents was absolutely worth it. “The next day was school roll call. In front of the whole school, four friends and I were reprimanded for skipping class. All five of us had been to the game. We were punished by having to clean the school after classes had finished. But by then, I didn’t care. I was 14, a boy who just wanted to watch this game and didn’t understand any of it. Even today, I remember this one game as if it were yesterday.” 

The pictures are grainy, the faces blurred out. In black and white, the camera tracks peaceful flag-waving fans across a city centre. There’s no sound on these images; it’s 1973, so technology wasn’t what it is. However, this is no family trip captured for posterity. This is part of the archive of the former East German secret police, the Stasi, and their surveillance of Bayern fans in Dresden for a politically charged Cold War football match, the first ever between clubs of the then divided nation.

“I remember that when we got into the DDR, everything was grey,” Johnny Hansen tells Champions Journal. Bayern’s Danish defender had also made the trip for this European Cup second round decider against Dynamo Dresden on 7 November 1973 – a relatively short one as the crow flies, but a step into a different world. As the only non-German in either line-up, the club’s expedition from West to East was a surreal experience for him. That said, for most of his team-mates it was no less mystifying. 

Just as hard to fathom, in the lead-up to the tie, were Bayern’s opponents. “We didn’t know much about Dynamo,” admits Hansen. “But our coach, Udo Lattek, had been to watch them twice in the DDR.” That put the legendary tactician in an exclusive club. Few beyond the Iron Curtain had any grasp of the East German champions, except perhaps that they were affiliated with the Stasi – short for Staatssicherheitsdienst (State Security Service) – and had recently won their third league title. Oh, and they had just humbled last season’s runners-up Juventus in the first round. 

Above all they were a team intent on stopping Bayern. This was the Bavarian club’s breakthrough campaign in the European Cup; beaten by Ajax in the quarter-finals the previous season, Bayern were about to match the Dutch outfit’s feat of lifting the trophy three years in a row. They were building a dynasty, and it all began with Lattek’s reign from 1970 to 1975. The coach had added promising players who he’d nurtured in charge of Germany’s youth team – such as Paul Breitner, Uli Hoeness and Georg Schwarzenbeck – to established names such as Franz Beckenbauer, Sepp Maier and Gerd Müller.

Even so, the first of those titles almost never happened: Bayern had only just stumbled past Swedish champions Åtvidaberg on penalties in the first round. Later they would require a Schwarzenbeck equaliser in the dying breath of extra time in the final against Atlético Madrid to force a replay – yes, a replay – which they won handsomely 4-0. But the tie against Dynamo was as testing as anything else they faced that season, both on and off the pitch. “It was no normal football match,” Hoeness wrote later in newspaper Der Tagesspiegel. “This encounter was political and, for the first time, it wasn’t just football fans who were interested in us.”

Leeds manager Marcelo Bielsa famously sent ‘spies’ to peek through the fences at opponents’ training grounds; this tie involved real spies. And the Iron Curtain was not the kind you could glimpse much of anything through, aside from watchtowers, barbed wire and machine-gun-bearing border guards zealously protecting East from West (and vice versa).

“We couldn’t watch Bayern games on western TV,” Frank Ganzera, Dynamo’s captain over the two legs, explained to the club’s website in 2015. “I’d played against Uli Hoeness in the 1972 Olympics, so I’d been warned and knew how quick he was. But by today’s standards, we were badly prepared.”

As the first leg in Munich on 24 October approached, that seemed to be a common theme. Klaus Sammer, father of Champions League and Ballon d’Or winner Matthias, secretly met his West Germany-based aunt. Other Dynamo players sought to slip away from their Stasi minders for a brief taste of the West before the game at the Olympiastadion. But when it came to matchday, they were clearly focused.

Despite Dynamo’s humbling of Juve, Lattek had not been impressed on his scouting mission. “At home we have to force our game on them,” he vowed, while Schwarzenbeck later confessed, “We didn’t know Dresden and subconsciously concluded, ‘They can’t be good.’” Indeed, the Olympiastadion scoreboard even misspelled some of the Dresden players’ names. 

What followed was a jaw-dropping, eye-opening first-leg display from the visitors. “Dynamo teach Bayern how to shudder” was the verdict in Munich daily Süddeutsche Zeitung. Dynamo led 1-0 and 3-2, only for Bayern to prevail 4-3 thanks to a late winner from the irrepressible Müller. Dynamo coach Walter Fritzsch had done his homework following his own scouting forays, when he’d taken the then innovative step of filming Bayern’s games to analyse their tactics.

