Fifteen minutes past 11 on a Sunday morning and the No.14 to Eupen rolled on to Aachen Bahnhofplatz.
Aachen on a Sunday morning may not be exactly where you want to be in Germany, at least when compared to the major centres of Cologne or Berlin.
Eupen – the capital of the German speaking municipality of Belgium – awaited me with its historical monuments, beautiful surrounding countryside and street cafés. As we left Germany so Belgium and a new Europe appeared all starkly more green and forest like.
Soon the architecture of many baroque buildings dating from the heyday of the cloth-making industry appeared. The houses looked different, almost picturesque compared to what was left behind in Germany.
Just up a hill close to the main city sites stands the Kehrwegstadion the venue for the home matches of K.A.S. Eupen.
Team Panda as they are called; the reasoning the predominantly black kit with white patches.
Two months after Germany signed a second document of surrender in Berlin on May 8th 1945 KAS Eupen was founded under its French name Alliance Sportive Eupen. The club was a merger of the two clubs the Association for Youth and Folk Games 1908 Eupen (Jugend Eupen) and FC Eupen.
The new club was registered with the Belgian Football Association under the matricule number 4276 and competed in Belgian Division II – Provinciale in its first season of football which was 1945-46.
As early as 1947 the Kehrweg Stadium was taking shape. A grandstand with 450 seats and additional standing room was built and this was added to in the 1950’s.
Eupen were promoted to the 2nd Division for the first time on May 10, 1970 and since then, AS Eupen has played continuously in one of Belgium’s two highest leagues and thus in professional football. In 1995 the 50th anniversary of the club in 1995 (50 Jahre A.S. Eupen 1945-1995) came the awarding of the title of the prefix “Royal”.
They were now Royal Sports Club Eupen.
The ‘Royal General Sports Association Eupen – KAS Eupen or in German ‘Königliche Allgemeine Sportvereinigung Eupen‘.
KAS Eupen wrote sporting history on May 23, 2010 thanks to a 2-1 win over RAEC Mons. This earned them promotion to the Belgian Super League for the first time.
Since 2016 they have been an established force in the top table of Belgian Football.
As if the German identity of the club in Belgium was not confusing enough so Eupen are now owned by a Qatari consortium. In 2012, the club was purchased by the government of Qatar and its Aspire Zone Foundation, who also own Paris Saint-Germain.
The move saw Eupen become a destination for many academy graduates from Africa, South America and Asia and the current coach is Spanish.
Standard Liege eventually won this game although only after some early fright. The visitors were more fluent, coherent and positive taking the game to Eupen in key areas of the field.
Off the field the Standard fans brought more than chant.
Smoke bombs went off by the dozen even before a ball was kicked while Eupen fans sang a multitude of songs in both German and French.
Clearly Eupen were the lesser partner in this Belgian Super League, hardly unexpected given the historical traditions of the visitors.
This was a clash of Liège Province; the only Belgian province that has borders with three countries. Given its huge national rivalry with Anderlecht its unlikely Standard would ever see KAS Eupen as a derby rival.
But for Eupen every visitor to the tiny Kehrwegstadion is a day to celebrate.
KAS Eupen: Slonina Gabriel; Van Genechten Yentl; Davidson Jason; Palsson Victor; Baiye Brandon; Nuhu Isaac, Charles Cook Regan; Magnee Gary; Pantovic Milos; Paeshuyse Rune; Lambert Boris
Standard Liege: Bodart Arnaud; Vanhesden Zinho; Kawabe Hayao; Hayden Isaac; Fossey Marlon; Kanga Wilfride; Alzate Steven; Sowah Kamal, Djenepo Moussa, Balikwisha William, Laifis Konstantinos
FT: KAS Eupen 1 vs Standard Liege 3
Goals: Wildried (0-1), Hayao (0-2), Kamal (0-3), Finnbagason (1-3)