- 1. FFC Frankfurt’s last Bundesliga match marks the end of an era
- The pioneering German club is a powerhouse in Germany and in Europe
- Schalke 04 forms its own women’s soccer department
June 28, 2020 is a special day for 1. FFC Frankfurt, when the club plays its last match in the Women’s Bundesliga. The match marked the end of the era of the most successful women’s soccer club in Germany after seven championship titles, nine DFB Women’s Cup wins, and four UEFA Women’s Champions League wins.
Birgit Prinz, Nadine Angerer, Saskia Bartusiak, Melanie Behringer, Nia Kunzer, and Steffi Jones are just some of the big names who wore Frankfurt shirts for years.
However, the merger of the club with Eintracht Frankfurt ushered in a new chapter. From next season onwards, 1. FFC will become the women’s soccer department of Eintracht and compete in the Bundesliga under the name Eintracht Frankfurt. The two parties signed a merger agreement for this effect in mid-June 2019.
The newly formed club hopes to achieve long-standing success by combining the activities of women and girls’ soccer. The FFC last won the league in 2008 and lifted their last big trophy in 2015 when they defeated Paris Saint-Germain 2-1 in the UEFA Women’s Champions League final.
“I am very happy and grateful that the ‘marriage contract’ with Eintracht Frankfurt has now been signed after a long and very focused preparation period,” said the long-serving FFC manager, Siegfried Dietrich on the club’s website.
“After more than two decades of success for FFC, it is a dream come true for us to be able to add not only our expertise but also our staff, members and fans to this large Eintracht family and settling in our impressive new home in just in right time.
“But the signing of the merger agreement is also a historic and pioneering moment that not only gives our life’s work a future full of new goals but will also send interesting messages when it comes to German women’s football clubs and the competitive appeal of the Women’s Bundesliga.
“Although there is a touch of pain about the transition and emotions around playing our last few games in the FFC shirt, the excitement we feel about our new target and the new age of women’s football in Frankfurt is far greater.”
Plans to strengthen the squad are already in full swing. German international goalkeeper Merle Frohms moved to the edge of the Main from SC Freiburg, while Slovenian international Lara Prasnikar came from Turbine Potsdam. The second division side of the FFC, who were unable to complete their season due to the coronavirus pandemic, have also continued training – in the Eintracht kit.
“The inaugural season will be a very special season, because this is the beginning of something new,” said coach Kim Kulig. “The anticipation has been huge for weeks, and now wearing an eagle on our chests really means stepping into a new chapter.”
Schalke looked to new horizons
This pioneering spirit was not only evident in Frankfurt but also in Gelsenkirchen, and especially at FC Schalke 04, where the club wanted to establish a football arrangement for all women and girls. They “started small” at Schalke and did not expect to compete with the women’s soccer department at other clubs. As a result, the club will have a women’s team in the Kreisliga B regional league and an U-17 team in Kreisliga.
The person in charge of this project is Bodo Menze, former founder and head of Schalke’s Knappenschmiede youth academy. “My attitude towards women’s football has changed from time to time,” he explained.
“Recently, the show at the last Women’s World Cup was really impressive and made me excited. I also think it’s very relevant to the community – including when it comes to grassroots sports. I shared the idea of forming a women’s soccer department some time ago, which that is why I am now very happy to be able to support this project, “explained Menze on the Schalke website.
The good times are ahead for women’s soccer – and not only in Germany, where six clubs now have top-level women’s and men’s teams. Real Madrid will also field the women’s team at the top of Spain for the first time next season …