Last updated
DDR Liga
DDR Verwaltungsbezirke farbig.svg
Replaced by 2nd Bundesliga
CountryEast Germany
Level on pyramid Level 2
Promotion to DDR-Oberliga
Relegation to II. DDR-Liga (1956–62)
Bezirksliga (15 regional leagues) (1951–55, 1963–90)
Last champions 1. FC Union Berlin
FSV Zwickau

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.




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 leagues

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-Liga

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:

Champions of the DDR-Liga


SeasonStaffel 1Staffel 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


SeasonStaffel 1Staffel 2Staffel 3
1954–55 Lok Stendal Fortschritt Weißenfels Motor Dessau
1955Fortschritt Meerane
1956Motor Jena
1957 SC Dynamo Berlin
1958 Chemie Zeitz
1959 Chemie Halle
1960 Turbine Erfurt
1961–62 SG Dynamo Dresden
SeasonStaffel NordStaffel Süd
1962–63Lok Stendal Motor Steinach
1963–64 SC Neubrandenburg SG Dynamo Dresden
1964–65Chemie HalleTurbine 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
1969–701. FC Union Berlin 1. FC Lokomotive Leipzig
1970–71 Vorwärts Stralsund FC Karl-Marx-Stadt


SeasonStaffel AStaffel BStaffel CStaffel DStaffel E
1971–72 TSG Wismar BFC Dynamo II Chemie Leipzig Motor Werdau Rot-Weiß Erfurt
1972–73Vorwärts StralsundBFC Dynamo II * Vorwärts Leipzig Dynamo Dresden II *Chemie Zeitz
1973–74Vorwärts Stralsund 1. FC Union Berlin Hallescher FC Chemie Chemie Böhlen Wismut Gera
1974–75 SG Dynamo Schwerin 1. FC Union BerlinChemie Leipzig Energie Cottbus Wismut Gera
1975–76 Hansa Rostock 1. FC Union BerlinHallescher FC Chemie IIMotor WerdauFC Carl Zeiss Jena II
1976–77Vorwärts Stralsund Stahl Hennigsdorf Chemie LeipzigChemie BöhlenWismut Gera
1977–78Hansa Rostock Vorwärts Neubrandenburg Chemie Leipzig Lok Dresden Stahl Riesa
1978–79 TSG Bau Rostock Vorwärts Frankfurt Chemie Leipzig Energie Cottbus Motor Suhl
1979–80Hansa Rostock Dynamo Fürstenwalde Chemie BöhlenEnergie CottbusWismut Gera
1980–81Schiffahrt/Hafen Rostock1. FC Union Berlin Chemie Schkopau Energie CottbusMotor Suhl
1981–82Vorwärts Stralsund1. FC Union BerlinChemie BöhlenStahl Riesa Motor Nordhausen
1982–83 Schiffahrt/Hafen Rostock Stahl BrandenburgChemie LeipzigStahl RiesaWismut Gera
1983–84Vorwärts NeubrandenburgStahl Brandenburg Vorwärts Dessau Sachsenring Zwickau Motor Suhl


SeasonStaffel AStaffel B
1984–85 1. FC Union Berlin Sachsenring Zwickau
1985–86BFC Dynamo II * Fortschritt Bischofswerda
1986–87Hansa RostockHallescher FC Chemie
1987–88Energie CottbusSachsenring Zwickau
1988–89Stahl EisenhüttenstadtFortschritt Bischofswerda
1989–90FC Vorwärts FrankfurtChemie Böhlen
1990–911. FC Union Berlin FSV Zwickau

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

Placements in the DDR-Liga 1985-1991

DDR-Liga Staffel A

DDR-Liga Staffel A1985198619871988198919901991
FC Hansa Rostock 1
Energie Cottbus 321
Stahl Eisenhüttenstadt 2107151
Vorwärts Frankfurt/Oder 31
Fortschritt Bischofswerda BBBB4
1. FC Union Berlin 121
Chemie Leipzig 310BBB
Chemie Guben 18112
Rotation Berlin 59112643
Bergmann-Borsig Berlin 85
Post Neubrandenburg 12151561196
Aktivist Schwarze Pumpe 911B12557
Lok Altmark Stendal 16188
Stahl Hennigsdorf 15149
Aktivist Brieske-Senftenberg 111651610
KKW Greifswald 69712611
Schiffahrt/Hafen Rostock 16177712
Lok/Armaturen / Rot-Weiß Prenzlau 1213171613
Motor Eberswalde 14
SG Dynamo Schwerin 141312891315
Motor Stralsund 1016
Vorwärts Dessau B53BBBB
Chemie Buna-Schkopau 13BBBBB
Chemie Velten *3
SG Dynamo Fürstenwalde *61429212
Kabelwerk Oberspree Berlin 1415
Motor Ludwigsfelde 1441317
Motor Schönebeck B131018
BFC Dynamo II *81534
Vorwärts Stralsund *744108
Aktivist Brieske-Senftenberg 16
Motor Babelsberg 3881117
Vorwärts Frankfurt/Oder II *107614
FC Hansa Rostock II18
ISG Schwerin Süd 1716
Stahl Walzwerk Hettstedt 17
TSG Bau Rostock 1518
Chemie Wolfen 18

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

DDR-Liga Staffel B

DDR-Liga Staffel B1985198619871988198919901991
Chemie Halle 221
FC Sachsen Leipzig *
Wismut Aue 2
Fortschritt Bischofswerda5151A
Sachsenring Zwickau 12141
Stahl Riesa 11311
Chemie Leipzig *AA662
Motor Suhl 1411103912
Chemie Böhlen *4331371
Aktivist Schwarze PumpeAA4AAAA
Vorwärts Dessau6AA32516
Stahl Thale 21463
Motor Karl Marx Stadt 111715104
Robotron Sömmerda 1811485
Wismut Gera 912895116
Chemie Markkleeberg 8131088177
TSG Meißen 78
Aktivist Borna 179
Motor Weimar 91314131210
Motor Nordhausen 7105151613
Kali Werra Tiefenort 17151715
Chemie Ilmenau 15181316
Motor Schönebeck6AAA
Chemie Buna-SchkopauA11771214
SG Dynamo Eisleben 1571615
Aufbau dkk Krumhermersdorf 1616
Union Mühlhausen 18
SG Dynamo Dresden II *361249
Motor Grimma 14491218
Fortschritt Weida 16
FC Carl Zeiss Jena II1051418
Glückauf Sondershausen 13817
FC Rot-Weiß Erfurt II1216
Wismut Aue II18

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

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