1. FCK prepares for upcoming season

The countdown is nearing its end, soccer fans, and the 49th season of the Fussball Bundesliga is right around the corner. Monotone and lackluster weekends at home will soon be replaced by the intense feeling of excitement that comes with Germany’s soccer culture.

Unless you’re completely new to the area, you’d know that a large part of that culture is right here in Kaiserslautern. Last season approximately 46,000 fans crammed through the entrance gates of the Fritz-Walter Stadium each weekend, breaking an FC Kaiserslautern record for total attendance in a season.

The attendance average is more than likely going to be maintained in FCK’s second season back in the top division of German soccer, the Fussball Bundesliga. Between the first and second men’s teams, many top games are on the slate for this season, including match-ups with league rivals Bayern München and fierce regional rivals FSV Mainz 05.

As with any other sports team the managerial department of FCK has been busy summer long preparing the team for the new season.

With top newcomers like Richard Sukuta-Pasu and Olcay Sahan and the pending transfer of Itay Shechter to ease this year’s season goal of avoiding relegation, it is bound to be an intense year. Although some players are injured, including Adam Nemec, the managerial department has done excellent in supporting the team with much needed new players to increase the team’s chances at succeeding this season.

With one month left, fans have already been able to see this year’s talent with exhibition matches against a regional selection (16:0 win,) SC Hauenstein (3:1 win,) SV Elversberg (6:1 win,) and SV Sandhausen (1:1 draw.)

Top performers of the pre-season so far have been: Olcay Sahan, whose agility and ball handling have proven vital in test matches, Ivo Illicevic, who has remained versatile with phenomenal shooting and passing skills on the offensive wing, and Ilian Micanski, who has shown great talent and ambition hoping to one day find his place in the roster as a starting striker.

Even though much has happened this off-season, the players are only just now finding themselves in an official training camp in Herxheim and upcoming tests against FSV Frankfurt, Ajax Auxerre and AS Nancy, the players still have much to do before the season kicks off Aug. 6.

For more information on the team, matches or ticketing, visit www.fck.de or make a visit to the stadium’s fan shop.

(by Dion Figueroa)