Jeunesse Esch (full name Association Sportive la Jeunesse d'Esch/Alzette) is a football club, based in Esch-sur-Alzette, in south-western Luxembourg. The side play in the National Division, the highest league in the country, and have won the league title on 28 occasions between 1921 and 2010, the most of any team in Luxembourg. Jeunesse Esch is the only Luxembourgish club to have reached the second round of the European Cup.
|Full name||Association Sportive la Jeunesse d'Esch/Alzette|
|Ground||Stade de la Frontière,|
|Capacity||4,000 (1,200 Seated)|
|League||Luxembourg National Division|
|2018–19||National Division, 3rd|
The club was founded in 1907 as Jeunesse la Frontière d'Esch in reference to the proximity of their stadium to the border with France. "La frontière" was dropped to give the club its current name in 1918, which it retained until World War II, where the Nazi regime implemented the German name SV Schwarz-Weiß 07 Esch and the club had to play in the Gauliga Moselland, finishing runners-up in the 1943–44 season. After the liberation of Luxembourg, the name reverted to AS la Jeunesse d'Esch.
Historically, Jeunesse Esch has been the most successful side in Luxembourgish football. They have won the National Division on 28 occasions: first in 1921, and most recently in 2010. This is a national record, unless Racing FC Union Luxembourg's many predecessor clubs are counted together (they won a total of 28, divided between six incarnations). Jeunesse has also won the Luxembourg Cup on twelve occasions, second behind the fourteen won by FA Red Boys Differdange (now a part of FC Differdange 03). In total, they have completed the coveted Double on eight occasions.
They first entered the European Cup in 1958, but like most of Luxembourg's clubs, have failed to pass the preliminary rounds of the competition. Their most famous result came in the early stages of the 1973 competition when they held then-UEFA Cup holders Liverpool to a 1–1 draw at home before losing the second leg 2–0 at Anfield.
Jeunesse have continued their success into recent times, being one of the top three Luxembourgish clubs, along with F91 Dudelange and FC Etzella Ettelbruck, of the past few years. However, the club had a disastrous 2006–07 season, in which the club finished ninth, and only just avoided a relegation play-off.
- Winners (28): 1920–21, 1936–37, 1950–51, 1953_54, 1957–58, 1958–59, 1959–60, 1962–63, 1966–67, 1967–68, 1969–70, 1972–73, 1973–74, 1974–75, 1975–76, 1976–77, 1979–80, 1982–83, 1984–85, 1986–87, 1987–88, 1994–95, 1995–96, 1996–97, 1997–98, 1998–99, 2003–04, 2009–10
- Runners-up (13): 1914–15, 1935–36, 1937–38, 1952–53, 1956–57, 1960–61, 1968–69, 1977–78, 1985–86, 1988–89, 1990–91, 2005–06
- Winners (13): 1934–35, 1936–37, 1945–46, 1953–54, 1972–73, 1973–74, 1975–76, 1980–81, 1987–88, 1996–97, 1998–99, 1999–00, 2012–13
- Runners-up (11): 1921–22, 1926–27, 1964–65, 1965–66, 1970–71, 1974–75, 1984–85, 1990–91, 1994–95, 1995–96, 2005–06
Jeunesse Esch has qualified for UEFA European competition thirty three times.
- Qualifying round (5): 1997–98, 1998–99, 1999–00, 2004–05, 2010–11
- First round (15): 1958–59, 1960–61, 1967–68, 1968–69, 1970–71, 1973–74, 1974–75, 1975–76, 1976–77, 1977–78, 1980–81, 1983–84, 1985–86, 1987–88, 1988–89
- Second round (2): 1959–60, 1963–64
- Qualifying round (2): 1995–96, 1998–99
- Qualifying round (3): 1995–96, 1996–97, 2000–01
- First round (4): 1969–70, 1978–79, 1986–87, 1989–90
- First Qualifying round (3): 2012–13, 2014–15, 2016–17
- Second Qualifying round (2): 2013–14, 2019-20
Jeunesse Esch is the only club from Luxembourg to have reached the second round of the European Cup, and it has achieved that feat on two occasions, both under the leadership of George Berry in the early years of the competition:
- In 1959–60, Jeunesse were drawn against ŁKS Łódź, champions of Poland. In an incredible first leg, Jeunesse put five past the Poles without reply, practically guaranteeing their place in the second round regardless of the return leg (in the event, Łódź won 2–1, but only after Jeunesse had gone ahead). In the next round, Jeunesse faced somewhat harder opponents: Real Madrid, champions of Europe four times in a row. The first match, in the Bernabéu, was no contest, as Real Madrid trounced Jeunesse 7–0, with Puskás scoring a hat-trick. Despite their comfortable victory, Real Madrid took no chances in the second leg and fielded a full-strength team, including Puskás, Di Stéfano, and Gento. The array of stars did nothing to over-awe the Luxembourgers on their home patch; Jeunesse scored twice within fifteen minutes, and made a good account of themselves, but succumbed to lose 5–2, 12–2 on aggregate. Real went on to win the European Cup for a fifth straight season, beating Eintracht Frankfurt 7–3 in a memorable final.
- In the first round of the European Cup in 1963–64, Jeunesse was given a relatively easy tie against FC Haka. Although they had avoided the biggest sides in the competition, Jeunesse was facing the dominant Finnish side, and Jeunesse was thrashed 4–1 in Valkeakoski. In the return, Jeunesse mounted a comeback, but were winning by only 2–0 after 84 minutes. Suddenly, two goals in as few minutes put the Luxembourgian side through. The second round pitted Jeunesse against the Yugoslav champions, Partizan Belgrade for a place in the quarter-finals. Jeunesse won the first match 2–1, thanks to another late goal. However, the tie was turned on its head by four goals by Vladimir Kovačević, and Partizan won 6–2, and 7–4 on aggregate. 1963–64 turned out to be the annus mirabilis of Luxembourgian football, as the national team almost reached the semi-finals of the European Championship.
Overall, Jeunesse's record in European competition reads:
|AS la Jeunesse d'Esch||71||9||8||54||56||224||−168|
Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.