A brand new start for DFC Prag, 77 years later.
That decision changed the club members’ life (many of them were persecuted due to their religion beliefs like longtime goalkeeper and caricaturist Fritz Taussig, killed in 1944 in Auschwitz concentration camp after being imprisoned in Terezin) and put an end to a glorious football history started at the end of 19th century, when Prague was still part of Austro-Hungarian empire.
Since the club foundation in 1896 several excellent players wore the DFC jersey such as Austrian internationals Robert Cimera and Robert Merz (both were members of 1912 Olympic national team) or Karel Koželuh, who as tennis player would win four Grand Slam tournaments between 1928 and 1937. Furthermore, the club won regional trophies both during Austro-Hungarian empire and Czechoslovakia era.
However DFC Prag would make history in 1903, as German football federation decided to organise the first national championship. DFC Prag also took part in the competition, given that at that time a club could play a national tournament even if it wasn’t based in the same country. The white and blue team, which were DFB founding member, represented the association of German clubs in Prague. In that first historic competition DFC, whose chairman was German scientist and then-DFB president Ferdinand Hueppe, reached the final after defeating Karlsruher FV “by forfeit” in the semifinal. However, in the most important match of their football history, the Praguese club lost 7-2 to VfB Leipzig in Altona, now Hamburg.
It was a burning defeat (according to some sources before the match several DFC players visited the well-known entertainment street Reeperbahn) but more than a century later that would be the occasion to be born again.
Indeed in 2013 a group of football fans called Initiative 1903 tried to organise an annual match between the teams who took part in that first German championship.
For this reason, Initiative 1903 came into contact with some future DFC Prag board members.
Even the club didn’t exist, thanks to Deutsch-Tschechischen Zukunftsfond (Czech-German Future Fond, translator’s note) a group of football fans wore DFC shirt to play against VfB Leipzig on 13th September 2015,
historian and club founding member Thomas Oellermann said.
It was the replay of 1903 German championship final. It ended with the same result (7-2 for VfB Leipzig) but it was an important event which has kicked off a virtuous process. On 1st July 2016 DFC Prag were reborn and in April 2017 the new club have been admitted to Czech football federation. Few months after their historic affiliation, DFC played their first match, fielding their senior members against Slavia Prague veteran team, remembering the fierce rivalry in the first half of the 20th century.
A future oriented club that doesn’t forget its past.
The new DFC Prag are an indipendent club but our roots go back to the past. We are a project that would want to bring people together, a place where everyone could feel at home.
Oellermann says. DFC Prag executives would like to instill these memories, this tradition and also these values in the present. “With our work we aim to give our little contribution to the German-Czech friendship, especially in this moment marked by a growing scepticism towards the European Union. As it happened in the old DFC Prag, where German, Jews and Czech people all played together,“ Oellermann adds.
Now club members are 50, 35 of which are footballers. No senior squad, but many kids mainly from international schools in Prague.
Germans, Czechs but also Vietnamese and Russian little footballers who in September will play in U9 category the first official DFC Prag match after almost 80 years. However, the club’s future aims are even more ambitious. “In the next future we would like to expand our youth academy (now developed thanks to city club Meteor Prague, editor’s note) and in the medium term we would like to rebuild the first team squad,“ Oellermann concluded.
A new start to write one more chapter of a story suddenly interrupted in 1939.
Cover and new DFC Prag photos ©DFC Prag
Old DFC e commemorative stele @Initiative1903.com
A special thanks to Thomas Oellerman e Hendrik Taulin