FC Carl Zeiss Jena

FC Carl Zeiss Jena is a German football club based in Jena, Thuringia. Formed in 1903 and initially associated with the Carl Zeiss AG factory, they were one of the strongest clubs in East Germany from the 1960s to the 1980s, winning the DDR-Oberliga and the FDGB-Pokal three times each and reaching the 1981 European Cup Winners' Cup Final. Since German reunification in 1990, the club have competed no higher than the second tier. In the 2020–21 season, Jena played in the Regionalliga Nordost.

Carl Zeiss Jena
Logo FC Carl Zeiss Jena.svg
Full nameFußballclub Carl Zeiss Jena e.V.
Founded13 May 1903; 118 years ago (1903-05-13)
ChairmanKlaus Berka
ManagerDirk Kunert
LeagueRegionalliga Nordost
WebsiteClub website


The club was founded in May 1903 by workers at the Carl Zeiss AG optics factory as the company-sponsored Fussball-Club der Firma Carl Zeiss. The club underwent name changes in 1911 to Fussball Club Carl Zeiss Jena e.V. and in March 1917 to 1. Sportverein Jena e.V.

The 1930s and World War IIEdit

In 1933, 1. SV Jena joined the Gauliga Mitte, one of 16 top-flight divisions formed in the reorganization of German football under the Third Reich. The team captured division titles in 1935, 1936, 1940, and 1941. This earned Jena entry to the national finals, but they performed poorly and were never able to advance out of preliminary-round group play. After the 1943–44 season, the Gauliga Mitte broke up into a collection of city-based leagues as World War II overtook the area.

Postwar in East GermanyEdit

Historical chart of Carl Zeiss Jena league performance after WWII

In the immediate aftermath of the war, associations of all types (including sports and football clubs) were banned in Germany by the occupying Allied authorities. Jena was reconstituted in June 1946 as SG Ernst Abbe Jena and, like many other clubs in East Germany, underwent a number of name changes: SG Stadion Jena (October 1948), SG Carl Zeiss Jena (March 1949), BSG Mechanik Jena (January 1951), BSG Motor Jena (May 1951) and SC Motor Jena (November 1954).

In the aftermath of World War II, East German authorities tagged sports teams with the names of socialist heroes: Ernst Abbe was a local son and physicist associated with the Zeiss optical factory. He made an early contribution to easing the plight of workers by introducing the 8-hour work day at the Zeiss plant, a milestone for labour during the late 19th century.

In 1950 the club became a founding member of the DDR Liga (II), and in their second season captured a divisional title to win promotion to the top-flight DDR Oberliga for a single-season appearance. Renamed SC Motor Jena in 1954, they played their way back to the upper league by 1957. Jena won its first honours with the capture of the FDGB-Pokal in 1960 and followed up with the East German national title in 1963. The club was "re-founded" as FC Carl Zeiss Jena in January 1966, and became one of East Germany's "focus centres" for the development of players for the national side and a dominant side in the DDR-Oberliga. They took two more national titles in 1968 and 1970, but finished in second place another half-dozen times to sides such as Vorwärts Berlin, Dynamo Dresden and 1. FC Magdeburg. They also captured East German Cups in 1972, 1974 and 1980, and appeared in the 1981 European Cup Winners' Cup Final, losing 2–1 to Dinamo Tbilisi.

German reunificationEdit

After German reunification in 1990, Jena entered the 2. Bundesliga. Their second-place finish in 1992 deteriorated into a 17th-place finish in 1994 and relegation to Regionalliga Nordost (III). They won immediate promotion, and played for three more years at tier-II level. Since 1999 the team has primarily played tier III and IV football, but a second place-finish in the Regionalliga Nord secured Jena promotion to the 2. Bundesliga for the 2006–07 season. Jena remained in the 2. Bundesliga by winning 2–1 away against FC Augsburg in their final match of the season. They finished last in the 2. Bundesliga in 2007–08, returning to the third tier. However, this would not be one of the Regionalligen; the German Football Association (DFB) launched the new 3. Liga for 2008–09, of which Jena was a charter member.

