Berliner FC Dynamo
Though the story of East German football is a complicated one, there’s one thing everyone can agree on: Berliner Fussball Club Dynamo e. V. was its best representative. With ten straight DDR-Oberliga titles, they were the most successful club in East German history. After the reunification of Germany in 1990, BFC Dynamo quickly found itself in the lower tiers of the new football system and eventually faded into obscurity.
Stadion der Weltjugend (1954-1960)
Sportforum Hohenschönhausen (1961-1971)
BFC Dynamo began life in 1954, under the name of SC Dynamo Berlin. This club was originally known as Dynamo Dresden, but it was relocated to Berlin at the wishes of Erich Mielke, head of the Stasi. According to various sources, Mielke felt that Berlin -- as the capital of East Germany -- needed a strong football team to uphold its reputation. Despite its political backing, the team soon found itself in the shade of the army-sponsored ASK Vorwärts Berlin.
In 1965, Dynamo Berlin found itself in an even worse situation. After a dispute with Dynamo Schwering over a transfer of three players to Berlin, the relations between two Dynamo clubs grew increasingly tense. The following year, East German football was reorganized into eleven elite clubs that were meant to provide stability and supply the national team with talent. As part of the reorganization, Dynamo Berlin was reformed into Berliner FC Dynamo.
The Berliner era
With the support of Erich Mielke, BFC Dynamo was poised to become the flagship of East German football. They were given the best training facilities in the country, as well as the best staff and players from other teams. One of their biggest rivals, Vorwärts Berlin, was relocated to Frankfurt, solidifying BFC Dynamo’s position in the city. However, their title hopes were dealt another blow with the re-emergence of Dynamo Dresden.
Throughout the ‘70s, Dynamo Dresden and FC Magdeburg established themselves as the two leading clubs of East German football, with BFC Dynamo lagging behind. Once Dynamo Dresden won three straight championships from 1976 to 1978, Mielke had finally had enough. According to rumors, Mielke visited Dresden’s players during the title celebrations and said that he would prefer if BFC Dynamo were champions the following year.
Ten straight titles
From that point onwards, the Oberliga belonged to a single team. BFC Dynamo went on to win ten straight championships from 1979 to 1988. During this period, the team was often accused of match-fixing, which led to the German Football Association of the GDR conducting a secret study that aimed to shed light on these issues. The study found that BFC Dynamo was systematically favored by several referees, who later turned out to be Stasi informants.
By the time BFC Dynamo won its tenth straight title, many of its fans grew disillusioned by the club’s controversial reputation. Once Germany was reunited in 1990, the club changed its name to FC Berlin and admitted itself to tier III of the new German football system in an attempt to distance itself from its past. Without its political connections and their best players leaving for West German teams, the side was eventually relegated to the fifth tier of German football.
By Oscar Anderson
Berliner FC Dynamo
1954 The club is established (as SC Dynamo Berlin).
1966 The club is reformed into Berliner FC Dynamo.
1979 First time East German Champions.
1988 Winning the DDR-Oberliga for the tenth time in a row.
1990 The club is rebranded to FC Berlin.