FC Metz was founded in 1932 by the amalgamation of two amateur athletic clubs, and shortly thereafter became a professional team; it is one of the oldest professional football teams in France. Its roots trace back further, to the SpVgg Metz club, formed in 1905 when the city of Metz was part of the German Empire. SpVgg played in the tier-one Westkreis-Liga for a season in 1913–14, before the outbreak of the First World War stopped all play. Some players of this club were part of the Cercle Athlétique Messin in 1919, which went on to become FC Metz in 1932. Messin was a leading club in the Division d’Honneur – Lorraine, taking out league titles in 1920, 1921, 1922, 1924, 1926, 1927, 1929 and 1931.
FC Metz has never won the French championship; its best result was a second-place finish in 1998, behind RC Lens. The title race lasted until the ultimate fixture, however Metz never recovered from a 0-2 loss against Lens on their home turf. Metz won the Coupe de France twice, in 1984 and 1988, the first of these victories enabled it to qualify for the European Cup Winners’ Cup where it achieved arguably the team’s greatest moment, an upset of FC Barcelona in the first round of the competition in October 1984.