Legend Joachim Streich († 71): How a penalty was his undoing

The East’s greatest scorer died on Saturday after a long illness. But Joachim Streich († 71) lives on in the hearts of many football fans. BILD tells the story of the GDR record national player in a series.

Part 1: The early years and his breakthrough at Hansa Rostock.


A row house settlement in Wismar. Streich was born here on April 13, 1951, just a stone’s throw from the Mathias Theses shipyard.

Football and him – always a special connection. Stones, tin cans, balls – nothing was safe from his feet. And if a basement window broke in the neighborhood, the “culprit” was quickly identified.

A football field kid who later joked: “I was already working on my shooting accuracy back then. But I think the neighbors forgave me for that long ago.”

At the FCM game in Paderborn, players and fans thought of Streich. There was also mourning in Rostock at the same timePhoto: picture alliance / Eibner-Presse

At the age of 15, he switched to the Hansa boarding school via TSG Wismar. Helmut Hergesell (80) was his first coach there. He says: “It was clear to me from the first moment that he would go his own way. Left foot, right foot. He had great technique for his age. And strong in the air. He was the type of striker who was unpredictable and callous in front of goal.”

Hergesell’s predictions became reality just a year later. On August 23, 1969, “Strich” made his debut in the 0:2 against Dresden in Hansa’s Oberliga team. The start of a dream career!

Regular player, permanent top scorer and national team player. Until 1975, his place as center forward was untouchable. And yet his time ended curiously after 141 league games and 58 goals.

Munich 1972: Streich (l.) In the group stage match against the eventual Olympic champion Poland.  The GDR selection won bronze in the end

Munich 1972: Streich (l.) In the group stage match against the eventual Olympic champion Poland. The GDR selection won bronze in the endPhoto: Karl Schnörrer/dpa

May 24, 1975: Hansa has to go to Stralsund for the relegation final, needs a win to save. When the score was 1-1, Streich, who had previously been in contact with Jena coach Hans Meyer (79), scored a penalty. Rostock dismounts. The Hansa fans pissed off suspect a conspiracy.

Her accusation: Streich is said to have missed on purpose because he wanted to go to a club with European ambitions. Hergesell, who was Hansa head coach at the time: “Absolute nonsense. No footballer and no man of honor like Achim Streich would intentionally miss a penalty.”

A few weeks later he was delegated anyway – just not to Jena…


In Part 2 you can read: His mega successes in Magdeburg.


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