The Red Bull Arena has grown in stature along with its main tenant, RB Leipzig, to become one of Germany's top football grounds. The stadium is built within the old Zentralstadion and marries history with future ambition. bundesliga.com takes a closer look at where Tottenham Hotspur will be playing in March...
While the current Red Bull Arena was opened in 2004, the site has history that stretches back far into the past. As early as 1867, there were sports facilities on the same spot as the current stadium. The first half of the 20th century saw plans to create a massive stadium, with world events standing in the way of making the arena a reality.
After the Second World War, the new government put its efforts towards finally constructing a football stadium and sports complex. The ruins of old Leipzig went into the construction of the new colosseum, literally: thousands of tonnes of rubble and debris were pressed into bricks and used to create a brand new 100,000 seat stadium.
The Zentralstadion (central stadium) held its first match in August of 1956 and was regularly filled to capacity, setting attendance records that still endure to this day. After the reunification of Germany, Leipzig's main club, VfB Leipzig (previously known as 1. FC Lokomotive Leipzig), played in Bundesliga 2, save for one unsuccessful season in the top flight in 1993/1994. After their Bundesliga relegation, VfB left the deteriorating stadium, leaving it without a tenant.
As part of Germany's bid to host the 2006 FIFA World Cup, it was agreed that some of the matches would be held in the former East Germany. To accommodate this, the old stadium was torn down in preparation for the construction of a modern football ground.
Rather than remove all trace of the sporting tradition that had gone before, the planners came up with an ingenious plan. They would build the new stadium inside the old. Within the bowl of the old Zentralstadion, a new 44,000-seat arena rose. This new structure hosted three matches of the 2005 Confederations Cup and five matches of the 2006 World Cup.
In 2010, following up on the initial agreement with drinks manufacturer Red Bull, the stadium was renamed the Red Bull Arena and became the home of the newly formed RB Leipzig. The new club fought its way up the tiers of German football, reaching Bundesliga 2 in 2015 and the top division in 2016.
Die Roten Bullen have since regularly sold out Bundesliga, DFB Cup and Champions League matches in their new home.
By car: The Red Bull Arena is just northwest of Leipzig's city centre and can be reached by taking the Leipzig-West exit from the A9 motorway and heading towards the B181 motorway.
Parking: Parking is very limited around the stadium and it is recommended that motorists take advantage of park&ride spaces available at some of the city's main attractions.
By train: The nearest light rail station to the stadium is Sportforum, which is served by tram lines 3, 7, 8, and 15. Visitors arriving at Leipzig Hauptbahnhof (central station) can take advantage of the shuttle service provided by the club.
RB Leipzig matches regularly sell out, so it is advisable to take advantage of the pre-sale services on the club's website. The ticket shop is updated with news of which tickets are available after being released to season ticket holders and club members.
Just in front of the stadium, fans can find the RB Leipzig Fanshop am Stadionvorplatz. The shop has over 160 square metres covered with shirts, scarves, mugs, and hats, and is open from Monday to Saturday.
Guided tours of the Red Bull Arena last around 60 minutes and provide a look deep inside the world of RB Leipzig. Fans get to see the press rooms, visit the dressing room, walk down the tunnel onto the pitch, and also go up to the highest point in the stadium for a panoramic view over the rooftops of Leipzig. Information about Red Bull Arena tours can be found here (link only in German).
Did you know?
The current official capacity of the stadium is 41,939 all-covered seats. The record attendance, however, is 43,348 spectators, achieved in a DFB Cup match against Wolfsburg in 2015. That record may not hold for long, though, as Leipzig are currently in the process of renovating and expanding the Red Bull Arena, with construction expected to be completed in 2024.
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