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1. Fussball-Club Kaiserslautern, also known as 1. FCK or simply FCK, is a Germanmarker football club based in Kaiserslauternmarker, Rhineland-Palatinatemarker. On 2 June 1900, Germania 1896 and FG Kaiserslautern merged to create FC 1900. In 1909, the club went on to join FC Palatia (founded in 1901) and FC Bavaria (founded in 1902) to form FV 1900 Kaiserslautern. In 1929 they merged with SV Phönix to become FV Phönix-Kaiserslautern before finally taking on their current name three years later.


Early years to World War II

Two of the clubs predecessors, Bavaria and FC 1900, were part of the new Westkreis-Liga (I) when this league was formed in 1908, with the later taking out the first league title there. From 1909 onwards, the new FV Kaiserslautern performed well in this league, finishing runners-up in 1910 and 1912. The team passed largely unremarked through the following years, it reached the tier-one Kreisliga Saar in 1919, the Kreisliga Pfalz in 1920 and the Bezirksliga Rhein-Saar in 1931 and spent the rest of the 30's bouncing up and down between the Bezirksliga and the upper level Gauliga Südwest, one of sixteen top flight divisions formed in the re-organization of German football under the Third Reich.

The club's performance was indifferent in the years leading up to World War II, but improved after 1939. They captured the Gauliga Südwest/Staffel Saarpfalz title, but lost the overall division title to Staffel Mainhessen winners Kickers Offenbach. In the 1941-42 season the Gauliga Südwest was split into the Gauliga Hessen-Nassau and the Gauliga Westmark, and Kaiserslautern took the Westmark title, going on to play for the first time in the national final rounds. They were decisively put out 3:9 by eventual champions FC Schalke 04, the dominant side in this era of German football.

The performance of the team slipped and they finished last in their division in 1944. The following year saw the collapse of league play in this part of Germany as the Reich crumbled under the advance of Allied armies.

Postwar play

After the war, southwestern Germany was part of the occupation zone held by the French. Teams there were organized into northern and southern divisions and played to determine which of them would join the new Oberliga being put together. French authorities were slow to loose their control over play in their zones of occupation – in the Saarlandmarker in particular – and teams in those areas were longer in joining the re-established German national league. 1. FC Kaiserslautern resumed play in the Oberliga Südwest in 1945 and finished the season just one point behind 1. FC Saarbrücken. The next season they easily won the Gruppe Nord in 1947 due in large part due to the play of Fritz Walter and his brother Ottmar: the duo scored 46 goals between them – more than any other single team.

Historical logos of 1.
FC and its predecessors.
PC Palatia ca. 1901, FV Kaiserslautern (2) ca. 1909-1929, SV Phönix ca. 1910-1929, FV Phönix ca. 1929-1931, and 1.
FC 1932-1955(?) and 1955(?)-1969.

Success in the '50s and entry to the Bundesliga

This marked the beginning of the club's dominance of the Oberliga Südwest as they went on to capture the division title eleven times over the next twelve seasons. FCK advanced to Germany's first post-war national final in 1948, but lost 1:2 to 1. FC Nuremberg.

Kaiserslautern became a presence on the national scene through the early 50's, capturing their first German championship in 1951 with a 2:1 victory of their own, this time over Preussen Münster. They won a second title in 1953, followed by two losing final appearances in 1954 and 1955. The club also sent five players to the national side for the 1954 World Cup which West Germanymarker won in what became popularly known as The Miracle of Bern.

Kaiserslautern's performance fell off late in the decade and into the early 60's, highlighted only by an advance to the 1961 German Cup final, where they lost 0:2 to Werder Bremen. The side recovered its form in time to again win their division on the eve of the formation in 1963 of the Bundesliga, Germany's new professional football league. This secured them one of sixteen places in the new top flight circuit. However, the club's next honours would be some time in coming: they made failed German Cup final appearances in 1972, 1976, and 1981 before finally winning in the Cup in 1990. They followed up the next season with their first Bundesliga championship.