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Fans await Bayern in front of the Interhotel Newa in Dresden, but the team ended up staying elsewhere (above), Dresden players celebrate having opened the scoring at the Olympiastadion (top right), Dresden goalkeeper Claus Boden is called into action in the first leg (right)

The Stasi officer who had travelled with him had also been busy as part of Aktion Vorstoss – Action Advance – the paranoid East German state’s initiative to ensure that the return leg would occur with minimal contact between “class enemies”. Bayern were keen for that too, though not for the same reasons.

“We didn’t go to Dresden the day before the game; instead we stayed in Hof,” says Hansen, referring to Bayern’s stopover in the Bavarian town just on the western side of the divided Germany. Club president Wilhelm Neudecker had claimed, laughably, that the 400-metre difference in altitude between Dresden and Munich, and his squad’s potential difficulties with acclimatising, was the reason for contravening UEFA’s regulation that opposing teams arrive the day before a match. “Uli [Hoeness] and Paul [Breitner] had had some problems in the DDR before,” says Hansen. “We took all our food with us.” 

Hoeness was marked enough by that earlier brush to remember it decades later. “Paul Breitner and I had experienced, at a tournament with the junior national side, how teams from the West were controlled, put under surveillance and bugged in the DDR,” he went on to write. “Also, there were rumours that something would be done to the food to weaken us. You can now read about such things in Stasi files.”

Certainly this showdown meant a lot to the East German authorities. “Everyone of rank and name was accredited,” said Ganzera, who was thrust into the heart of the pre-match intrigue as he deputised for injured skipper Hans-Jürgen Kreische. “Before the second leg there was a press conference with representatives from both clubs in Dresden in a low-rise building at the stadium, and I was there as captain. Franz Beckenbauer wasn’t there.”

Ganzera and Der Kaiser would meet on the pitch in front of 30,000 spectators at Dynamo’s stadium. “I can remember that very well,” added the Dresden captain. “In his Bavarian accent, Franz Beckenbauer said, ‘Hello to you.’ I only said, ‘Likewise.’”

“There were a lot of fans outside the hotel,” remembers Hansen, who spent a few hours on DDR soil with the rest of the squad in Dresden’s Interhotel Newa before the game. Not that the Bayern players enjoyed the experience. According to Beckenbauer’s subsequent account, they were shut away and allowed no contact with the public.

There were also suggestions that Bayern’s pre-match preparations, including their strategy and line-up, were given to Fritzsch before the game courtesy of Stasi operatives. However, if that were actually true, Dynamo would surely have started the second leg a bit better.

“Udo Lattek was certain that the Dresden defence would focus completely on Gerd Müller,” said Hoeness. “So, Gerd stood in the middle of the defence and was surrounded, while Lattek put me on the halfway line from where I could overrun Dresden with my pace. Poor Eduard Geyer, who was marking me. I was in such good form that the game was a nightmare for him. By the 13th minute I had broken clear twice to put us 2-0 up.”

“Even before his two goals, Hoeness had been dangerous,” said Ganzera. “Looking back, you have to say that Walter Fritzsch should have intervened. Normally, at 2-0 down to Bayern, you’re out. But the fans in the stadium were so up for it. They pushed us forward incredibly and helped us find our way back into the game. There was no pessimism. We were too self-confident as a team for that.” Just three minutes before half-time, in fact, Siegmar Wätzlich rewarded the supporters by halving the deficit. 

“One thing was clear: here is a crowd that wants to see this Dynamo team win. Here there is only black and yellow”
Ronald Rychlewski

Out of the 30,000-strong crowd, only an estimated 8,000 had been able to buy tickets, with the vast majority of places going to politically reliable members of the party and security services. For the East German government, this game was an ideological contest – so much so that every person through the turnstiles was given a banana and an apple, a healthier option than the sausages and beer on offer across the border.

“For us at that time, sport was the more important thing,” Dynamo fan Horst Müller later recounted to German media outlet MDR. One of the lucky ones who had paid eight East German marks for his ticket, he was there simply to savour the action. “We were in our early twenties and didn’t see a lot of things that deeply, but more through a sports perspective.”

“Then Bayern came onto the pitch to warm up and a deafening concert of whistles took over the stadium,” fellow fan Ronald Rychlewski told MDR. Aged 14 at the time, he had “skipped two hours of civic studies at school” to be at the game’s afternoon kick-off. “Although we as East German citizens and football fans always looked west to the Bundesliga and the German national team, one thing was clear: this is the home of Dynamo Dresden. Here is a crowd that wants to see this Dynamo team win. Here there is only black and yellow.”

