30 years since Ger­man reuni­fica­tion

A lucky break for Bayer 04


The Day of German Unity on 3 October is a special public holiday in 2020: On the 30th anniversary of reunification there will be a wide range of events across Germany. And Bayer 04 is dedicating a theme week to this turning point in German-German history. A multi-media series on bayer04.de makes it clear: The fall of the Berlin Wall was a lucky break for the Werkself.

The federal state of Brandenburg has been staging celebrations of the 30th Day of German Unity since 5 September. Up to 4 October there are a range of events and media productions under the title of ‘30 years – 30 days – 30 x Germany’. And Bayer 04 also want to remember this turning point in history. Because German-German football history was being written under the Bayer Cross before at any other Bundesliga club; no other club benefited as much from the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Lots of great players ‘from over there’

For example, the East Berliner Andreas Thom, Ulf Kirsten from Dresden and Mathias Stammann from Schwerin were all wearing the Werkself shirt on 3 October 1990. Lots of great players ‘from over there’ were to follow. Author Hermann Josef Weskamp wrote a very readable chapter on this special period in the Black and Reds club history two years ago.

Starting today (Monday), bayer04.de is highlighting the theme of ‘The Werkself and reunification’ from different perspectives over six days in a multi-media series. The following film provides a chronological representation of the special relationship between Bayer 04 and football players from East Germany – with scenes that many Werkself fans will have etched in their minds, that get under their skin or make them smile. An appetiser that is guaranteed to make you want more…

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The last GDR international

Over the course of the week, we look back at the last East Germany international on 12 September 1990. Heiko Scholz, the former Werkself player and DFB Cup winner from 1993, was in the starting eleven in the game against Belgium. ‘Scholle’ is proud to this day that he was in Brussels on doubly historic day – as one of just 14 players. 22 players turned down the call-up from the then national coach Eduard ‘Ede’ Geyer.

Götz remembers flight from the GDR

Falko Götz, UEFA Cup winner of 1988 and the first east German player at Bayer 04, talks about his adventurous flight from the GDR in November 1983, when he joined Dirk Schlegel in using the opportunity of a European Cup game for his former club Dynamo Berlin in Belgrade to flee from East Germany. Both found their new sporting home in Leverkusen.

Calmund curses Kohl

In an extensive interview, Reiner Calmund recalls the fall of the Berlin Wall on 9 November 1989 and his momentous experiences in Berlin two days later. The longstanding former general manager and managing director at Bayer 04 talks about his family roots in Thuringia, the ruses he employed in his transfer coups of signing Andy Thom and Ulf Kirsten and explains how he once cursed the then, and actually valued by him, Federal Chancellor Helmut Kohl.

Ostalgia with Rietpietsch

Mike Rietpietsch, who played for the Werkself for three years in the middle of the 1990s and provided the assist for Markus Münch to score the eternally crucial leveller at 1-1 in the ‘relegation final’ against Kaiserslautern in 1996 provides insights into his youth years growing up in Frankfurt an der Oder. What was life like at one of the infamous sports schools in East Germany? What privileges did he enjoy? What music did he listen to? And what was his experience of the turning point in Germany? That evokes a bit of ‘Ostalgia’…

Seven 'Ossis' for the Werkself

Seven players from the former workers’ and peasants’ state were in the squad under coach Dragoslav Stepanovic for the 1994/95 Bundesliga campaign. A strong eastern faction. Did cliques form, was their east versus west thinking or didn’t that matter by then? Jens Melzig, Mario Tolkmitt and René Rydlewicz talk about this part of the story.