Football

The remarkable story of Dynamo Berlin

Updated 1252 GMT (2052 HKT) January 14, 2016
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Welcome to the world of "Ossi" football. This is Berliner FC Dynamo's Sportforum stadium in Hohenschönhausen, deep in the east of the city. The district is famous for its Stasi jail. The club is also known as BFC Dynamo.

David Crossland
The interior of BFC's club headquarters hasn't changed much since the fall of communism. David Crossland
BFC manager Jörn Lenz, 46, a former midfielder for the club, stands next to photos of the team's past successes. BFC won East Germany's Oberliga for 10 successive years between 1979 and 1988. David Crossland
Bernd Brillat, 64, who played for BFC between 1966 and 1983, is pictured in the club's stadium. Today, he's the team's kit manager and still plays football. David Crossland
Former BFC defender Waldemar Ksienzyk said playing for the club "was a high point of my football career because we had a very good team and comradeship. It was a good life." David Crossland
The Trabant was produced in East Germany from 1957 to 1990 -- but some footballers in the country at that time were paid enough to be able to afford more luxurious modes of travel.
BFC players earned enough to afford a Russian-made Lada car, considered a luxury at the time. DANIEL MIHAILESCU/AFP/AFP/Getty Images
BFC was seen as being "owned" by the Stasi -- East Germany's secret police. Its biggest fan was Erich Mielke, the Minister for State Security for more than 30 years until the German Democratic Republic (GDR) collapsed in 1989. David Crossland/David Crossland
As well as being a keen BFC supporter, Stasi chief Mielke (center) was the club's honorary chairman and would refer to the players as "My Boys." Mielke is pictured standing behind German athlete Helga Haase, the first female Olympic speed skating champion, at a reception party. Express Newspapers/Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Mielke's office remains at the defunct Stasi headquarters in Berlin, which is now a museum. Because of BFC's Stasi connections, the club became synonymous with "referee manipulation." Odd Andersen/AFP/Getty Images
The former Stasi headquarters in East Berlin. "It emerged after the political transition that Dynamo, as the favorite club of Stasi chief Erich Mielke, received many benefits and in some cases mild pressure was applied in its favor," the German FA (DFB) says on its website. Courtesy Stasi Museum
A visitor looks at a display of video monitors once used by GDR border police. Former player Falko Gotz recalls that on BFC European away trips "there were Stasi officers there that didn't just accompany us as fans. When you're on the fourth floor of a hotel and there are two people sitting in front of the stairs all night, you know it's definitely not fans." Sean Gallup/AFP/Getty
It's 1968, and Berlin's Brandenburg Gate is seen through a swirl of barbed wire. BFC came to represent football power in the east of the divided city. AFP/AFP/AFP/Getty Images
On November 11, 1989, thousands of young East Berliners gather at the Berlin Wall near the Brandenburg Gate as they wait for a crossing into the West to be opened. The fall of East Germany meant the end of life as BFC had known it. GERARD MALIE/AFP/AFP/Getty Images
East German border guards demolish a section of the Berlin wall in order to open a new crossing point between East and West Berlin at the border line near the Potsdamer Square on November 11, 1989. Mielke was arrested and the Stasi disintegrated as furious protestors stormed its offices across the country. BFC's days as a powerhouse club were over. GERARD MALIE/AFP/AFP/Getty Images
People from East Germany greet citizens of West Germany at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin on December 22, 1989 as the border was opened. Bundesliga clubs rapidly lured away BFC's best players. PATRICK HERTZOG/AFP/AFP/Getty Images
BFC player Andis Shala gives instructions during a match against FSV Zwickau in 2014. The club is currently in the fourth tier of German football. Karina Hessland/Bongarts/Bongarts/Getty Images
Fans of the modern-day BFC Dynamo fly a huge flag at a Regionalliga Nordost match against FSV Zwickau in 2014. Karina Hessland/Bongarts/Bongarts/Getty Images