“There was row upon row of riot police and – in my memory – they were all in tracksuits, and had blue or green hats on, while every tenth one was wearing a red hat,” said Horst Müller, himself an amateur footballer at the time. “And they kept switching: one sat with his face to the crowd while the next one was watching the pitch. And every ten minutes, those with the red hats would give a sign and they all switched position so the ‘watchdogs’ weren’t always watching the stands.”

What they and Müller saw was another nail-biting finale. After Ganzera had registered a third assist of the tie to enable Hartmut Schade to equalise early in the second half, Reinhard Häfner swiftly put Dynamo ahead – and temporarily through on away goals. However, Gerd Müller made it 3-3 a few minutes after that, and Bayern held on to squeeze into the quarter-finals. Victory, but only just.

“One look at the Bayern coaching bench was enough to assess how pleased the renowned visitors were to have got away with a black eye in Dynamo’s atmospheric stadium,” wrote one East German reporter. “The Bayern stars, at the head of them Beckenbauer – who this time focused only on defending – sank totally exhausted and freed from a hundredweight load onto the dressing-room benches.”

“Two hours after the game we were back in West Germany,” says Hansen, the visitors’ team bus having made a quick getaway. 

West Germany coach Helmut Schön may have scheduled a quick retreat of his own. The man who masterminded victory at EURO 1972 and the 1974 World Cup had also been at the match, after returning to the city of his birth two days before with his wife. Upon arrival, his car had been rocked by fans chanting that Dynamo would “kick Bayern out”. Schön reported the incident to the East German authorities, the same officials who then came down hard on their own people when – as he was leaving the stadium – Schön threw a small package into the crowd.

“Of course, people immediately jumped on this little package,” recalled Horst Müller, who was about to receive a shock to the system, by the system. “In the blink of an eye, the police were there with rubber truncheons and drove the people apart. And when the package burst open, I was able to see that it had little Bayern München badges inside. At least for me, that was the first time I’d experienced something like this first hand, with people being punished for nothing. And that began to shape the future.”

Rychlewski too was punished – for playing truant. In his case, being hauled into the headmaster’s office along with his parents was absolutely worth it. “The next day was school roll call. In front of the whole school, four friends and I were reprimanded for skipping class. All five of us had been to the game. We were punished by having to clean the school after classes had finished. But by then, I didn’t care. I was 14, a boy who just wanted to watch this game and didn’t understand any of it. Even today, I remember this one game as if it were yesterday.” 

The pictures are grainy, the faces blurred out. In black and white, the camera tracks peaceful flag-waving fans across a city centre. There’s no sound on these images; it’s 1973, so technology wasn’t what it is. However, this is no family trip captured for posterity. This is part of the archive of the former East German secret police, the Stasi, and their surveillance of Bayern fans in Dresden for a politically charged Cold War football match, the first ever between clubs of the then divided nation.

“I remember that when we got into the DDR, everything was grey,” Johnny Hansen tells Champions Journal. Bayern’s Danish defender had also made the trip for this European Cup second round decider against Dynamo Dresden on 7 November 1973 – a relatively short one as the crow flies, but a step into a different world. As the only non-German in either line-up, the club’s expedition from West to East was a surreal experience for him. That said, for most of his team-mates it was no less mystifying. 

Just as hard to fathom, in the lead-up to the tie, were Bayern’s opponents. “We didn’t know much about Dynamo,” admits Hansen. “But our coach, Udo Lattek, had been to watch them twice in the DDR.” That put the legendary tactician in an exclusive club. Few beyond the Iron Curtain had any grasp of the East German champions, except perhaps that they were affiliated with the Stasi – short for Staatssicherheitsdienst (State Security Service) – and had recently won their third league title. Oh, and they had just humbled last season’s runners-up Juventus in the first round. 

Above all they were a team intent on stopping Bayern. This was the Bavarian club’s breakthrough campaign in the European Cup; beaten by Ajax in the quarter-finals the previous season, Bayern were about to match the Dutch outfit’s feat of lifting the trophy three years in a row. They were building a dynasty, and it all began with Lattek’s reign from 1970 to 1975. The coach had added promising players who he’d nurtured in charge of Germany’s youth team – such as Paul Breitner, Uli Hoeness and Georg Schwarzenbeck – to established names such as Franz Beckenbauer, Sepp Maier and Gerd Müller.