Fall from the top flight

1. FCK won a second German Cup in 1996, but that victory was soured since the team was relegated to 2.Bundesliga with a 16th place finish just one week before the Cup Final. At the time, Kaiserslautern was one of only four of the original sixteen teams that had played in each Bundesliga season since the inception of the league, never having been relegated. This group included Kaiserslautern, Eintracht Frankfurt who went down in the same season, 1. FC Köln down in 1998, and "the Dinosaur", unrelegated Hamburger SV.

The Red Devils came storming back in 1998 with an accomplishment unique in Bundesliga history by winning re-promotion to the first division from the 2.Bundesliga and immediately going on to win the national championship under famous coach Otto Rehhagel. They also played in 1998–99 UEFA Champions League in the same group with PSV Eindhoven, SL Benfica and HJK Helsinki.

The club found itself in serious trouble soon after. The construction of a new stadium, incompetent management and financial misdeeds resulted in a heavy debt load and the fielding of incapable sides built out of anonymous mercenary players. In 2002, Kaiserslautern found itself on the brink of bankruptcy and at the centre of controversy being played out publicly. The club's management – Jürgen Friedrich, Robert Wieschemann and Gerhard Herzog – were forced out. A new team president, Rene C. Jäggi, sold the debt-ridden Fritz-Walter-Stadion to an entity owned by the Land Rheinland-Pfalz and the city of Kaiserslautern, thus saving the club from financial disaster, while a new coach, Erik Gerets, led a run after the winter break that moved the footballers out of last place and saved them from relegation.

The club started the 2003-04 season under the burden of a three-point penalty imposed by the DFB (Deutscher Fußball-Bund or German Football Association) for its financial misdeeds. After a faltering start to the season, Gerets was fired and replaced by Kurt Jara. Jara was unpopular with the FCK faithful for his defensive soccer philosophy, but with him at the helm, the club had a safe season. However, Jara quit the position before the season ended, citing irreconcilable differences with club management.


In 2005, Michael Henke, who served as long-time assistant to Germany's most successful coach Ottmar Hitzfeld, became coach. FCK was initially successful, but then suffered a string of reverses and crashed to the bottom of the table. Henke was fired, and FCK alumnus Wolfgang Wolf took up the trainer's role. Wolf brought in many young, home-grown players, but despite winning over fans and experts alike, the 2005-06 season ended in failure as FCK was once again relegated to the 2nd Bundesliga after a nine-year stay at the top flight. They finished the 2006/2007 season in sixth place in the 2. Bundesliga, seven points out of the promotion places.

On 20 May 2007, the club announced the Norwegian manager Kjetil Rekdal, formerly with Belgian side Lierse, as their new head coach. Rekdal took over the reigns on 1 July. Due to very bad results (the club lying in 16th place in the standings with only three wins in 19 games), Rekdal was sacked and replaced by Milan Šašić in February 2008.

They saved themselves from relegation to the new 3. Liga on the final day of 2007–2008 with a win over already promoted 1. FC Köln.

Recent seasons

Year Division Position
1999-2000 Bundesliga (I) 5th
2000-01 Bundesliga 8th
2001-02 Bundesliga 7th
2002-03 Bundesliga 14th
2003-04 Bundesliga 15th
2004-05 Bundesliga 12th
2005-06 Bundesliga 16th (relegated)
2006-07 2. Bundesliga (II) 6th
2007-08 2. Bundesliga 13th
2008-09 2. Bundesliga 7th
2009-10 2. Bundesliga




FCK plays its home fixtures in the Fritz Walter Stadionmarker first built in 1920. The stadium and the adjacent street are named for the player who brought the club to prominence after the war. The facility is built on the Betzenberg, literally the "Betzenmountain", a steep sandstone hill that requires some stamina to scale if you take in an FCK match.

The stadium has a capacity of 48,500 and was a 2006 World Cup venue, hosting four preliminary round and one Group of 16 round matches. The facility underwent a major refurbishment for the tournament with addition of new grandstands and a roof.

