25. Januar 1951, Görlitz
1968–1986 Dynamo Dresden
392 appearances, 65 goals (DDR-Oberliga)
DDR-Meister: 1971, 1973, 1976, 1977, 1978
DDR-Pokalsieger: 1971, 1973, 1982, 1984, 1985
100 caps (9 goals)
Olympia Gold: 1976
Seemingly the greatest praise he could receive is not really his thing. Dixie Dörner is often called the 'Beckenbauer of the East'. His objection stems less from the fact that these words of appreciation for an icon of East German football reflect an inherently western perspective, but rather because he can claim with some confidence that he created his own style, one that had to do with "elegance, technical finesse and vision". The Beckenbauer comparison is not so far-fetched, then. For there are other similarities. Both made almost the same number of international appearances. Dörner played 100 times for the GDR national team, interpreting the sweeper role in his own inimitable fashion, a position his West German counterpart, the 103-times capped Beckenbauer, had initially made his own.
"Dixie was ahead of his time," says Matthias Sammer, who idolised Dörner as a child. "Today, he 'd be called a Guardiola player." The Spanish star coach likes footballers who can read a game, think ahead and anticipate what the opposition and their own team are going to do. Dörner brought all these qualities to the table at a time when football was still very much defined in terms of man against man. That he didn't wear himself down in tackle after tackle is probably the reason for his incredible consistency. Dörner was hardly ever injured, which allowed him to feature in about 90 per cent of the maximum number of games possible in the East German top flight between the age of 18 and 36. He had a similar record at international level, too.
Only once was he decisively sidelined. A bout of jaundice caused him to miss the 1974 World Cup, of all tournaments, and thus the historic encounter between West and East Germany and the matchup with Franz Beckenbauer, the - if you will - Dörner of the West. His greatest success on the field of play was still to come, however. Two years later, Dörner won gold with the GDR at the 1976 Olympic Games in Montreal.
Whether "Beckenbauer of the East" or "Guardiola player", one thing is certainly true of Hans-Jürgen Dörner - he is a Dynamo Dresden legend. The three-times East German Footballer of the Year played for no other club at senior level, making a total of 392 Oberliga appearances for the Saxony outfit and scoring 68 goals, a remarkable tally for a player who mainly operated from the back. By the way, no one remembers how he got the name "Dixie", not even him. Be that as it may. The other appellations are explanation enough.