Even so, the first of those titles almost never happened: Bayern had only just stumbled past Swedish champions Åtvidaberg on penalties in the first round. Later they would require a Schwarzenbeck equaliser in the dying breath of extra time in the final against Atlético Madrid to force a replay – yes, a replay – which they won handsomely 4-0. But the tie against Dynamo was as testing as anything else they faced that season, both on and off the pitch. “It was no normal football match,” Hoeness wrote later in newspaper Der Tagesspiegel. “This encounter was political and, for the first time, it wasn’t just football fans who were interested in us.”

Leeds manager Marcelo Bielsa famously sent ‘spies’ to peek through the fences at opponents’ training grounds; this tie involved real spies. And the Iron Curtain was not the kind you could glimpse much of anything through, aside from watchtowers, barbed wire and machine-gun-bearing border guards zealously protecting East from West (and vice versa).

“We couldn’t watch Bayern games on western TV,” Frank Ganzera, Dynamo’s captain over the two legs, explained to the club’s website in 2015. “I’d played against Uli Hoeness in the 1972 Olympics, so I’d been warned and knew how quick he was. But by today’s standards, we were badly prepared.”

As the first leg in Munich on 24 October approached, that seemed to be a common theme. Klaus Sammer, father of Champions League and Ballon d’Or winner Matthias, secretly met his West Germany-based aunt. Other Dynamo players sought to slip away from their Stasi minders for a brief taste of the West before the game at the Olympiastadion. But when it came to matchday, they were clearly focused.

Despite Dynamo’s humbling of Juve, Lattek had not been impressed on his scouting mission. “At home we have to force our game on them,” he vowed, while Schwarzenbeck later confessed, “We didn’t know Dresden and subconsciously concluded, ‘They can’t be good.’” Indeed, the Olympiastadion scoreboard even misspelled some of the Dresden players’ names. 

What followed was a jaw-dropping, eye-opening first-leg display from the visitors. “Dynamo teach Bayern how to shudder” was the verdict in Munich daily Süddeutsche Zeitung. Dynamo led 1-0 and 3-2, only for Bayern to prevail 4-3 thanks to a late winner from the irrepressible Müller. Dynamo coach Walter Fritzsch had done his homework following his own scouting forays, when he’d taken the then innovative step of filming Bayern’s games to analyse their tactics.

Fans await Bayern in front of the Interhotel Newa in Dresden, but the team ended up staying elsewhere (above), Dresden players celebrate having opened the scoring at the Olympiastadion (top right), Dresden goalkeeper Claus Boden is called into action in the first leg (right)

The Stasi officer who had travelled with him had also been busy as part of Aktion Vorstoss – Action Advance – the paranoid East German state’s initiative to ensure that the return leg would occur with minimal contact between “class enemies”. Bayern were keen for that too, though not for the same reasons.

“We didn’t go to Dresden the day before the game; instead we stayed in Hof,” says Hansen, referring to Bayern’s stopover in the Bavarian town just on the western side of the divided Germany. Club president Wilhelm Neudecker had claimed, laughably, that the 400-metre difference in altitude between Dresden and Munich, and his squad’s potential difficulties with acclimatising, was the reason for contravening UEFA’s regulation that opposing teams arrive the day before a match. “Uli [Hoeness] and Paul [Breitner] had had some problems in the DDR before,” says Hansen. “We took all our food with us.” 

Hoeness was marked enough by that earlier brush to remember it decades later. “Paul Breitner and I had experienced, at a tournament with the junior national side, how teams from the West were controlled, put under surveillance and bugged in the DDR,” he went on to write. “Also, there were rumours that something would be done to the food to weaken us. You can now read about such things in Stasi files.”

Certainly this showdown meant a lot to the East German authorities. “Everyone of rank and name was accredited,” said Ganzera, who was thrust into the heart of the pre-match intrigue as he deputised for injured skipper Hans-Jürgen Kreische. “Before the second leg there was a press conference with representatives from both clubs in Dresden in a low-rise building at the stadium, and I was there as captain. Franz Beckenbauer wasn’t there.”

Ganzera and Der Kaiser would meet on the pitch in front of 30,000 spectators at Dynamo’s stadium. “I can remember that very well,” added the Dresden captain. “In his Bavarian accent, Franz Beckenbauer said, ‘Hello to you.’ I only said, ‘Likewise.’”

“There were a lot of fans outside the hotel,” remembers Hansen, who spent a few hours on DDR soil with the rest of the squad in Dresden’s Interhotel Newa before the game. Not that the Bayern players enjoyed the experience. According to Beckenbauer’s subsequent account, they were shut away and allowed no contact with the public.

There were also suggestions that Bayern’s pre-match preparations, including their strategy and line-up, were given to Fritzsch before the game courtesy of Stasi operatives. However, if that were actually true, Dynamo would surely have started the second leg a bit better.