On 9 November 2009 chairman Peter Schreiber announced his retirement;[1] on 13 November the executive board accepted his resignation,[2] and on 25 November Hartmut Bayer became the new chairman.[3] The second team was involved in the 2009 European football betting scandal,[4] accused of match-fixing in the game against ZFC Meuselwitz.[5] On 10 December 2009 the club announced that it was in financial distress, owing over €1 million.[6] In January 2010 the players agreed to accept a lower salary.[7]

Carl Zeiss Jena have a friendship with the Welsh side Newport County, after the two sides played against each other in the European Cup Winners' Cup in the early 1980s. As with Carl Zeiss Jena, Newport County have seen similar struggles off and on the pitch, and the teams regularly play each other during pre-season.

Carl Zeiss Jena were relegated from the 3. Liga in 2012 and finished second in the tier four Regionalliga Nordost in 2013, and third in 2014. In the 2016–17 season they won the Regionalliga Nordost and were promoted to 3. Liga after a play-off win against Viktoria Köln. CZ Jena won the first match in Köln 3–2 and lost the second leg 1–0 at home, but were promoted on the away goals rule. After three seasons in the 3. Liga, the club experienced an underwhelming season and was relegated to the Regionalliga Nordost in June 2020.[8]



Top tier
  • DDR-Oberliga (East German Championship)
    • Winners: 1963, 1968, 1970
    • Runner-up: 1958, 1965, 1966, 1969, 1971, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1981
    • Third placed: 1977, 1979, 1980, 1983, 1986
Lower tiers






Current squadEdit

As of 5 October 2020[9]

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Pos. Nation Player
1 GK   GER Flemming Niemann
2 FW   GER Alexander Prokopenko
4 DF   GER Dennis Slamar
5 MF   GER Maximilian Oesterhelweg
6 MF   GER Thomas Steinherr
7 FW   GER Pasqual Verkamp
8 DF   GER Niclas Fiedler
9 MF   GER René Eckardt (Captain)
10 MF   GER Theodor Bergmann
11 FW   GER Can Düzel
12 GK   GER Lukas Sedlak
13 FW   GRE Vasileios Dedidis
No. Pos. Nation Player
14 FW   GER Dominik Bock
15 DF   GER Marius Grösch
16 DF   GER Eric Voufack
17 DF   GER Kevin Wolf
18 FW   GER Niklas Jahn
19 MF   GER Matti Langer
20 DF   GER René Lange
21 DF   USA Lucas Stauffer
22 GK   GER Kevin Kratzsch
23 FW   GER Fabian Eisele
25 MF   GER Justin Schau

Out on loanEdit

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Pos. Nation Player
DF   GER Felix Müller (at ZFC Meuselwitz)

Notable playersEdit

FCC sent 33 players to the DDR (East German) national side.

Before the end of World War II, Jena sent three players to the German national side: Willy Krauß (1911–12), Heinz Werner (1935) and Ludwig Gärtner (1939–41).

American defender, Brian Bliss, played at the club from 1992 to 1996 and received regular calls to the United States men's national soccer team. He went on to play for MLS side Columbus Crew SC and would later serve as technical director in the club's front office.

Another notable player is former Germany goalkeeper Robert Enke, who started his career at the club and then went on to play for clubs such as Hannover 96, FC Barcelona and S.L. Benfica.


  • Lukas Kwasniok – Head Coach[10]
  • Andreas Trautmann – Chief Executive
  • Klaus Berka – President

Former head coachesEdit

Recent seasonsEdit

The recent season-by-season performance of the club:[11][12]

