Let’s Go Metz explored 1. FC Kaiserslautern on Sunday 31 July in the first round of the German Cup. This historic German football club can count on ardent and loyal supporters who can sometimes be seen near Saint-Symphorien. Reportage.
If you visit the East Stand at Stade Saint-Symphorien, you may already have come across a handful of German-speaking supporters, wearing the colors of 1. FC Kaiserslautern. And with good reason! For twenty years, a friendship has been forged between Horda Frenetik and Generation Luzifer, one of the club’s ultra groups nicknamed Die Roten Teufel (The Red Devils, Everything Explained). In fact, just under 132 km separate the cities of Metz and Kaiserslautern. Thus, many are the most passionate supporters who sing for both teams every weekend. Destroyed during World War II, Kaiserslautern has no real tourist center. Ultimately, the main attraction of Caseloutrins is their football team.
Especially since 1. FC Kaiserslautern is a historic German football club. With four German championship titles (1951, 1953, 1991, 1998), two German championships (1990, 1996) and two UEFA Cup semi-finals (1982, 2001), the Red Devils weigh on the Rhine. FCK has known emblematic players such as Michael Ballackthe snake Your Djorkaefftop scorer in World Cup history Miroslav Kloseor Andreas Brehme. We can also mention the old Messines Jeff Strasser and Georges Mandjeck. The club now sits at the 49,850-seat Fritz-Walter-Stadion, which takes its name from the top scorer and most played player in the club’s history, Fritz Walter with his 541 goals in 511 games. Excuse me a bit. All this piqued our curiosity, so we took the road to Kaiserslautern, Sunday 31 July, where we could enjoy a really cozy atmosphere.
1. FC Kaiserslautern’s fall and comeback
that 1. FC Kaiserslautern ate his black bread for years. Just like FC Metz in 2012, the Rheinland-Pfalz club experienced the third division for the first time in its history, in 2018. Plagued by serious financial concerns, FCK avoided filing for bankruptcy in May 2019 by organizing a friendly match gala against Bayern Munich. Even worse, the club, which is nevertheless one of the founders of the Bundesliga, chained three seasons more than the average in the 3. Bundesliga, without going further than 9th place. A heresy for this giant of German football.
But everything comes at the right time to those who know how to wait. After (finally) a great season and a 3rd place in the 3rd Bundesliga, the 1. FC Kaiserslautern rises in the playoffs against Dynamo Dresden, another high-sounding name in German football. A step raised the hands down for the men from Dirk Schuster, which therefore finds the 2. Bundesliga for the first time since 2018. What to get a little closer to the acceptable standards of FCK. A relief for the club, which can count on the support of almost 40,000 supporters at every home game. We are far from the crowds of Villefranche Beaujolais in National 1!
A test against SC Freiburg
After an interesting start to the championship (1 win and 1 draw), Die Roten Teufel measured each other in Sunday’s match SC Freiburg, solid formation of the Bundesliga. Messi’s former teammates Kilian Sildillia even finished the financial year 2021-2022 in a good 6th place and thus qualified for the Europa League. A life-size test therefore for FCK, but a trap game for the residents of the Black Forest. Actually the tradition with DFB Cup want Bundesliga clubs to challenge lower tier clubs very early in the season (in July in this case) in the first round of the cup. Thus, surprises are not uncommon for D2 or D3 clubs.
Driven by almost 38,000 fans, and a crazy Westkurve, FCK almost toppled the former club Papiss Cisse. At half an hour, Marlon Ritter shared with a stroke of genius, a lob from midfield (hello Wahbi Khazri) that deceived Mark Flekken (1-0, 32′). The Red Devils showed unfailing rejection, even offering themselves several 2-0 balls, against. But the visitors would end up enforcing the logic. Roland Salai first sent all these beautiful people into overtime (1-1, 82′), before the coup d’état. With a well-placed free kick, the Japanese got Ritsu Doan gave victory to SC Freiburg (1-2, 111′)to the delight of the impressive visitor car park.
A real heartbreaker for the locals, who had put in a very brave performance. A defeat that did not appease the FCK supporters, who continued to sing in praise of their team for long minutes after the match. Die Roten Teufel will undoubtedly once again make their fans blush with delight and make an entire city proud if they string together these kinds of performances in the league. In the end, isn’t that the very essence of football?
Image credit : Arthur Carmier/LGM