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East football icon Streich is dead: the most extraordinary striker in the GDR

East football icon Streich is dead
The most extraordinary striker in the GDR

Three months after the death of the legendary Hans-Jürgen Dörner, the football East mourns the loss of its next icon. Joachim Streich, the once brilliant striker, lost the fight against his serious illness at Easter. Because of his slyness, he was often compared to Gerd Müller.

On Easter Monday, a few flowers were laid at the Magdeburg stadium, some fans lit candles and stuck goodbye letters in the fence. The message was always the same: “Rest in peace, Achim”. Not only has 1. FC Magdeburg lost a club legend in Joachim Streich, but the whole of East has lost another football idol just three months after the death of Hans-Jürgen Dörner. On the night of Saturday, the record player in the GDR succumbed to his serious illness at the age of 71.

Streich will no longer experience the imminent rise of his 1. FC Magdeburg, in which he once stormed alongside Jürgen Sparwasser. A book of condolences will be available shortly. It will be a strange mix of sadness and joy if FCM manages to return to the second division in their own stadium on Sunday.

“We had hoped to the last. He was seriously ill for a long time. In the past few weeks things have been going up and down,” said his wife Marita Streich. Her husband, whom she met in 1970 and married a year later, suffered from myelodysplastic syndrome, which in the worst case can lead to blood cancer. Streich has been in treatment for the past few weeks for advanced anemia and had to postpone a stem cell transplant due to pneumonia.

“My applause was certain for him during his lifetime”

His former national team colleague Ralf Minge was shocked. “It is tragic and incredibly sad that, after Dixie Dörner, three months later, Achim Streich, another world-class player from the GDR, left the stage of life too early. He was sure of my applause even during his lifetime and I was proud to be part of the 100 . International match of the top scorer legend at Wembley Stadium to have been on the lawn,” said Minge of the dpa. “Achim Streich was not only an outstanding striker, but also extremely entertaining with stories and valuable advice that accompanied me throughout my career.”

Streich, nicknamed “Strich” because of his powerful shot, made 102 international appearances and scored 55 goals in the GDR jersey. In addition, there are 229 goals in 378 games in the Oberliga – records for eternity. The boy from the Hanseatic city of Wismar initially snapped under the radar. The association didn’t notice the teenager’s accuracy and so he switched to FC Hansa Rostock voluntarily at the age of 16. Streich was allowed to live in the boarding school, but was not fed. Finally, the older roommates helped out the attacker, who was to become the most extraordinary striker in the GDR in his career, with food stamps.

From 1967 to 1975 Streich played for FC Hansa, but luckily for him in Magdeburg he was forced to play after Rostock’s relegation. “I wanted to continue playing in the Oberliga and switch to FC Carl Zeiss Jena. The club was very professional, there was already agreement with coach Hans Meyer. They also found a job in Jena for my wife,” Streich told the German press agency briefly reported before his 70th birthday. But the association straddled and delegated Streich to FCM. This did not detract from his performance. Streich was top scorer in the GDR Oberliga four times and won the FDGB Cup three times with FCM. Because of his slyness, he was often compared to Gerd Müller, for many Streich was the “Gerd Müller of the East”.

100th international match at Wembley Stadium

“Of course we watched the Bundesliga on Saturday evening in the sports show. Gerd Müller was also a role model for me because of his brilliant goals,” said Streich, who won Olympic bronze with the GDR selection in 1972 and took part in the 1974 World Cup: “It There were many great moments, both nationally and internationally, but my 100th international match at London’s Wembley Stadium remains particularly fond in my memory.”

Despite these impressive numbers, Streich was often criticized throughout his career. In the “Fuwo”, the GDR’s football journal, which often sold out quickly, Streich’s achievements were often criticized. “Jürgen Croy always wanted to build me up morally afterwards. So I said to him: “Jürgen, you don’t have to lift me up. I know I’m the best here,” said Streich.

Streich lived near Magdeburg until the end. Escape from the republic was never an option. In terms of sport, Streich was convinced that he would have done it: “I think, and the comparisons with the West German teams have shown that I would have prevailed in the Bundesliga.”

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