The DDR-Liga (English: GDR League or East German League) was, prior to German reunification in 1990, the second level of football competition in the DDR (Deutsche Demokratische Republik or German Democratic Republic, commonly East Germany), being roughly equivalent to the 2. Bundesliga in West Germany.

DDR Liga
The East German Bezirke
Replaced by2nd Bundesliga
CountryEast Germany
Level on pyramidLevel 2
Promotion toDDR-Oberliga
Relegation toII. DDR-Liga (1956–62)
Bezirksliga (15 regional leagues) (1951–55, 1963–90)
Last champions1. FC Union Berlin
FSV Zwickau



The league was established with two divisions of ten teams each in 1950 as the level of play below the DDR-Oberliga, and as such was the second tier of the East German football league system. It remained the second tier in various configurations throughout its existence until it was disbanded in 1991.

The champion of each division was directly promoted to the Oberliga. While not having geographical "tags" attached to the division, Staffel 1 was originally equivalent to a Northern Division while Staffel 2 was the Southern Division. The system was not static however, clubs were often moved between groups to balance out league numbers, and sometimes also for political reasons. In the same way, clubs were also moved between cities out of a variety of reasons.

In its second season, the divisions were expanded to twelve teams each, the year after to thirteen and in 1953 to fourteen.

The year 1954 saw the creation of a third group, Staffel 3, making geographical categorizing more difficult, but essentially One was north, Two was south and Three was central.


The league system changed completely in 1955. East Germany followed the example of the Soviet Union and switched to a calendar year system, resulting in a shortened autumn competition for 1955 only with a single division, fourteen-team format. From the 1956 season the league continued to operate as a single division format with the top two teams gaining promotion.

After the 1960 season, the league reverted to the traditional system of playing from autumn to spring. This meant that the 1961-62 season, as a transition season, went through three rounds and each of the fourteen clubs played 39 games.

The year after, the league returned to two divisions, North and South, still with fourteen clubs each and the winners gaining promotion.

In 1963, the two divisions were expanded to sixteen clubs each.


After a lengthy period without changes to the system, the DDR-Ligas were revamped in 1971 when their number was increased to five with eleven teams in the C and D group and twelve teams in the other three. The year after, all five divisions had twelve clubs. The new system meant that not all league winners could be directly promoted. Instead, the five champions played a promotion round with the top two teams gaining entry to the Oberliga.

To a large extent, the five new divisions represented the pre-1950 states of East Germany, Brandenburg, Mecklenburg, Saxony-Anhalt, Saxony and Thuringia, which were all re-formed with the German reunification in 1990.

Until 1976, reserve teams of Oberliga clubs were permitted in the DDR-Liga. They were then banned from entering the second tier in order to increase the appeal of the leagues as attendance for matches involving reserve teams in Germany never were particularly high. This also resulted in the promotion round now definitely being played by the league champions. Previously, when one of the five divisions was won by a reserve team, the best placed first team from the division was entered in the promotion round.


The year 1984 saw the DDR-Liga revert to a two-group system, now with eighteen clubs per division and direct promotion for the champions again. Also, reserve teams were re-admitted to the league but still barred from promotion to the Oberliga.

The 1989-90 season was the last under the old East German system; in the following season the league operated under the name of NOFV-Liga, meaning Nordostdeutscher Fußballverband-Liga (English: Northeast German FA League). The majority of clubs moved away from their, mostly communist, background and adopted new or pre-DDR names. In its final season, 1990–91, the league was under the authority of the German Football Association (DFB), the (West) German Football Association. Reduced to sixteen clubs per division and without reserve teams now, the clubs played for qualification in the united German football league system from 1991. With the exception of the bottom two teams in each league, all clubs went to the new NOFV-Oberligas, the new tier 3 leagues in what were East Germany and West Berlin.

Current leaguesEdit

The NOFV-Oberliga Nord, the equivalent of the DDR-Liga Staffel A, and the NOFV-Oberliga Süd, the former DDR-Liga Staffel B, are in a geographical sense the continuation of the old leagues, covering the same regions, albeit not at the tier 2 level anymore, but as a tier 5 competition.

Leagues below the DDR-LigaEdit

For the most part of the existence of the DDR-Liga, the leagues below it were the 15 Bezirksligas. Those were introduced in 1952. For a brief period from 1955 to 1963, the 2nd DDR-Liga formed the third tier of the East German pyramid. This league, consisting of five regional divisions, was abolished again in 1963 and the Bezirksligas became the level immediately below the DDR-Liga again. In its last season, the newly recreated states of former East Germany introduced their own regional leagues, with the exception of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania and Berlin. Those still exist today. The Bezirksligas however have mostly either disappeared, changed their name or exist in a different format.