“Udo Lattek was certain that the Dresden defence would focus completely on Gerd Müller,” said Hoeness. “So, Gerd stood in the middle of the defence and was surrounded, while Lattek put me on the halfway line from where I could overrun Dresden with my pace. Poor Eduard Geyer, who was marking me. I was in such good form that the game was a nightmare for him. By the 13th minute I had broken clear twice to put us 2-0 up.”

“Even before his two goals, Hoeness had been dangerous,” said Ganzera. “Looking back, you have to say that Walter Fritzsch should have intervened. Normally, at 2-0 down to Bayern, you’re out. But the fans in the stadium were so up for it. They pushed us forward incredibly and helped us find our way back into the game. There was no pessimism. We were too self-confident as a team for that.” Just three minutes before half-time, in fact, Siegmar Wätzlich rewarded the supporters by halving the deficit. 

“One thing was clear: here is a crowd that wants to see this Dynamo team win. Here there is only black and yellow”
Ronald Rychlewski

Out of the 30,000-strong crowd, only an estimated 8,000 had been able to buy tickets, with the vast majority of places going to politically reliable members of the party and security services. For the East German government, this game was an ideological contest – so much so that every person through the turnstiles was given a banana and an apple, a healthier option than the sausages and beer on offer across the border.

“For us at that time, sport was the more important thing,” Dynamo fan Horst Müller later recounted to German media outlet MDR. One of the lucky ones who had paid eight East German marks for his ticket, he was there simply to savour the action. “We were in our early twenties and didn’t see a lot of things that deeply, but more through a sports perspective.”

“Then Bayern came onto the pitch to warm up and a deafening concert of whistles took over the stadium,” fellow fan Ronald Rychlewski told MDR. Aged 14 at the time, he had “skipped two hours of civic studies at school” to be at the game’s afternoon kick-off. “Although we as East German citizens and football fans always looked west to the Bundesliga and the German national team, one thing was clear: this is the home of Dynamo Dresden. Here is a crowd that wants to see this Dynamo team win. Here there is only black and yellow.”

“There was row upon row of riot police and – in my memory – they were all in tracksuits, and had blue or green hats on, while every tenth one was wearing a red hat,” said Horst Müller, himself an amateur footballer at the time. “And they kept switching: one sat with his face to the crowd while the next one was watching the pitch. And every ten minutes, those with the red hats would give a sign and they all switched position so the ‘watchdogs’ weren’t always watching the stands.”

What they and Müller saw was another nail-biting finale. After Ganzera had registered a third assist of the tie to enable Hartmut Schade to equalise early in the second half, Reinhard Häfner swiftly put Dynamo ahead – and temporarily through on away goals. However, Gerd Müller made it 3-3 a few minutes after that, and Bayern held on to squeeze into the quarter-finals. Victory, but only just.

“One look at the Bayern coaching bench was enough to assess how pleased the renowned visitors were to have got away with a black eye in Dynamo’s atmospheric stadium,” wrote one East German reporter. “The Bayern stars, at the head of them Beckenbauer – who this time focused only on defending – sank totally exhausted and freed from a hundredweight load onto the dressing-room benches.”

“Two hours after the game we were back in West Germany,” says Hansen, the visitors’ team bus having made a quick getaway. 

West Germany coach Helmut Schön may have scheduled a quick retreat of his own. The man who masterminded victory at EURO 1972 and the 1974 World Cup had also been at the match, after returning to the city of his birth two days before with his wife. Upon arrival, his car had been rocked by fans chanting that Dynamo would “kick Bayern out”. Schön reported the incident to the East German authorities, the same officials who then came down hard on their own people when – as he was leaving the stadium – Schön threw a small package into the crowd.

“Of course, people immediately jumped on this little package,” recalled Horst Müller, who was about to receive a shock to the system, by the system. “In the blink of an eye, the police were there with rubber truncheons and drove the people apart. And when the package burst open, I was able to see that it had little Bayern München badges inside. At least for me, that was the first time I’d experienced something like this first hand, with people being punished for nothing. And that began to shape the future.”

Rychlewski too was punished – for playing truant. In his case, being hauled into the headmaster’s office along with his parents was absolutely worth it. “The next day was school roll call. In front of the whole school, four friends and I were reprimanded for skipping class. All five of us had been to the game. We were punished by having to clean the school after classes had finished. But by then, I didn’t care. I was 14, a boy who just wanted to watch this game and didn’t understand any of it. Even today, I remember this one game as if it were yesterday.” 

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