Joachim Streich has died. The record national player in the German Democratic Republic and record goalscorer in the GDR Oberliga passed away three days after his 71st birthday after a serious illness.
Streich’s family confirmed this to the MDR. “We had hoped to the last. He was seriously ill for a long time. It’s been up and down in the past few weeks,” his wife Marita Streich told the German Press Agency.
In the last year his health had deteriorated, most recently he was being treated for advanced anemia. A helping stem cell transplant had to be postponed a few weeks ago because of pneumonia.
Records for eternity
In Streich’s active time as a player, things didn’t always go according to plan, but the two-time GDR footballer of the year (1979, 1983) was one of the world’s best strikers at the time. In 102 selection games, he scored 55 times (98 games and 53 goals according to the FIFA version), and he scored 229 goals in 378 league games – all records for eternity.
beginnings on the coast
Streich’s successful career began at BSG Aufbau in Wismar, where he was born near the shipyard. From the start he only knew one direction: the opponent’s goal. In 1967, at the age of 16, he moved to FC Hansa Rostock – without the delegation procedure that was common at the time.
There, the only 1.73 meter tall prank matured to the terror of the opposing defenders and to the national player, as an 18-year-old he completed his first senior international match. In 1975, the striker said goodbye to Rostock with a missed penalty in the last game of the season against Vorwarts Stralsund. FCH was relegated and Streich wanted to switch to FC Carl Zeiss Jena.
Magdeburg instead of Jena for Streich
But the association straddled and delegated Streich to 1. FC Magdeburg. This did not detract from his performance. “Strich”, as he was called at the time, was top scorer in the GDR Oberliga four times and won the FDGB Cup three times with FCM. Because of his slyness, Streich was often compared to Gerd Müller.
Without detours from the player to the coach
Despite his many trips abroad, the goal-getter never thought of leaving the GDR. “I didn’t have the guts, and after marrying Marita and the birth of our daughter Nadine, fleeing the republic was not an option for me anyway. I also loved playing football in the GDR,” Streich emphasized in a documentary on his 70th birthday . “But I think, and the comparisons with the West German teams have shown that, that I would have prevailed in the Bundesliga.”
Immediately after the end of his playing career, Streich was appointed head coach of 1. FC Magdeburg in 1985 – again against his will.
Comparatively short coaching career
After the fall of the Wall in 1990, it went to the then second division team Eintracht Braunschweig, where Streich was released eleven games before the end of the season. After a short interlude at FSV Zwickau, which he had saved from relegation from the 2nd Bundesliga in 1997, he retired from the football business.
Most recently, Streich was battling an illness: myelodysplastic syndrome, which causes anemia. Streich was treated with blood transfusions in Magdeburg, and a stem cell transplant was to follow in March. Everything was prepared, then Streich caught pneumonia. Now Streich has lost this fight.