The Bundesliga boasts the biggest crowds in world football, and those fans watch their heroes perform in some of the most cutting edge stadiums on the planet.
Red Bull ArenaRB Leipzig
In a three-part series, bundesliga.com looks at the state-of-the-art stages on which the stars of Germany's top tier perform.
Leipzig is a city steeped in history, and football has its share. In the Leipziger Zentralstadion - the Red Bull Arena's predecessor - 100,000 crammed in to watch the derby between SC Rotation Leipzig and SC Lokomotive Leipzig on 9 September, 1956 - still a German record. There were 10,000 more fans shoehorned into the venue for East Germany's international with Czechoslovakia in October the following year. RB Leipzig set a new national best for a fourth division game in their encounter with Sportfreunde Lotte on 29 May, 2013.
As part of the complex that provided the backdrop to the 1936 Olympic Games, the stadium is covered by Germany's laws protecting historical monuments, meaning it is unique in the Bundesliga in having no standing areas. That made the four-year makeover it was given between 2000 and 2004 all the more difficult, though Hertha were granted one wish: to make the running track a striking blue to match their colours.
Audi SportparkFC Ingolstadt 04
The predecessor to the Schwarzwald-Stadion was inaugurated on 1 September, 1954, and the ground was only fitted with floodlights when Freiburg were promoted to the Bundesliga in 1993. At 100.5 metres long, the pitch is currently 4.5 metres too short and as a result the club needs a special licence to play in the top flight. But that is not the only unique characteristic of the playing field – it slopes 1 metre northwards.
Promotion to Bundesliga 2 in 2008 meant Ingolstadt needed a new home to meet the requirements of professional football. After a two-year grace period that enabled them to use their former stadium, FCI opened the gates to their new home, built on the site of an old oil refinery, on 24 July 2010.
Wirsol Rhein-Neckar-ArenaTSG 1899 Hoffenheim
There is a pre- and post-1998 for HSV's home. That year, a major facelift was begun, including the pitch being turned 90 degrees, meaning the club's fanatical fans in the Westkurve are now housed in the Nordtribune. When it was finished in summer 2000, it was among the most modern stadia in Germany, and provided a state-of-the-art backdrop to matches at the 2006 FIFA World Cup.
The picture-postcard university city of Heidelberg was initially slated as the site for the stadium, but with the club and city officials unable to strike a deal, Sinsheim was chosen. Appropriately enough for a venue built directly opposite a museum dedicated to technology, the 460 car parking spaces outside it are covered with solar panels that contribute enough electricity to the local grid to provide sufficient power for 270 households.