Under normal circumstances, the Bundesliga boasts the highest average attendance of any league in Europe, with grounds from Bayern Munich’s Allianz Arena and Borussia Dortmund’s Signal Iduna Park down to Union Berlin’s Stadion an der Alten Försterei all packed full thanks to affordable prices, passionate fans and exciting football.
bundesliga.com runs you through all the stadiums that will be hosting German top-flight action in 2021/22…
Club: Bayern Munich
Bayern’s Allianz Arena is one of the most modern and technologically advanced football stadiums in the world. Opened for the start of the 2005/06 season to replace the Olympiastadion in Munich, it hosted the opening game of the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany with Bayern’s own Philipp Lahm scoring the tournament’s first goal.
Boasting space for 75,000 spectators in domestic fixtures, the Allianz Arena is just as famous for its exterior as what happens on the pitch inside. An architectural masterpiece, 2,784 diamond-shaped ‘cushions’ form the façade of the Arena and can be illuminated in any colour depending on the event – Red for Bayern matches, green for St. Patrick’s Day each year or as a rainbow. Rising up in the distance as you make the 875-yard walk from the station to the stadium itself, the Allianz Arena can appear like a spaceship on the horizon with its red glow lighting the way for spectators. And on clear nights, it can even be seen as far away as the Austrian mountains some 50 miles south.
Watch: Inside the Allianz Arena
Club: RB Leipzig
Leipzig’s Red Bull Arena has stood in its current form since 2004, when it was reconstructed within the city’s old Zentralstadion in a manner similar to Chicago’s Soldier Field. The rebuild was done for the 2006 World Cup in Germany, where Leipzig hosted five games. RB took over the stadium in 2010 and the name was changed to the Red Bull Arena, which will have capacity for 47,069 spectators from the start of 2021/22 following recent renovations. That is reduced to 40,839 for international games in an all-seater variation.
Club: Borussia Dortmund
One of the wonders of the modern world, BVB’s Signal Iduna Park is a cathedral to football, and a place all football fans should journey to at least once in their life. Packed to its 81,365 capacity every game, it is Germany’s largest stadium and has the largest single terrace for standing supporters in Europe, with 24,454 filling its world-famous Südtribüne (south stand) to create the awe-inspiring ‘Yellow Wall'. Deafeningly loud and utterly awe-inspiring, the stadium is a Mecca for thousands of football fans visiting Germany, and also happens to be affordable. The club’s most expensive Bundesliga season ticket for 2021/22 is priced at just €781 ($926, £670), while the cheapest for a standing place is just €235 ($279, £201).
Opened for the FIFA World Cup in 1974, the stadium - originally known as the Westfalenstadion - has been Dortmund’s home ever since the club outgrew their previous Rote Erde stadium, which still lies adjacent to the Signal Iduna Park. The arena hosted the 2001 UEFA Cup final and a further six matches at the 2006 World Cup. The ground is an unmissable landmark of the Dortmund skyline and the distinctive 62-metre-high yellow pylons atop the stadium can be seen for miles around, serving as a beacon for the masses making the pilgrimage to watch BVB.
Watch: Inside Dortmund's yellow walled home
Having well and truly established themselves in the Bundesliga at the end of the 1990s, Wolfsburg commissioned construction of the Volkswagen Arena in 2001. It was officially opened a year later with a capacity of 30,000 (22,000 seating, 8,000 standing). No detail was overlooked in its design, with the home changing room including massage rooms, saunas, showers and a revitalisation pool. For greater sustainability, the stadium has 216 energy-efficient LED floodlights and a hybrid grass pitch, while there are places for 650 bicycles outside for environmentally friendly fans.
Deutsche Bank Park
Club: Eintracht Frankfurt
Opened: 2005 (original stadium in 1925)
Deutsche Bank Park – as it’s been known since 2020 – was built on the site of Frankfurt's previous stadium – the Waldstadion, which had stood since 1925 – at a cost of €188 million between 2002 and 2005 with a capacity of 51,500 (9,300 standing). It’s the fourth stadium to be (re-)built there, and as you might expect by now from a stadium in Germany, no detail was too minute and it is kitted out with (among others): a retractable roof, a 30-tonne video cube that hangs over the centre circle, and a rain-water recycling system that covers almost 100 per cent of water usage in the stadium's toilets and restrooms.