2006 FIFA World Cup matches at the Fritz Walter Stadionmarker

  • Australia 3-1 Japan
  • Italy 1-1 United States
  • Paraguay 2-0 Trinidad and Tobago
  • Saudi Arabia 0-1 Spain
  • Italy 1-0 Australia

Club culture

Kaiserslautern's Fritz-Walter-Stadion has long been a feared away venue given the rabid ferocity of Kaiserslautern fans: the most faithful of these supporters are located in the stadium's "Westkurve" (Westside, literally "West Curve", since the stands used to be shaped in a semicircle behind the goals). Most famously, Bayern Munich once lost a match here in a charged atmosphere by a score of 7:4 after leading 4:1 at halftime. However, partly due to the team's decline, and the expansion of the stadium, the "Betzenberg" is no longer as daunting a venue as it once was.

The club has friendly ties to TSV 1860 Munich and Werder Bremen and are bitter rivals of Waldhof Mannheim and Bayern Munich. They also have lesser local rivalries with Eintracht Frankfurt and, more recently, with FSV Mainz 05 and Karlsruher SC.

Kaiserslautern also has friendly ties to Kilmarnock FC after playing them in the UEFA Cup in the 1999/2000 season

Current squad

For recent transfers, see List of German football transfers summer 2009.

1. FC Kaiserslautern II squad

Manager: Alois Schwartz

Famous players and contributors

Kaiserslautern has sent more than twenty players to the national side, including five who played on West Germany's 1954 World Cup "Miracle of Bern" side:

Famous players

Modern-age stars


  • Karl-Heinz Feldkamp was the coach who led 1. FCK to the German Cup in 1990 and the German Championship in 1991.
  • Stefan Kuntz is best known for being jibed at on English TV and in the 1998 football video Three Lions, but was instrumental in England's undoing at Euro 96.
  • Otto Rehhagel coached the team to its 1998 Bundesliga championship.
  • Markus Merk is the well known and respected German FIFA referee. He was elected two times as World Referee of the Year.

Selected Former Coaches

Notable Ex Players

Not to be forgotten

Notable facts

  • Kaiserslautern is by far the smallest city (pop. 99,000) to ever have a German Bundesliga championship team (in 1991 and 1998). The next smallest is Braunschweigmarker with 245,000 inhabitants (in 1967).
  • FVK played in black in white until their 1929 merger with SV Phönix when the newly merged club adopted the city colours of red and white.

Memorable matches

1. FC Kaiserslautern - Bayern Munich 7:4

  • Date: 20 October 1973

After 56 minutes, Bayern Munich led 1:4. But within 180 seconds, 1. FCK strikers Toppmöller and Pirrung had made the score 3:4, and ten minutes from the end of the game, Pirrung scored the 4:4. The Betzenberg erupted when Diehl scored the 5:4 for the Red Devils in the 84th minute, and Laumen added two late goals to make it 7:4. This game is considered to be the finest Betzenberg comeback ever.

1. FC Kaiserslautern - Real Madrid 5:0

  • Date: 17 March 1982

After losing the first game with 1:3, 1. FCK had to win with 2:0 at least. After 17 minutes already, Friedhelm Funkel had scored two goals. The Spaniards, who also featured German star sweeper Uli Stielike saw San Jose and Cunningham sent off before the 40th minute. Eilenfeldt and Geye made the score 5:0, only interrupted by the third Real player sent off (Pineda).

1. FC Kaiserslautern - FC Barcelona 3:1

  • Date: 6 November 1991

After surprisingly winning the German Championship, 1. FCK played the European Cup I. Barça convincingly won the first game 2:0. In the first half, 1. FCK striker Demir Hotic scored two goals, and in the 76th minute, the Fritz Walter Stadium erupted, after Bjarne Goldbaek scored the 3:0. But in injury time, a desperation cross by Ronald Koeman found José Maria Bakero. The small striker took a header from nearly outside the box, which somehow went in.

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