East Germany

The East Germany national team was one of three German teams that were founded shortly after the end of WWII. They represented the state of East Germany from 1952 until 1990, at which point they joined the DFB and reunited with West Germany. Though they’ve had some success at the Olympics, their only appearance at a major tournament was the 1974 World Cup.

Main trophies

Olympic football tournament: 1

Player records

Most games played: Joachim Streich (102)
Top goalscorer: Joachim Streich (55)




East Germany (also known as Germany DR) applied for FIFA membership in 1951. Despite some protests by the German Football Association, FIFA granted the GDR full membership in 1952. Their first official game took place the same year; they lost to Poland 0-3. In 1953, they played their first home game in front of 55,000 fans in Dresden, drawing 0-0 against Bulgaria.

The 1953 uprising in East Germany prevented the team from attempting to qualify for the 1954 World Cup, which was eventually won by West Germany. This led to the GDR giving up on their original idea of selecting players based on them being good role models for the new German state. From that point onward, players were chosen based on their ability, which contributed to East Germany becoming contenders to qualify for various major tournaments.

World Cup appearance

This strategy proved successful in 1974, with East Germany managing to qualify for a World Cup. Their initial group saw them drawn with Chile, Australia, and hosts West Germany; this was to be the first encounter between the two German teams on the senior level. In its first two matches, East Germany defeated Australia 2-0 and drew 1-1 with Chile, whereas their Western counterparts won both of their matches.

Even with both teams already qualified for the second round, the pre-match tensions were high. In a hard-fought game, East Germany triumphed 1-0 on a late winner from Jürgen Sparwasser, taking the first place in their group in the process. Ironically, this didn’t do much for their World Cup ambitions, as the victory placed them in a tougher second group with Brazil, Argentina, and the Netherlands.

In the second stage, the GDR predictably lost to Brazil and the Netherlands, though they did manage a 1-1 draw with Argentina in the final round. This saw them place third in their group and get knocked out of the tournament. Meanwhile, West Germany -- which had changed its lineup after the loss -- went on to cruise through their group and to their second World Cup title.

Later history

This would prove to be the only major tournament East Germany would take part in. The construction of the Berlin Wall in 1961 vastly reduced their selection options, as millions of East Germans moved to the West. The closest they would come to qualifying for another tournament was in 1990, where they only needed a draw against Austria to qualify for a World Cup. However, they lost the match 0-3.

The same year, the Berlin Wall was torn down, and the state of Germany was set to be reunited again. East Germany played its last official match against Belgium in September, less than a month before the official reunification date. They won 2-0.


FIFA World Cup results

East Germany has participated once in the World Cup (FIFA World Cup qualification not included). The period 1930-1950 and after 1990 are not included, see Germany FIFA World Cup results.

Table 1. East Germany's performances in the World Cup
Year Result Notes
1990 Not qualified  
1986 Not qualified  
1982 Not qualified  
1978 Not qualified  
1974 Second group Stage  
1970 Not qualified  
1966 Not qualified  
1962 Not qualified  
1958 Not qualified  
1954 Decline to participate  

UEFA European Championship results

East Germany has never qualified for the European Championship (Euro).

Table 2. East Germany's performances in the European Championship
Year Result Notes
1992 Decline to participate  
1988 Not qualified  
1984 Not qualified  
1980 Not qualified  
1976 Not qualified  
1972 Not qualified  
1968 Not qualified  
1964 Not qualified  
1960 Not qualified  

By Martin Wahl


East Germany national football team logoThe logo consists of a logo with blue background around an old-fashioned football in yellow color. The text "Deutscher Fussball Verband der DDR" is seen in the circle and abbreviated in the middle with larger letters. Deutscher Fussball Verband standing for "the football association" and DDR for Deutsche Demokratische Republik (in English: The (East) German Democratic Republic).

Image source:
1. Unknow
2. IOC
3. Bert Verhoeff / Anefo

4. Unknown