Kaiserslautern have been pushed to the brink of bankruptcy with the news that they owe _12.9 million in back taxes.

The club have an estimated debt of _30 million, but now they had been ordered by the Kaiserslautern tax office to pay _8.3 million immediately and the rest later.

“The situation of the club has dramatically worsened,” confirmed chairman Rene C. Jaeggi.

Kaiserslautern launched an investigation into alleged financial irregularities by the club’s former management last November and their financial woes were compounded by the collapse of KirchMedia, which held the television rights for the Bundesliga.

Indicative of their problems was the decision to sell the transfer rights for Germany striker Miroslav Klose to the regiona lottery company for €5 million. That windfall enabled them to raise €20 million in credit from local banks.

Their off-the-field problems have been mirrored on the pitch where they have struggled all season and currently languish second from bottom in the Bundesliga.

More worryingly, though there is the very real prospect of the club being demoted for financial reasons. Only clubs who can guarantee their financial health are granted the licence needed to play in the top two divisions in Germany.