Only the screens separate jurgen schmitt (51) and steffen standke (42) at their workplace. Until 1989, it was a concrete jungle far more than 1000 kilometers long. 30 years after the fall of the berlin wall, the two editors exchange their personal experiences on the sporting frontier.
Which (fubball) game was the first one you attended??
Steffen standke: it must have been 1987 when my grandfather took me to the match between BSG energie cottbus and armeesportclub frankfurt/oder in the oberliga, the highest gdr division. I was in row three, I still know that, and I was sad because the cottbusers lost 1:3. I was a soccer fan back then, but not a stadium goer. But my grandfather was allowed to have prepraised me, at that time. He was the kind of football fan who would leave his own birthday party and guests for a game of his favorite club. I managed to do that later…
Jurgen schmitt: my first bundesliga match must have been in the early 80s: unfortunately without any goals at the match of frankfurt's eintracht against bayern in the old waldstadion. In the meantime, european championship and world cup games are also part of my fubball portfolio.
Did you have a favorite team during the time when germany was divided?? For what reasons?
Steffen standke: my feelings weren't that sophisticated back then. But through my parents I realized indirectly that you have to find the stasi club BFC dynamo berlin stupid and dynamo dresden cool. The former were GDR subscription champions, but mostly failed internationally early on, while the dresdens often made it far in the european cup. My love affair with energie cottbus did not develop until the mid-1990s.
Jurgen schmitt: only one tv in the house and the father a fubball fan. Of course, what was on the TV on saturday evening. Without being interested in soccer to begin with, I spontaneously watched the 1. FC koln chosen as favorite team. I have remained loyal to the geibbock-elf to this day and have (almost) never regretted it.
Betting fraud and postponed games. Did you notice anything in the time before the turnaround??
Steffen standke: here, too, I have to say that I developed a certain sense of justice through my parents. So I was sometimes surprised that the BFC dynamo in close oberliga games in the 89th minute. He was awarded an eleven in the first minute, while other teams were not awarded even the clearest fouls or hand games. That the club of stasi boss erich mielke at the end of the season is at the top, was politically intended.
Jurgen schmitt: in the west there was the big bundesliga scandal in the 70s. But I only noticed all that much later. Good thing, otherwise I had already lost faith in the clean sport at that time. That the BFC dynamo was a very special club, I have in the late 80's also already noticed.
Dynamo and fortuna. Wismut and arminia. So some club names were already funny, or?
Jurgen schmitt: I only say activist black pump. I used to watch the sports program on DDR1 on late saturday afternoons before the sports show, until the results from the individual seasons of GDR soccer came in. There were other common club names. Steffen standke: I have to pass. As a child, I did not think about it.
1974. At the soccer world championship in the federal republic of germany, of all places, the GDR wins thanks to a goal by jurgen sparwasser.
Steffen standke: I was proud of this success of our small country until long after the fall of the wall. And also that argentina beat the DFB-elf 3:2 in the final 1986. At that time it was the class enemy. I was also still indifferent to the championship title at the 1990 world championship in italy. In 2014 that had changed fundamentally. I was fully in sympathy with jogi low's team and was really happy about mario gotze's 1:0. The GDR victory in 1974 is only history now. I can't do much with the ostalgia associated with it.
Jurgen schmitt: when i was six years old, i used to ring the neighbors' doorbells or do other nonsense with my buddies. Only a few years later I have registered all this. Whereas my memories of the world cup in my own country were limited for a long time to the final goals against holland and the water battle in frankfurt. The disgrace against the GDR I have probably simply suppressed. The ossis had defeated the class enemy, but we held the cup in our hands. Something for everyone.
You are also a soccer player, who did you emulate as a boy??
Steffen standke: I liked karl-heinz rummenigge and ulf kirsten, but also the GDR national keeper bodo rudwaleit. He showed great saves. Unfortunately, in a family with a musical orientation, I was not allowed to try out for a soccer club.
Jurgen schmitt: one of my heroes was pierre littbarski. Great fubballer and a real guy. I was happy when I was able to get an autograph at a friendly match of the kolner in munnerstadt. What the "east-imports" as far as I'm concerned, I've always been impressed by matthias sammer's will to win.
How has your favorite club developed in reunified germany??
Steffen standke: actually i can be satisfied. Did my FC energie, in GDR times a fahrstuhlmannschaft between 1. And 2. League, but 17 years in professional soccer can exist. Plus six brave seasons as the east's flagship team in the bundesliga. And that at a time when most of the clubs in the new bundeslander were dumping around at the bottom. But how verganglich success is, I see at present. The FCE doesn't even manage to stay in the third league.
Jurgen schmitt: we are only a carnival club. We were also under christoph daum, but at least then we were still a sporting power. Now the elevator goes up and down…
RB leipzig and union berlin? Are there any real east and west clubs left at all??
Steffen standke: quite honestly: the east-west distinction no longer makes sense to me 30 years after the fall of communism. Play nevertheless in east clubs wessis and vice versa. Often you don't know anymore who comes from where. But somehow I see such financial constructs like RB or hoffenheim critically, even if they score with good youth work. For me, however, they undercut such traditional clubs as lok and chemie leipzig represent. All in all, i have to say that there are still far too few clubs from the not-so-new federal states that have made it into professional soccer. And it just doesn't get any better…
Jurgen schmitt: I agree with the words of the previous speaker.
Gustav adolf schur and didi thurau. Michael grob and roland matthes. Who were the typical sports heroes of your time outside of soccer??
Jurgen schmitt: in fact i also got up once or twice for muhammad ali's fights. I was not a big boxing fan at all. Learning about it in school was probably more interesting than the whole fight. And of course the tennis boom that boris becker and steffi graf created. It was crazy what was shown on public television back then.
Steffen standke: I liked tave schur as a child, even though I didn't (yet) experience his active time. And when the peace ride stopped in cottbus at the end of the 1980s, i was there live. At that time olaf ludwig was my big idol. My interest for cycling has cooled down before the events of jan ullrich and the doping-stories. No idea why.
Were you already interested in olympics when you were young?? What do you think about the achievements of the other side??
Jurgen schmitt: i never understood how a country with a population of about 16 million could win so many more medals than a country that is four times as big. Then there were the olympic boycotts in the 80's. On the one hand, the olympics have always fascinated me. But at some point, it became clear to me that sports actually only play a minor role in the functional olympics.
Steffen standke: i was very proud that the small germany was in the medal table besides the "rough" games udssr and USA usually took third place. And I was happy to see that the federal german athletes mostly didn't do so well. As sport idols heike drechsler, marita koch, but also jens weibflog stood out for me. How the successes often came, I have not questioned at that time.
Back to football: what the ossi fan thought about the wessi fan – and vice versa?
Steffen standke: a difficult question. I was not interested for a long time. When the westerners lost to the easterners, everything was good.
Jurgen schmitt: I always had to smile when the GDR fans in international cup games said "we want to go on" shouted. I found that totally oldscool. In addition the funny trots. In the 80s, we had the incredibly loud gas and compressed air horns, which made us feel somehow superior.