In addition to hosting football matches - including men's and women's internationals - Frankfurt's home also regularly stages other major sporting and musical events. U2, The Rolling Stones, Depeche Mode and Bruce Springsteen have all played there, while heavyweight boxer Wladimir Klitschko successfully defended his world title at the ground in 2010.
Club: Bayer Leverkusen
The BayArena has been the club’s home since 1958 and was known as the Ulrich-Haberland-Stadion until 1998. At the same time, a hotel was built on site, which now forms the north stand and allows guests pitch-side seating. The stadium did not host a World Cup match in 2006, but was used by Germany as their base. Between 2007 and 2009, the ground was expanded to accommodate 30,000 spectators, after which it hosted four FIFA Women’s World Cup matches in 2011. The BayArena hosted the first live coverage of a Bundesliga match in 3D when Leverkusen played Hamburg on 14 March 2010.
Stadion an der Alten Försterei
Club: Union Berlin
The Stadion an der Alten Försterei (stadium at the old forester’s house) has been the home of Union and its predecessor clubs since 1920. It is located in the southeast of Berlin in the district of Köpenick and currently holds 22,012 spectators. Although one of the smallest grounds in the Bundesliga, it’s still one of the most imposing for visiting teams due to its majority standing terraces being so close to the pitch. The stadium also plays host to an annual Christmas carol event on 23 December for fans and friends of the club which sees almost 30,000 in attendance. It is now seen as an important part of the club’s identity and has been copied in various cities around Germany.
Club: Borussia Mönchengladbach
The Borussia-Park replaced the storied, much-loved but utterly outdated Bökelbergstadion in 2004, when Borussia competitively inaugurated their new home with a 3-2 defeat at the hands of Dortmund. Built on the site of former British army barracks, the arena currently holds just over 54,000 spectators for domestic matches, but could accommodate 60,000 if the south stand was used in its all-standing variant.
In any case, the Borussia-Park is a thoroughly modern stadium, with top-class views from all angles and an impressive green-white-black lighting system. The facilities inside are as swish as anywhere in Germany, while standing tickets started as cheaply as €14.50 in 2019. While all of that makes it well worth a visit, the centrepiece is the noise: Gladbach fans are as passionate as any in the land, with the famed Nordkurve (north stand) whipping up a quite a din every other week, especially when their team score and Scooter’s “Maria (I Like It Loud)” blares out of the speakers.
Club: VfB Stuttgart
The Mercedes-Benz Arena is one of 10 host stadiums for UEFA Euro 2024. Stuttgart's abode has undergone various renovations down the years, most recently having its pioneering roof membrane revamped in 2017. There's enough space for 60,449 fans, including 11,225 standing spots, but hide-away seats can be slid into place to ensure fixtures where standing is not permitted, such as UEFA competition, can have an all-seater capacity of 54,812. Under its various names and constructions, it has previously hosted European Cup finals in 1959 and 1988, World Cup matches in 1974 and 2006, the Euros in 1988, and the World Athletics Championship in 1993. The stadium was converted to football only by 2011.
Freiburg's Schwarzwald-Stadion was opened in 1954 and underwent several reconstructions in the 1990s, increasing capacity in each of the terraces to its present limit of 24,000 (10,000 standing), making it one of the smallest in the Bundesliga. Nevertheless, the most recent census recorded Freiburg's population at just over 220,000, meaning one in every ten people is present at every home game. The club sold out 99.6 per cent of seats in 2018/19, which was second only to Bayern in the league.
Proud of its reputation as being Germany's greenest city, the stadium produces 250,000 kwh of electricity each year thanks to the solar panels installed on the roof. A new, larger arena (34,700 capacity) is to be even more environmentally friendly and is nearing completion. The plan was to move into it by this season, and the club have registered both the Schwarzwald and new SC-Stadion as home grounds for when the time finally comes.
The PreZero Arena – prior to 2019, the Wirsol Rhein-Neckar-Arena – was only inaugurated in 2009 and as such it is one of the most modern stadiums in Germany. Tech geeks will be delighted to discover that the roof is covered in solar panels that produce enough energy to power 270 family households each year, while the giant screens at either end of the pitch span a surface area of 52 square metres.
Although it is relatively small compared to other stadiums around the country, its 30,150 (23,400 seated, 6,750 standing) capacity can still become an intimidating cauldron for visitors, once the home fans get into full voice. It was a venue for the 2011 Women’s World Cup and has hosted Germany’s men in two friendlies against Uruguay and Peru.
