Carl Zeiss Jena
Full nameFußballclub Carl Zeiss Jena e.V.
Founded13 May 1903; 120 years ago (1903-05-13)
ChairmanKlaus Berka
ManagerRené Klingbeil
LeagueRegionalliga Nordost
2022–232nd of 18
WebsiteClub website

FC Carl Zeiss Jena is a German football club based in Jena, Thuringia. Founded in 1903 it was initially associated with the company Carl Zeiss. From the 1960s to the 1980s it was one of the top-ranked clubs in East Germany, won the DDR-Oberliga and the FDGB-Pokal three times each and reached the 1981 European Cup Winners' Cup Final. Since the German reunification in 1990, the club has competed no higher than the second tier.[1] Since the 2021–22 season, Jena is playing in the Regionalliga Nordost.


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 II

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 Germany

Historical chart of Carl Zeiss Jena league performance

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 Germany 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 Germany 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 reunification

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,[1] 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;[2] on 13 November the executive board accepted his resignation,[3] and on 25 November Hartmut Bayer became the new chairman.[4] The second team was involved in the 2009 European football betting scandal,[5] accused of match-fixing in the game against ZFC Meuselwitz.[6] On 10 December 2009 the club announced that it was in financial distress, owing over €1 million.[7] In January 2010 the players agreed to accept a lower salary.[8]

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.[9]


Carl Zeiss Jena supporters 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.[10] 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.

The club compete in a Thuringia derby with Rot-Weiß Erfurt, which often features violence between the two sets of supporters and use of pyrotechnics.[11][12][13] The rivalry is exacerbated by a mutual antipathy between the cities of Jena and Erfurt.[14]



Top tier
Lower tiers






Current squad

As of 21 August 2023[15]

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 Germany GER Kevin Kunz
2 DF Germany GER Fynn Kleeschätzky
3 DF Germany GER Ken Gipson
4 DF Germany GER Burim Halili
5 DF Germany GER Bastian Strietzel (Captain)
6 DF Germany GER Maurice Hehne
7 FW Germany GER Pasqual Verkamp
8 MF Germany GER Lukas Lämmel
9 FW Germany GER Jan Dahlke
10 MF Mozambique MOZ Jonathan Muiomo
11 FW Germany GER Maximilian Krauß
12 GK Greece GRE Alexios Dedidis
No. Pos. Nation Player
15 DF Germany GER Marcel Hoppe
16 DF Germany GER Justin Smyla
17 MF Germany GER Justin Petermann
18 MF Germany GER Elias Löder
19 MF Ukraine UKR Oleksiy Ohurtsov
20 FW Germany GER Josien Nathaniel
21 FW Germany GER Max Grimm
22 GK Germany GER Maximus Babke
23 FW Germany GER Benjamin Zank
25 MF Germany GER Justin Schau
27 MF Germany GER Joel Richter
33 MF Germany GER Joshua Endres

Out on loan

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

No. Pos. Nation Player

Notable players

See also: Category:FC Carl Zeiss Jena players

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

Before the end of World War II, Jena sent three players to the Germany 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.


Former head coaches

Recent seasons

The recent season-by-season performance of the club:[16][17]

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
2021–22 Regionalliga Nordost 2nd
2022–23 Regionalliga Nordost 2nd
Promoted Relegated

Former personnel


Germany Director (2008–2009)

psychologist (2009) Germany



GermanyHong Kong

Reserve team

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.[16][18]

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 also


  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. ^ a b Dieckmann, Christoph (26 May 2001). "Fussball im Osten: Kein Berg so hoch, kein Tal so tief" [Football in the East: No mountain so high, no valley so deep]. Der Tagesspiegel (in German). Archived from the original on 8 October 2021. Retrieved 5 April 2023.
  2. ^ Schreiber hat genug von Carl Zeiss Archived 9 October 2016 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 28 November 2011.
  3. ^ Kompletter Vorstand tritt zurück Archived 15 November 2009 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 28 November 2011.
  4. ^ Hartmut Beyer neuer Präsident des FCC Archived 6 June 2011 at the Wayback Machine. (25 November 2009). Retrieved 28 November 2011.
  5. ^ Verdachtsmomente des Wettbetrugs bei FCC II – ZFC Meuselwitz? Archived 6 June 2011 at the Wayback Machine. (24 November 2009). Retrieved 28 November 2011.
  6. ^ Verdacht bei Jena II gegen Meuselwitz Archived 5 October 2011 at the Wayback Machine. (24 November 2009). Retrieved 28 November 2011.
  7. ^ FCC will Finanzlücke bis Mitte Januar schließen Archived 6 June 2011 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 28 November 2011.
  8. ^ FCC-Spieler stimmen Stundung von Gehaltsanteilen zu Archived 23 May 2014 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 28 November 2011.
  9. ^ "Carl Zeiss Jena steigt in die Regionalliga ab". Archived from the original on 10 July 2020. Retrieved 15 June 2020.
  10. ^ "County fans relishing return of old friends Carl Zeiss Jena". South Wales Argus. 15 April 2014. Archived from the original on 13 September 2021. Retrieved 13 September 2021.
  11. ^ "Die größten Derbys im deutschen Fußball". (in German). 21 March 2019. Archived from the original on 13 September 2021. Retrieved 13 September 2021.
  12. ^ "Landtag beschäftigt sich mit Thüringen-Derby — LandesWelle Thüringen". (in German). Archived from the original on 13 September 2021. Retrieved 13 September 2021.
  13. ^ "Vermummte greifen Fans von Carl Zeiss Jena an — Anhänger von Rot-Weiß Erfurt wohl Täter". (in German). 28 July 2019. Archived from the original on 13 September 2021. Retrieved 13 September 2021.
  14. ^ Reinhardt, Dirk (11 October 2012). ""Dieser Zug hält nicht in Weimar"". Ost-Blog (in German). Archived from the original on 13 September 2021. Retrieved 13 September 2021.
  15. ^ "Spielerkader" [Player squad]. (in German). FC Carl Zeiss Jena Fußball Spielbetriebs GmbH. Archived from the original on 11 August 2018. Retrieved 21 August 2023.
  16. ^ a b Das deutsche Fußball-Archiv Archived 2 October 2018 at the Wayback Machine (in German) Historical German domestic league tables
  17. ^ FC Carl Zeiss Jena at Archived 12 February 2015 at the Wayback Machine (in German) Tables and results of all German football leagues
  18. ^ FC Carl Zeiss Jena II at Archived 23 February 2015 at the Wayback Machine (in German) Tables and results of all German football leagues