Belgien - Belgium

German clubs in Belgium? Now you might think it would be the other way around - Dutch speaking clubs in Germany (Schalke, ha-ha!). Afterall, aside from rather unpleasant German "visits" in 1914 and 1940, you wouldn't think that there would be much of a German presence. But lo and behold, aside from the well-known Dutch/French divide, I discovered that there is also a German minority that also has some soccer playing tradition. Enlightenment came via an e-mail from an visitor to the Abseits web site:

"I just wanted to let you know that Belgium also has a German-speaking minority. It is spoken in an area for about 100 km along the frontier with Germany and Luxembourg. A large part of this German-speaking area (the cantons of Eupen, Sankt-Vith and Malmédy) was given to Belgium following the Treaty of Versailles (1918).

However a smaller part called Montzener Land (the area Montzen/Welkenraedt) has been part of Belgium since our independance (1830). In another small area around the city of Arlon (Fr.) or Arel in German dialect some people still speak Luetzebuergesch, some sort of German dialect but an official language in Luxembourg.

Anyway there are about 70.000 German speakers in the offically recognized areas and about 20.000 to 25.000 outside of that (mostly dialects). German is one of Belgium's three official languages (the others are French and Dutch which is the language I speak). The German-speaking part of Belgium is probably the language minority with the most rights in Europe. They have their own newspaper, radio, parliament, schools,

Anyway, maybe you could mention that there are some German-speaking clubs in Belgian football. The highest ranked club is AS Eupen, who are struggling in the 3rd Division. They play at 'das Stadion am Kehrweg'. They are the only club from that area playing on a national level (when you play against clubs from other Belgian provinces (Laender)). All the other clubs, like FC Buetgenbach, FC Buellingen, FC Gruen-Weiss Amel, Rot-Weiss Eynatten,... play in the provincial leagues of the province of Liege (Luettich). Lowly Amel had a couple of good Belgian Cup-runs a few years ago but I don't know the other ones that well."

Filip Van Kerckhoven Londerzeel, Belgium

Another German speaking club is RFC St.Vith

(c) Abseits Guide to Germany :