One of the architects of this relationship is Hans-Jürgen Dörner. ‘Dixie’, as he is still called today, dictated the Dynamo style of play from 1968 to 1986, winning five GDR league championships and four GDR cup competitions with them. “Dresden has always been a footballing city,” he says. Helmut Schön, who was the manager of West Germany when they won the World Cup in 1974, played for the city’s other (and older) team, Dresdner Sportclub, when it won the German league championship in 1943 and 1944. Dörner describes the city’s relationship with Dynamo today as one of “great affection”.
Dörner was one of those players who helped to establish the club’s reputation for elegant play, as befits the artistic sensibilities of the city and its inhabitants. There was always more at stake than football when Dresden played against the record GDR championship winners from East Berlin, who also went by the name of Dynamo (BFC Dynamo). Because while the Dresden style of play was admired even by neutrals, it was rumoured that BFC’s successful championship campaigns were due to government favouritism and intimidation of referees, a reputation that the club found difficult to shake off with Erich Mielke, head of the East German Stasi, allegedly pulling the strings behind the scene.
The Rudolf Harbig Stadium, as it was officially known in that era, would resound to hostile chants directed at BFC and, by extension, against the political system.