The fifteen Bezirksligas were:

  • Bezirksliga Schwerin
  • Bezirksliga Rostock
  • Bezirksliga Neubrandenburg
  • Bezirksliga Magdeburg
  • Bezirksliga Potsdam
  • Bezirksliga Berlin
  • Bezirksliga Halle
  • Bezirksliga Frankfurt/Oder
  • Bezirksliga Cottbus
  • Bezirksliga Gera
  • Bezirksliga Erfurt
  • Bezirksliga Suhl
  • Bezirksliga Dresden
  • Bezirksliga Leipzig
  • Bezirksliga Karl-Marx-Stadt

Champions of the DDR-LigaEdit


Season Staffel 1 Staffel 2
1950–51 Anker Wismar Wismut Aue
1951–52 Empor Lauter Motor Jena
1952–53 Fortschritt Meerane Einheit Ost Leipzig
1953–54 Chemie Karl-Marx-Stadt Vorwärts Berlin


Season Staffel 1 Staffel 2 Staffel 3
1954–55 Lok Stendal Fortschritt Weißenfels Motor Dessau
Season DDR-Liga
1955 Fortschritt Meerane
1956 Motor Jena
1957 SC Dynamo Berlin
1958 Chemie Zeitz
1959 Chemie Halle
1960 Turbine Erfurt
1961–62 SG Dynamo Dresden
Season Staffel Nord Staffel Süd
1962–63 Lok Stendal Motor Steinach
1963–64 SC Neubrandenburg SG Dynamo Dresden
1964–65 Chemie Halle Turbine Erfurt
1965–66 1. FC Union Berlin Wismut Gera
1966–67 1. FC Magdeburg Rot-Weiß Erfurt
1967–68 BFC Dynamo Stahl Riesa
1968-69 BSG Stahl Eisenhüttenstadt SG Dynamo Dresden
1969–70 1. FC Union Berlin 1. FC Lokomotive Leipzig
1970–71 Vorwärts Stralsund FC Karl-Marx-Stadt


Season Staffel A Staffel B Staffel C Staffel D Staffel E
1971–72 TSG Wismar BFC Dynamo II Chemie Leipzig Motor Werdau Rot-Weiß Erfurt
1972–73 Vorwärts Stralsund BFC Dynamo II * Vorwärts Leipzig Dynamo Dresden II * Chemie Zeitz
1973–74 Vorwärts Stralsund 1. FC Union Berlin Hallescher FC Chemie Chemie Böhlen Wismut Gera
1974–75 SG Dynamo Schwerin 1. FC Union Berlin Chemie Leipzig Energie Cottbus Wismut Gera
1975–76 Hansa Rostock 1. FC Union Berlin Hallescher FC Chemie II Motor Werdau FC Carl Zeiss Jena II
1976–77 Vorwärts Stralsund Stahl Hennigsdorf Chemie Leipzig Chemie Böhlen Wismut Gera
1977–78 Hansa Rostock Vorwärts Neubrandenburg Chemie Leipzig Lok Dresden Stahl Riesa
1978–79 TSG Bau Rostock Vorwärts Frankfurt Chemie Leipzig Energie Cottbus Motor Suhl
1979–80 Hansa Rostock Dynamo Fürstenwalde Chemie Böhlen Energie Cottbus Wismut Gera
1980–81 Schiffahrt/Hafen Rostock 1. FC Union Berlin Chemie Schkopau Energie Cottbus Motor Suhl
1981–82 Vorwärts Stralsund 1. FC Union Berlin Chemie Böhlen Stahl Riesa Motor Nordhausen
1982–83 Schiffahrt/Hafen Rostock Stahl Brandenburg Chemie Leipzig Stahl Riesa Wismut Gera
1983–84 Vorwärts Neubrandenburg Stahl Brandenburg Vorwärts Dessau Sachsenring Zwickau Motor Suhl


Season Staffel A Staffel B
1984–85 1. FC Union Berlin Sachsenring Zwickau
1985–86 BFC Dynamo II * Fortschritt Bischofswerda
1986–87 Hansa Rostock Hallescher FC Chemie
1987–88 Energie Cottbus Sachsenring Zwickau
1988–89 Stahl Eisenhüttenstadt Fortschritt Bischofswerda
1989–90 FC Vorwärts Frankfurt Chemie Böhlen
1990–91 1. FC Union Berlin FSV Zwickau

Source: "DDR-Liga". Das deutsche Fussball-Archiv. Retrieved 4 March 2008.

  • bold denotes club gained promotion.
  • In 1973, the runners-up Energie Cottbus (Staffel B) and Stahl Riesa (Staffel D) were promoted as the champions of these two leagues were reserve teams and therefore ineligible for promotion.
  • In 1986, the runner-up Energie Cottbus was promoted instead.

