Bayern Munich's Allianz Arena opened its doors in 2005 ahead of the 2006 World Cup - © 2005 Getty Images
Bayern Munich's Allianz Arena opened its doors in 2005 ahead of the 2006 World Cup - © 2005 Getty Images
60 years of Bundesliga

The stadiums of the Bundesliga's first 60 years


There has certainly been quite a journey from the rickety grounds of the 1960s to the shiny modern arenas the Bundesliga stars play in today. takes a quick look at the development of stadiums in the league's history.

When the Bundesliga kicked off in 1963, Borussia Dortmund's Rote Erde and Schalke's Glückauf-Kampfbahn were just a couple of the less familiar names of grounds to modern eyes. Even those to have withstood the test of time such as Eintracht Frankfurt's Waldstadion, Hamburg's Waldparkstadion or Kaiserslautern's Betzenbergstadion looked very different in those days.

The Bundesliga began with fans hooked - the average attendance of 28,825 per match in its second season would not be bettered until the 1990s - but with stadiums that often left a lot to be desired. Many dated back to the 1920s and featured open pitches with large, frequently wooden terraces.

Schalke won the 1997 UEFA Cup while the Parkstadion was their home - with the athletics' track making for a usual place to parade the trophy. - imago images / Horstmüller

The 1972 Olympics in Munich and 1974 World Cup gave the Bundesliga clubs a chance to have their grounds revitalised. Bayern Munich and, later, 1860 Munich found a home at the new Olympiastadion in their city. Dortmund's Westfalenstadion, now known as Singal Iduna Park, was one of the  stadiums built for 1974, while several others such as VfB Stuttgart's Neckarstadion, the Waldstadion and Waldparkstadion were totally remodeled.

Watch: Inside Dortmund's giant home

The Bundesliga was now home to several massive stadiums, and a short boom in attendances resulted, with Stuttgart becoming the first club in league history with an average attendance over 50,000 in a season in 1977/78.

Attendances declined throughout the 1980s, however, with football violence becoming a problem in Germany. Many of the new stadiums also suffered the same design issue of an athletics track running around the perimeter of the football pitch and removing the stands from the immediate proximity to the playing surface.

That was a concern that would be factored into the plans for stadiums at the 2006 World Cup. Some of the existing grounds received major upgrades to modernise them in time for the tournament, such as the grand old Berlin Olmypiastadion - home of Hertha - which hosted the final. Other grounds were built from scratch - such as the Allianz Arena in Munich, which became a model of the modern grounds designed around ensuring a top experience for fans.

Watch: Take a look around Munich and the Allianz Arena

RB Leipzig were able to move into a stadium constructed for the 2006 World Cup in 2010 and gain a huge boost in their efforts to earn promotion to the Bundesliga from their modern surroundings.

Watch: Inside Leipzig's Red Bull Arena

Schalke had the good fortune to move into their new arena in 2001, well ahead of the showpiece event - and have retained an incredible backing from their supporters as a result, despite mixed fortunes on the pitch in recent years. 

A sustained growth in Bundesliga attendance had been ongoing since the 1990s and reached a high point with an average of over 45,000 in 2011/12. Dortmund were from this time able to regularly host sell-out crowds of over 80,000 as fans flocked across Germany to affordable, friendly and modern stadiums.

FreiburgMainz, Augsburg and Hoffenheim were among the clubs to capitalise on the new wave of fan interest to build stadiums since 2006 - ensuring that the Bundesliga is among the best in the business for its teams' homes.

Watch: Inside Freiburg's Europa-Park Stadion, the Bundesliga's newest stadium

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