World Cup whisky and the Cold War: When East & West Germany met

East Germany’s Jurgen Sparwasser scored the wining procedure towards West Germany

A historical procedure, a perilous wager, whisky smuggled beyond the Iron Curtain and a indispensable person striker banished by secret police from his national team good-looking out prior to its most attention-grabbing 2nd.

A mighty series of events used to be place in movement after East Germany’s 1-0 victory over West Germany within the 1974 World Cup.

It used to be essentially the most attention-grabbing soccer match performed between the countries, two ideological opposites partitioned following the 2nd World Battle.

After the autumn of Nazi Germany, the Communist East grew to develop into a satellite recount of the Soviet Union, whereas the capitalist West used to be formed of occupation zones administered by The United States, Britain and France.

Till 1964, they competed within the Olympics collectively – because the United Group of Germany.

Nevertheless the East German-constructed Berlin Wall, erected three years earlier, used to be a signal of diminishing political heat, and when Erich Honecker took over leadership of East Germany’s most productive occasion in 1971, he launched that unification with the West used to be no longer an operate.

For years the East Germans rejected West German overtures to play soccer. It used to be seen as too a lot of a likelihood – there used to be a far bigger likelihood of defeat than in sports equivalent to swimming and weightlifting.

Nevertheless in a World Cup, there used to be no resolution.

“The officials had been hoping it wouldn’t be a disgrace,” says Hans-Jurgen Kreische, a softly-spoken worn Dynamo Dresden and East Germany striker who performed within the landmark game at Hamburg’s Volksparkstadion on 22 June 1974.

“The avid gamers did no longer in any case feel any stress though. On the contrary, we had been awaiting evaluating ourselves to the West.

“It used to be something we continually strived for, nonetheless the authorities constantly averted.”

Within the West Germany aspect had been captain Franz Beckenbauer and prolific striker Gerd Muller. They had been the host nation, and the European champions.

No surprise Hans Apel, then a month into his contemporary job because the country’s finance minister and a spectator at the community stage match, used to be in assured mood.

“I was quite particular we would beat them at least 3-0,” he acknowledged, speaking prior to his demise in 2011.

“I wasn’t enraged, I wasn’t worried. We had been very appropriate at soccer, and no-one knew the relaxation about them.”

The match grew to develop into out quite in a different way. Controlling a bouncing ball and chopping thru the West Germany defence, Magdeburg striker Jurgen Sparwasser struck with 12 minutes left to right victory for East Germany.

In step with Kreische, the game used to be performed in friendly conditions. Nothing fancy a derby between enemy states.

Afterwards, he and Apel would safe a fateful bump into.

“Following the final whistle the total avid gamers swapped shirts, even though we did no longer attain it on the pitch because officially it used to be forbidden,” Kreische says.

“Nevertheless we got on very effectively. We spoke the same language as a minimum. It used to be a exhausting nonetheless good-looking out fight.”

The capture gave East Germany high attach within the neighborhood, which perceived to in level of fact work in West Germany’s favour.

It intended they averted Brazil, Argentina and Netherlands within the 2nd community stage, touchdown among Poland, Sweden and Yugoslavia as an different.

The circus moved on. An exodus of fans, avid gamers and journalists headed to their next venues. For Apel, it used to be a return to the valid world of authorities within the West German capital Bonn, by potential of Dusseldorf.

Kreische used to be on the same flight, en route to Hanover, the attach defending champions Brazil lay in wait.

The two males sat next to at least one one more.

“He requested me who I was,” Apel recalled.

“‘I’m the Finance Minister of the Federal Republic,’ I acknowledged, and he laughed, so I confirmed him my identification card. He used to be astonished, even per chance somewhat bit afraid.

“I acknowledged to him, one component is in any case sure, West Germany will never capture the World Cup.

“Nevertheless he acknowledged to me ‘no, that’s completely grievous, you’re going to be the enviornment champion’.

“‘You are good-looking out talking nonsense’, I acknowledged. ‘Perhaps you are too polite to remark me how tainted this team is. Let’s accomplish a broad ******. Five bottles of whisky’.”

