Berlin, 30 years ago the fall of the wall - The history of Gotz and Schlegel: the away matches of the Champions Cup to escape to West Germany

Berlin, 30 years ago the fall of the wall - The history of Gotz and Schlegel: the away matches of the Champions Cup to escape to West Germany

They owned Dynamo Berlin, a Stasi-controlled team: they took advantage of a match in Belgrade to escape to Munich. The story of a daring escape and what it entailed in football terms

Falko Gotz and Dirk Schlegel were already in the west when the Berlin wall came down. On 9 November thirty years ago they were in retreat with their respective teams, the TV broadcast the images that were already making history and they looked incredulous and moved. The two friends, sons of the DDR of the sixties, had made the juveniles in Dinamo Berlin (linked to the Stasi, the main control body), and played in the first team in 1983 when the club was facing the first seasonal matches of the Champions Cup . Falko and Dirk both had relatives in the West and above all a great desire to go and earn more and chase sporting glory on the other side of the wall. In 1979, Lutz Eigendorf had left Dinamo, looking for luck in the Bundesliga. But four years later the footballer was found dead following a car accident organized by Stasi.

Gotz and Schlegel's secret plan was to escape during the round of 32 in Luxembourg. But the contact they had there failed to attend to the necessary paperwork. They did not abandon the idea. Dinamo would play in the following round with Partizan from Belgrade. The return was scheduled for November 2nd away. When the coach left his players an hour of free time in the Yugoslav capital, the two boys tried. They entered a Belgrade shop with their companions, secretly left a back door and ran at breakneck speed to get a taxi. The former refused to take them to the West German embassy, ​​the latter instead took the run. Here they organized the bus trip to Zagreb, then with two false documents they arrived by train to Munich via Ljubljana. When the game was played, the two players were already in the west. Instead of the owner Gotz, who had scored two goals in the cup, the coach lined up the eighteen-year-old Andreas Thom.

The contact of Falko and Dirk was now called Jorg Berger, a coach who had had them in the youth. In 1979 he left in the West and started working there. He took the boys to heart and acted as an intermediary to find them a club. They both signed with Bayer Leverkusen, although for a year they could only train without playing because Fifa had disqualified them. Gotz, the most talented, remained at Bayer until 1988, winning a UEFA Cup and becoming the top scorer of the same tournament two years later with Cologne. Thom, the attacker made to play in Belgrade in a hurry in place of Falko, in the next round with Roma will score a goal. Gradually he will become the owner of Dinamo and the national team. Born in 1965, he was the favorite player of Erich Mielke, head of Stasi and president of Dinamo. After the fall of the wall it was the first legal transfer of a player from a DDR team to a Bundesliga team, also for him the Bayer Leverkusen. He crossed the now non-existent border, without planning an escape like his companions had done six years earlier.

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