When we talk about monumental stadiums in Germany, Krefeld is one not to be missed on the list. Because that's where the Grotenburg Stadion, home ground of KFC Uerdingen 05, can be found. Once the stage of first division football in Germany, but now in the regional leagues.
The team played elsewhere between 1905 and 1927 though. The Grotenburg Stadion was finished in 1927 and had to give extra force to the team's ambitions. They were founded as FC Uerdingen 05 in 1905 and they mainly played in the regional leagues in those first years. After WWII, FC Uerdingen started marauding the leagues. But first a couple of changes had to happen.
During the war, the club had a joint venture with VfB 1910 Uerdingen under the name KSG Uerdingen. They liked that so much that they decided to merge after the war to become SpVgg Uerdingen 05. But only three years later, the two separated again and each went their own way. In 1950 SpVgg officially changed its name into FC Uerdingen 05 once again.
Shortly after, in 1953, another merger would follow. This time Werkssportgruppen Bayer AG Uerdingen was involved. This was the official football team of company Bayer AG. FC Bayer 05 Uerdingen was born and the way to the top could begin. In the same decade, they would work their way up to the third division. When the Bundesliga was instated, that's where they were put as well.
In 1971, FC Bayer 05 Uerdingen managed to promote to the second division and only four years later they were in the top league. Still they were looking for more. After some tastings in first and second division, Bayer 05 went for the absolute top. In 1983 they promoted to the first division again and the rest is history. In 1985 they won the cup and in 1986 they ended on a beautiful third place. European football was the wonderful result, including a semi final in 1986.
But all of those successes had their price. Once the 90s began, the team would relegate to second division regularly and in 1995 the biggest blow came. Bayer AG pulled back from the team. The name changed back into KFC Uerdingen 05 and dark clouds appeared. Financial problems would follow them for years to come and in 1999 the team was relegated to the regional leagues. A huge blow for the club.
After a couple of relegations (even to the sixth level) and several promotions, KFC Uerdingen 05 was back in third division after 19 years. Throughout the whole time they would still suffer from financial issues. Several attempts were taken to combat these. In 2009 for instance, lifelong fan Pete Doherty played a match to raise some extra money.
In 2021 however it became clear the point of no return was reached. Owners and investors pulled back and Covid-19 pushed them a little deeper. In June '21 they had to release all players. A fresh start has been taken in the meantime. Back in the Regionalliga - the fourth level - and a whole new board and team was put into place. We are all hoping the club will never disappear and at the same time we wish them a fast return to the higher leagues. Because those days with names like Laudrup and Chapuisat seem to be long buried in the past.
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