Kreische did no longer safe the potential to preserve whisky or ship it across the border, so that they agreed that nearly all efficient Apel would need to pay up if he lost.

The wager used to be place, and Kreische’s profession would get dangle of an irreversible turn.

West Germany did plod on to capture the World Cup, coming from a procedure correct down to beat Netherlands aspect 2-1 within the final in Munich.

East Germany had been eradicated from their intimidating 2nd community, shedding to the Dutch and Brazil, nonetheless managing a 1-1 blueprint with Argentina.

Once he used to be aid in Bonn after the match ended in July 1974, Apel requested his secretary to preserve him some bottles of appropriate whisky.

“I telephoned the ambassador of East Germany in Bonn, and I acknowledged to him ‘It’s possible you’ll per chance additionally get dangle of 5 bottles of whisky, and you may presumably additionally transport them please to Mr Kreische’.”

Right here’s how a diplomatic get dangle of containing so a lot of complications-worth of good-looking out scotch crossed one of essentially the most pleasing and harmful borders within the enviornment.

“I was terrified to get it first and essential because I did no longer in any case know Apel at all,” says Kreische.

“In Dresden we couldn’t get West German TV so we weren’t that effectively told. A amount of us, in conjunction with me, did no longer even know who he used to be.

“And it used to be completely forbidden to safe any contact with anybody in West Germany.

“Nevertheless I was allowed to get dangle of care of the bottles. I shared them with my chums. It used to be appropriate whisky. Dark and White.”

And there, for a number of weeks, the matter rested. Till a letter reached Apel’s attach of job.

“I got a typed letter – a recent letter,” Apel acknowledged.

“Kreische later told me it used to be written by the secret carrier, and he had to signal it.”

That secret carrier used to be the defective and pervasive Stasi, who infiltrated every fragment of East German society. They recruited informants, and informants to uncover on the informants. It will were impossible for Kreische no longer to take be conscious of the potential consequences of taking the whisky.

“I was anxious. I was indubitably responsive to the fact any individual would survey this affair, nonetheless I wasn’t exactly afraid,” he says.

“I had the kind of excessive self-discipline at Dynamo Dresden that I’ll per chance no longer in any case imagine being sacked or expelled from decent sport.”

He used to be grievous.

The whisky, to boot to a letter that Apel sent with the reward, had a devastating impact on Kreische’s profession.

“In my letter there stood a sentence which created extra concerns for him,” Apel acknowledged.

“It learn ‘I am hoping that we are succesful of meet as soon as more soon’. This created the affect there may wish been more than soccer talk about and a easy wager.”

In 1976, East Germany won the soccer gold medal at the Montreal Olympics. Nevertheless Kreische used to be absent. He followed their historical exploits from Dresden as an different.

“That twelve months Dynamo Dresden used to be the tip team of the country. We won the league title and the cup and I was the tip scorer, with 24 targets,” he says.

“After I learn my Stasi file in 2004, I now know that it used to be thanks to this wager that I wasn’t taken.

“The file acknowledged: ‘Sportsman Kreische is no longer acceptable to recount East Germany at the Olympic Games’.”

Two years later, at the age of 30, Kreische retired.

Nevertheless no matter missing out on an Olympic gold medal, he is serene very satisfied with his contribution to East German soccer history, and his 50 caps for his country.

“Why must I mourn or remorse something that came about so potential aid?

“Since then I met Apel and we grew to develop into in any case appropriate chums. He regretted that your total component had harmed me plenty.

“That I will be fragment of that 1974 World Cup used to be overwhelming. And that lets remark lets play appropriate soccer on the opposite aspect of Germany used to be elegant.”

The East Germany team in 1974. Sparwasser is first from the left on the aid row, Kreische three alongside
Apel served under chancellor Helmut Schmidt as finance minister between 1974-78, and as minister of defence between 1978-82
West Germany, captained by Franz Beckenbauer, beat Netherlands to capture the 1974 World Cup trophy
Kreische and his wife on the sidelines of an East Germany coaching session in 1974
Kreische now works as a scout for Bundesliga aspect RB Leipzig, following a seven-twelve months spell with Hamburg

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