In the 3. Liga this evening early pacesetters Hansa Rostock are playing at 1.FC Kaiserslautern’s Fritz Walter Stadion. The visitors will go three points clear at the top of the table if they win, whlist the hosts are still searching for their first victory of the season and are mired in the bottom four and facing the very real prospect of playing in the non league Regionalliga next year.
Nearly 30 years ago the two sides met in very different circumstances. In 1991 1. FCK had improbably won the Bundesliga the season before, their first championship since the early 1950s. Meanwhile Hansa Rostock were the last ever champions of the DDR Oberliga, which was wound up following the reunification of Germany in October 1990. Hansa hadn’t been of the leading teams in the East for a number of years so their triumph was almost as much of a surprise as Kaiserslautern's was in the West.
In the one and only German Super Cup in the summer of 1991 the two respective champions met each other for the first time, with the team from the West winning 2-1. As eastern champions Hansa joined an expanded Bundesliga but only lasted a season at that level. They did secure promotion back into the top flight in the mid 1990s and there were a number of fixtures between the two sides in the first half of the 2000s. However the last Bundesliga game between the two was in 2005 and the last Bundesliga 2 game only five years later.
The demise of both teams has often mirrored each other and now both “big” clubs find themselves in the 3. Liga, albeit it at opposite ends of the table, and searching vainly to restore some element of their former glory.