Placements in the DDR-Liga 1985-1991Edit

DDR-Liga Staffel AEdit

DDR-Liga Staffel A 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991
FC Hansa Rostock 1
Energie Cottbus 3 2 1
Stahl Eisenhüttenstadt 2 10 7 15 1
Vorwärts Frankfurt/Oder 3 1
Fortschritt Bischofswerda B B B B 4
1. FC Union Berlin 1 2 1
Chemie Leipzig 3 10 B B B
Chemie Guben 18 11 2
Rotation Berlin 5 9 11 2 6 4 3
Bergmann-Borsig Berlin 8 5
Post Neubrandenburg 12 15 15 6 11 9 6
Aktivist Schwarze Pumpe 9 11 B 12 5 5 7
Lok Altmark Stendal 16 18 8
Stahl Hennigsdorf 15 14 9
Aktivist Brieske-Senftenberg 11 16 5 16 10
KKW Greifswald 6 9 7 12 6 11
Schiffahrt/Hafen Rostock 16 17 7 7 12
Lok/Armaturen / Rot-Weiß Prenzlau 12 13 17 16 13
Motor Eberswalde 14
SG Dynamo Schwerin 14 13 12 8 9 13 15
Motor Stralsund 10 16
Vorwärts Dessau B 5 3 B B B B
Chemie Buna-Schkopau 13 B B B B B
Chemie Velten * 3
SG Dynamo Fürstenwalde * 6 14 2 9 2 12
Kabelwerk Oberspree Berlin 14 15
Motor Ludwigsfelde 14 4 13 17
Motor Schönebeck B 13 10 18
BFC Dynamo II * 8 1 5 3 4
Vorwärts Stralsund * 7 4 4 10 8
Aktivist Brieske-Senftenberg 16
Motor Babelsberg 3 8 8 11 17
Vorwärts Frankfurt/Oder II * 10 7 6 14
FC Hansa Rostock II 18
ISG Schwerin Süd 17 16
Stahl Walzwerk Hettstedt 17
TSG Bau Rostock 15 18
Chemie Wolfen 18

Source: "DDR-Liga". Das deutsche Fussball-Archiv. Retrieved 15 March 2008.

  • Names shown are the ones the clubs carried over most of these seasons, not necessarily the ones they carried in the last two seasons or their current ones.
  • denotes club played in the DDR-Oberliga.
  • B denotes club played in the Staffel B that season.
  • In 1990, BSG Chemie Velten and SG Dynamo Fürstenwalde withdrew from the league.
  • In 1989, BFC Dynamo II and Vorwärts Stralsund withdrew from the league.
  • In 1988, Vorwärts Frankfurt/Oder II had to withdraw from the league because the first team was relegated.

DDR-Liga Staffel BEdit

DDR-Liga Staffel B 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991
Chemie Halle 2 2 1
FC Sachsen Leipzig *
Wismut Aue 2
Fortschritt Bischofswerda 5 1 5 1 A
Sachsenring Zwickau 1 2 1 4 1
Stahl Riesa 11 3 11
Chemie Leipzig * A A 6 6 2
Motor Suhl 14 11 10 3 9 12
Chemie Böhlen * 4 3 3 13 7 1
Aktivist Schwarze Pumpe A A 4 A A A A
Vorwärts Dessau 6 A A 3 2 5 16
Stahl Thale 2 14 6 3
Motor Karl Marx Stadt 11 17 15 10 4
Robotron Sömmerda 18 11 4 8 5
Wismut Gera 9 12 8 9 5 11 6
Chemie Markkleeberg 8 13 10 8 8 17 7
TSG Meißen 7 8
Aktivist Borna 17 9
Motor Weimar 9 13 14 13 12 10
Motor Nordhausen 7 10 5 15 16 13
Kali Werra Tiefenort 17 15 17 15
Chemie Ilmenau 15 18 13 16
Motor Schönebeck 6 A A A
Chemie Buna-Schkopau A 11 7 7 12 14
SG Dynamo Eisleben 15 7 16 15
Aufbau dkk Krumhermersdorf 16 16
Union Mühlhausen 18
SG Dynamo Dresden II * 3 6 12 4 9
Motor Grimma 14 4 9 12 18
Fortschritt Weida 16
FC Carl Zeiss Jena II 10 5 14 18
Glückauf Sondershausen 13 8 17
FC Rot-Weiß Erfurt II 12 16
Wismut Aue II 18

Source: "DDR-Liga". Das deutsche Fussball-Archiv. Retrieved 15 March 2008.

  • Names shown are the ones the clubs carried over most of these seasons, not necessarily the ones they carried in the last two seasons or their current ones.
  • denotes club played in the DDR-Oberliga.
  • A denotes club played in the Staffel A that season.
  • In 1990, Chemie Leipzig and Chemie Böhlen merged to form FC Sachsen Leipzig.
  • In 1989, SG Dynamo Dresden II withdrew from the league.

See alsoEdit

External linksEdit