unl 1998. Aer a year with Eintra-cht Frankfurt he signed for BayerLeverkusen, and, aged 25, made hisdebut for Germany. He went on towin 81 caps.Over the course of the ‘90s theonce-great teams of the East foundthemselves falling down the leaguesone by one. There have been a fewexcepons, with Hansa Rostock andEnergie Cobus pung up a ﬁghtaround the turn of the millennium,but 2010/11 was the third season inthe past six years without a clubfrom the former GDR in the topﬂight. There will be none next sea-son either.Not only have eastern clubs strug-gled on the pitch, there has alsobeen trouble in the stands. The riseof right-wing extremism among fansof eastern clubs became a worryingtrend, reﬂecve of a wider policalproblem, aer 1990. As these areasconnue to struggle with economicand social woes following the reuni-ﬁcaon, eastern Germany has be-come ferle ground for Neo-Nazism,although both crics and club own-ers struggle to pinpoint exactly why.Several clubs have experiencedracist chants, polical demonstra-ons and ﬁres atgames, parcularlyduring local derbies.This peaked aroundthe mid-Noughes, ata me when unem-ployment was sllaround 20% in some of the ‘new’states, more than twice the naonalaverage. The local derby betweenRot-Weiss Erfurt and Carl Zeiss Jenais oen marked by crowd troubleand an-Semic chants from Erfurtfans towards their rivals. Even re-cently, the ‘passion’ of some fans,largely, though not enrely, on theErfurt side, has seen opposion ﬂagsburned.This hooliganism is by no means theﬁrst instance of violence amongfootball fans, and sadly, it won’t bethe last. Who can for-get England’s darkesthour, in the ‘70s and‘80s? Fan violence be-came characterisc of the English game, andwas oen nged withracial and polical movaons. Ser-bian football currently faces similarproblems. Economic and social
Who can forgetEngland’s darkesthour, in the ‘70sand ‘80s?