Mainz’s home since 2011 is currently known as the Opel Arena. The 34,000-capacity stadium was originally called the Coface Arena and was built to replace the ageing Stadion am Bruchweg. It was nominated for the Stadium Business Award for innovative and new ideas in stadium construction. The ground hosted its first and so far only Germany match in June 2014 as Die Mannschaft faced Armenia in their final warm-up game for the 2014 World Cup that they won.
The WWK Arena was completed in July 2009 after a 20-month construction project. It has a capacity of 30,660 (19,556 seating, 8,000 standing), but the architects' designs were such that it can still be expanded to 50,000 in a second phase of building, if desired. A complex system that harnesses the earth's natural geothermal energy provides the stadium's power, making it the first CO2-neutral arena in the world, saving approximately 750 million tons of carbon dioxide each year.
The technical aspects of Augsburg's home aside, the steep stands give the venue a compact feel and help create a spine-tingling atmosphere on matchdays, with the noise echoing around the ground. German broadsheet newspaper the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung even once labelled the stadium "The Anfield of the B17 highway" due to its unique atmosphere. It was also a host ground for the 2011 Women’s World Cup. A statue of local boy and former player Helmut Haller – scorer in the 1966 World Cup final against England – was unveiled outside the stadium in August 2015.
Club: Hertha Berlin
Hertha have played at Berlin’s Olympic Stadium – the Olympiastadion – since their maiden Bundesliga season in 1963. The ground was built for the 1936 Olympic Games in the city and currently holds 74,475 spectators following renovations completed in 2004. The stadium also hosts the DFB Cup final each May. In previous years when Hertha have not been in the Bundesliga, they have often played home games away from the Olympiastadion at smaller grounds in Berlin, such as the Friedrich-Ludwig-Jahn-Sportpark, the Poststadion and previously at the “Plumpe” Stadion am Gesundbrunnen before its demolition. The club are looking to move into a newly built, smaller stadium inside the Olympic Park or elsewhere in the city by 2025.
Club: Arminia Bielefeld
The SchücoArena may be out of the club’s ownership, but its sale to local businesses not only saved the club financially, but crucially kept it in the hands of the community. Known by fans as the Bielefelder Alm for its similarities to alpine grasslands, it has been the club’s home since 1926 and Bielefeld have the option to buy it back in 2023 as part of their 15-year lease agreement signed upon its sale in 2018.
Hit by a bomb during World War Two, various rebuilding works have been undertaken over the years, so long gone are the grass mounds that once housed supporters and in their place are four complete stands that make for a 26,515 (8,005 standing and 18,510 seating) stadium, just a 25-minute walk from the city centre. In 2019, Arminia became the first club in German professional football to offer a special area in the stadium to allow people with autism an easier stadium experience, with two panoramic boxes that contain rest and soundproofed rooms.
Currently known as the RheinEnergieStadion, the 50,000-capacity stadium to the west of the city in the district of Müngersdorf was originally opened in 1923, but most recently underwent renovations in preparation for the 2006 World Cup. It hosted five games in that tournament, as well as three in the FIFA Confederations Cup the previous year. Recognisable by its four illuminated towers in the corners of the stadium, the ground is known for its vibrant atmosphere with the stands and fans very close to the pitch.
Football has been played on the site of the club's Ruhrstadion since 1911, but - as you might imagine - the venue has undergone numerous facelifts and total reconstructions in the last century. With a capacity of 27,599, the ground on Castroper Straße has staged a number of international matches since Germany faced Hungary there in 1922. The most notable were in women's football, with a European Championship quarter-final and semi-final in 1990 and 1995 respectively being played in Bochum.
Sportpark Ronhof | Thomas Sommer
Club: Greuther Fürth
The 16,626-capacity Sportpark Ronhof | Thomas Sommer is the smallest ground in the Bundesliga for 2021/22 and has been Fürth's home since 1910, but has been through a number of renovations since. None more drastic than after the team's previous promotion to the Bundesliga that demanded major changes to the South Stand in order to meet top-flight requirements. Seat numbers were only added the evening prior to their season opener at home to Bayern. Its original name for the best part of 90 years was the ‘Sportplatz am Ronhofer Weg gegenüber dem Zentral-Friedhof’, which translates as the catchy ‘sports field on Ronhofer Weg opposite the central cemetery’.