Joachim Streich, 1951 - 2022 ⋆ An Old International

Joachim Streich, 1951 – 2022

Joachim Streich was one of the household names in GDR football, scoring goals galore.
With the premature passing away of Joachim Streich at the age of 71, football fans and particularly East German football fans mourn the loss of another great of the game. He was the GDR’s record international player with 102 caps and 55 goals. His exploits for club and country are impressive: a bronze medal at the Munich Olympics 1972, a sixth place finish at the 1974 World Cup, GDR cup winner 1978, 1979 and 1983, record scorer in the GDR Oberliga and in the national team, top scorer in the league in 1977, 1979, 1981 and 1983, footballer of the year 1979 and 1983. He captained the national team in his last international match in September 1984 at Wembley against England where the GDR narrowly lost 1-0.

His career began in his native town of Wismar at the Baltic Sea before he earned a call-up of local giants Hansa Rostock. It was here where he began his top-level career. However, his move to Magdeburg came about under what today must be seen as corrupt circumstances. In the last match of the 1974/75 season, Streich wasted a penalty for Rostock which sealed their relegation. As an international player he could not afford to play in the second division so he naturally wanted to move. His team of choice was Jena but the East German FA had the final word by “offering” him a move to Magdeburg or to stay put. With the Olympics and the European Championships just around the corner, the choice was made. It was not the worst as Streich continued just as before, scoring 13 goals the following season and immediately showed his worth. Thankfully, he was never seriously injured which meant he was always there. As a centre forward he knew where the goal was – his record of 229 goals for Rostock and Magdeburg is proof of that. From 1976 until 1985 Streich was always Magdeburg’s best goal scorer, something that no one has achieved ever since. Only Christian Beck came close.

Immediately after he stopped playing he swapped sides and forthwith coached Magdeburg. Under his guidance Magdeburg recorded their worst result since 1970 by finishing in 7th place. He left Magdeburg on an upward trajectory in 1990 when they finally had a team that could challenge for silverware. That season’s 3rd place was the best result Magdeburg was to achieve until 1997 but by then Streich was no longer working as a coach. He was one of the first to move westward in 1990 to coach Eintracht Braunschweig, then in the second division but was released of his duties with 11 games to go. His return to Magdeburg was short-lived; he was sacked in March 1992. His final stop as a coach was with FSV Zwickau in 1996/97 and managed to avoid relegation form Bundesliga 2. After that he retired definitely from football.

He was one of the most approachable former players possibly, as he worked in a sports store in Magdeburg and happily answered questions while people chose their new trainers or their kids tried out the latest football boots.
During the last years he has been a vocal critique of Magdeburg, particularly during the difficult seasons that followed Magdeburg’s relegation in 2019. He was widely criticized by many a fan for his opinions.

Streich, who suffered from Myelodysplastic syndrome, passed away on April 16, 2022 – a couple of days after his 71st birthday.

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