“Bernd Schneider, Marco Engelhardt, Clemens Fritz and the unforgettable Robert Enke – Thuringia has repeatedly produced national players in the aftermath of the reunification. The region is proud of its heroes, the great European Cup nights of Carl Zeiss Jena in the 1980s.
But 30 years after reunification, football is on the ground. With the relegation of Jena to the Regionalliga, no professional club from the first three leagues will come from Thuringia for the first time.
Wacker Nordhausen sent the latest Job message. The former hopeful wanted to storm into the professional business with a lot of money and big names. Then the dream burst in December with the insolvency of Spielbetriebs GmbH. A mountain of debt of nine million euros had accumulated. However, President Nico Kleofas did not resign until the end of May, clearing the way for a fresh start. “The plan is to play regional league. But purely in the amateur field,” the new president, Torsten Klaus, had said after his election.
But nothing will come of it. On Thursday, the parent club had to report its insolvency to the district court after a cash collapse. The move was followed by an immediate withdrawal from the Regional League. In addition, the club from the South Harz, where Maurizio Gaudino once hired as sporting director, is charged with fraud against ex-boss Kleofas. Prosecutor’s Office and the National Criminal Police Office.
“My heart bleeds”
The reboot is to take place in the Oberliga. The extent to which this is possible will be clarified in the coming days. There, the provincial club Wacker would meet one of the former flagships of Thuringia. FC Rot-Weiß Erfurt wants to fight its way back to the top after the failure from the fifth division. “My heart bleeds. Of course, I can only assess this from a distance, but in the end it has been tedifed to reposition itself with the step into insolvency. If you want to be somewhere again, you should start to develop a structure,” former RWE professional Engelhardt had said after retiring from the Regionalliga at the end of January.
But the hope for quiet times is low. Because at the moment the club is busy with intensively crushing itself. The Supervisory Board recently resigned. “Everything I have associated with this association is dead,” said former supervisory board member Tobias Hagemann, referring to insolvency administrator Volker Reinhardt: “In the end, the insolvency administrator was the club’s authoritative gravedigger. A completely exaggerated ego made it impossible for him to let other ideas and concepts or realistic assessments come to him.”
The new stadium – sometimes derided as a three-sided court due to only three new stands – will only be seen by RWE players from the outside. The Oberliga matches against teams like the FSV Martinsroda or SV Blau-Weiß Zorbau are played on a better sports field.
Jena gets a new stadium
Thanks to a Belgian investor, the arch-rival from Jena is at least in the right place. And the groundbreaking ceremony for a completely new stadium will take place in the coming months. But that was it with the good news. After two years in the 3rd division, it goes back to the fourth tier – self-inflicted. The FCC misrepresented the roster, holding on to the coach for far too long despite a historic losing streak of 11 losses from the first 13 games.
Accordingly, you will start in the Regionalliga-Nordost in the future with a humbheart. “The past has shown how long the road back to the 3rd league can be,” said the new sporting director Tobias Werner: “The favourite role will lie elsewhere.”
In addition to Jena, there is also a second Thuringian club in the Regionalliga. For years, he has been delivering what fans want from a club: sporting consistency and solid business. Only the name sounds like province and thus after the one where Thuringian football has now arrived: Zipsendorfer FC Meuselwitz.