|Full name||Fußballclub Carl Zeiss Jena e.V.|
|Founded||13 May 1903|
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 2019-20 season, Jena are playing in the 3. Liga after winning promotion from the Regionalliga Nordost in 2017.
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.
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.
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.
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; on 13 November the executive board accepted his resignation, and on 25 November Hartmut Bayer became the new chairman. The second team was involved in the 2009 European football betting scandal, accused of match-fixing in the game against ZFC Meuselwitz. On 10 December 2009 the club announced that it was in financial distress, owing over EUR1 million. In January 2010 the players agreed to accept a lower salary.
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.
Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.
FCC sent 33 players to the DDR (East German) national side.
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.
|2000-01||Regionalliga Süd||18th ?|
|2004-05||NOFV-Oberliga Süd||1st ?|
|2005-06||Regionalliga Nord||III||2nd ?|
|2007-08||2. Bundesliga||18th ?|
|2011-12||3. Liga||18th ?|
|2016-17||Regionalliga Nordost||1st ?|
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.