Year Division Tier Position
1999–2000 Regionalliga Nordost III 9th
2000–01 Regionalliga Süd 18th ↓
2001–02 NOFV-Oberliga Süd IV 3rd
2002–03 NOFV-Oberliga Süd 2nd
2003–04 NOFV-Oberliga Süd 2nd
2004–05 NOFV-Oberliga Süd 1st ↑
2005–06 Regionalliga Nord III 2nd ↑
2006–07 2. Bundesliga II 13th
2007–08 2. Bundesliga 18th ↓
2008–09 3. Liga III 16th
2009–10 3. Liga 5th
2010–11 3. Liga 15th
2011–12 3. Liga 18th ↓
2012–13 Regionalliga Nordost IV 2nd
2013–14 Regionalliga Nordost 3rd
2014–15 Regionalliga Nordost 4th
2015–16 Regionalliga Nordost 7th
2016–17 Regionalliga Nordost 1st ↑
2017–18 3. Liga III 11th
2018–19 3. Liga 14th
2019–20 3. Liga 20th ↓
2020–21 Regionalliga Nordost IV 4th
Promoted Relegated

Former personnelEdit

  • Carsten Linke: Athletic Director (2008–2009)
  • Stephan Lehmann: Team psychologist (2009)
  • Roland Weissbarth: Marketing chief (2009)
  • Peter Voß: Vice-president
  • Peter Schreiber: President (1998–2009)
  • Michael Meier

Reserve teamEdit

The club's reserve team, FC Carl Zeiss Jena II, currently plays in the tier five NOFV-Oberliga Süd. It first played at this level from 1994 to 1999, and again since 2006 with a third place in 1996 and 2010 as its best results.[11][13]

The team also won the Thuringia Cup in 1993. The latter allowed the club qualification to the 1993–94 DFB-Pokal where it lost 2–0 to Bayern Munich.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ The Regionalliga Nordost was the third tier of the German football league system in the states of the former East Germany and West Berlin.
  2. ^ Promoted to Regionalliga Süd
  3. ^ Regionalliga Nord was then the third tier of German football; it is now the fourth tier.
  4. ^ Promoted to 2. Fußball-Bundesliga
  5. ^ NOFV-Oberliga Süd was then the fourth tier of German football; it is now the fifth tier.
  6. ^ Promoted to Regionalliga Nord
  7. ^ The Gauliga Mitte was the highest football league in the Prussian province of Saxony and the German states of Thuringia and Anhalt from 1933 to 1945. It was also the highest top tier of German football during this time, along with 15 other regions of the Gauliga.
  8. ^ The Thuringia Cup also acts as a qualifier for the following season's DFB-Pokal.
  9. ^ Title won by the reserve team


  1. ^ Schreiber hat genug von Carl Zeiss. Kicker.de. Retrieved 28 November 2011.
  2. ^ Kompletter Vorstand tritt zurück. Kicker.de. Retrieved 28 November 2011.
  3. ^ Hartmut Beyer neuer Präsident des FCC. Fc-carlzeiss-jena.de (25 November 2009). Retrieved 28 November 2011.
  4. ^ Verdachtsmomente des Wettbetrugs bei FCC II – ZFC Meuselwitz?. Fc-carlzeiss-jena.de (24 November 2009). Retrieved 28 November 2011.
  5. ^ Verdacht bei Jena II gegen Meuselwitz. Reviersport.de (24 November 2009). Retrieved 28 November 2011.
  6. ^ FCC will Finanzlücke bis Mitte Januar schließen. Fc-carlzeiss-jena.de. Retrieved 28 November 2011.
  7. ^ FCC-Spieler stimmen Stundung von Gehaltsanteilen zu. Fc-carlzeiss-jena.de. Retrieved 28 November 2011.
  8. ^ "Carl Zeiss Jena steigt in die Regionalliga ab". kicker.de. Retrieved 15 June 2020.
  9. ^ "Spielerkader" [Player squad]. fc-carlzeiss-jena.de (in German). FC Carl Zeiss Jena Fußball Spielbetriebs GmbH. Retrieved 29 January 2018.
  10. ^ "FCC Profis" (in German). FCC web site. Archived from the original on 11 July 2011. Retrieved 8 July 2011.
  11. ^ a b Das deutsche Fußball-Archiv (in German) Historical German domestic league tables
  12. ^ FC Carl Zeiss Jena at Fussball.de (in German) Tables and results of all German football leagues
  13. ^ FC Carl Zeiss Jena II at Fussball.de (in German) Tables and results of all German football leagues

External linksEdit