NEWPORT County AFC fans are looking forward to welcoming old rivals Carl Zeiss Jena to Rodney Parade this summer.
The Exiles will take on the German side in a return friendly fixture, following last year’s match in Weimar, and a repeat of the clubs’ famous meeting in the 1981 European Cup Winners’ Cup quarter-finals.
County have confirmed that the sides will meet again at Rodney Parade on Saturday, July 26, at 3pm.
Last year’s match finished 2-2, just as it did when the sides met in East Germany in the first leg in 1981.
But Justin Edinburgh’s men will be hoping that history doesn’t repeat itself this time round as Jena won 1-0 to break County hearts at Somerton Park 33 years ago.
The July 2013 match was fairly feisty at times with the referee having to prevent a brawl after a foul by Jena’s Andis Shala but the occasion was judged to be a success and this year’s friendly is already being eagerly anticipated.
“What a fantastic weekend this will be,” said Exiles fan Dave Went. “Great trip last year.”
“Football, beer and Carl Zeiss Jena fans. July 26 is going to be awesome!” said fellow supporter Robert Sullivan.
County chief Executive Dave Boddy said: “Everybody within the club is really excited by the prospect of welcoming FC Carl Zeiss Jena to Newport in July.
“We are delighted to be able to return the compliment that Jena extended to us last July, when we visited Germany.
“There is without doubt a unique bond between our two clubs and supporters which was so evident when we went to Germany.
“The spirit and camaraderie between the two sets of supporters on that visit is something I will remember for the rest of my life.
“We intend to make a very special weekend of it, with lots of other things going on as well as the game.”
Jena estimate that more than a thousand fans from Germany are likely to travel to Newport.
Chairman Lutz Lindemann said: “When we played in Newport in 1981, not a fan of Jena was allowed to accompany us!
“Now, 33 years after that memorable game, many fans will make the journey safely. This makes us very happy.”
General manager Roy Stapelfeld added: “The atmosphere in the last year in Weimar and Jena remains unforgotten. Many contacts and friendships were made. Now we are looking forward to the reunion.”