Twice “GDR footballer of the year”: Mourning for former GDR captain Bransch

Status: 06/12/2022 1:02 p.m

The former captain of the GDR national soccer team Bernd Bransch is dead. As his long-standing club Hallescher FC learned from the family, the 77-year-old died after a long illness.

The only World Cup participation by a GDR national soccer team is inextricably linked to the name of Bernd Bransch. First, the libero and captain shot the team coached by Georg Buschner almost single-handedly with his two goals in the 2-0 qualifier against Romania in the qualifier, then he led the GDR team onto the field as captain in West Germany.

The pictures of the pennant exchange with FRG captain Franz Beckenbauer before the only domestic German international match in Hamburg went around the world. Bernd Bransch died on Saturday (06/11/2022) at the age of 77 after a long illness, as his home club Hallescher FC learned from the family.

A real Halle resident

It’s a sad year for the football East and its former idols. With Bernd Bransch, the third extremely prominent actor of the “Golden Seventies” has died. Hans-Jürgen Dörner and Joachim Streich as well as the popular coach Gerd Schädlich had already left the world before the Halle player.

Bransch was a real Halle resident to the end. With one exception: Before the 1973/74 World Cup season, his HFC was relegated. In order to remain interesting for the national team, “Branscher” switched to FC Carl Zeiss Jena for a season and won the FDGB Cup with the Thuringians – his only title at club level.

Otherwise he played almost 300 times for SC Chemie Halle and the resulting HFC Chemie in the Oberliga. Bransch experienced his darkest hour in football in 1971 in the Eindhoven tragedy, when the HFC lost teammate Wolfgang Hoffmann in the devastating hotel fire.

Twice “GDR Footballer of the Year”

“On behalf of all members, active players, fans, sponsors, employees and committee representatives, I express our heartfelt condolences to the family of Bernd Bransch. It is up to all of us to remember our honorary member, one of the most important and important personalities of the association ambassador of the city of Halle and to continue his legacy”, said HFC President Jens Rauschenbach.

Bransch, who started as a striker and later moved into defence, embodied a confident defender with an eye for gaps. With his strong left leg, he scored many an important goal, such as Jena’s 3-1 cup win against Dynamo Dresden in 1974. Or the two goals against Romania, each from indirect free kicks after preliminary work by Peter Ducke. In total, Bransch scored 43 times in the Oberliga and three times for the national team.

Remained loyal to the HFC

He experienced his career highlights with the national team. Not only the World Cup participation in 1974 is in his vita. In 1972 he finished third at the Olympics before winning the Olympics in Montreal in 1976 crowned his career. However, he was no longer a regular player, Dörner had replaced him as libero and captain. In 1977, the two-time “GDR Footballer of the Year” ended his career.

After that, Bransch began studying economics engineering, was a city councilor for youth and sports in Halle and later became vice president of the city sports association in Halle. He remained loyal to his HFC: From 1983 to 1992 he was chairman or president of Halleschen FC, and at times also manager. From 2007 he was an advisor to the club and was still on the board of directors at the age of 70.