Uli Hesse on the fraught play-offs to reach the Second Bundesliga in 1991
4 June ~ Twenty-five years ago Hansa Rostock won the last-ever East German cup final, but that wasn’t the end of football in the GDR. After the German reunification, East German teams were distributed into the West German league pyramid. When the Bundesliga was formed in 1963 the clubs were admitted base on a ranking calculated over the previous 12 years, yet for the teams in the GDR’s Oberliga, it came down to how they performed over just one season.
Hansa Rostock and Dynamo Dresden took the two spots in the Bundesliga, but for two of the six places in the Second Bundesliga the mid-table Oberliga teams were involved in a play-off and, as Uli Hesse writes for DW, "those few games made the difference between remaining a professional club and sinking into the abyss that was amateur football". You can read about how the final days of East German football played out here.