The Waldstadion , officially Deutsche Bank Park (previously Commerzbank Arena ) since July 1, 2020 , due to a name sponsorship , is a football stadium in Frankfurt am Main . It is located in the city forest in the Sachsenhausen district . The 1925 opened, several times since then the modernized stadium was at the 2006 FIFA World Cup from 2002 to 2005 as a pure football stadium without a track and field facility newly built, on 15 June 2005 with the opening match of the FIFA Confederations Cup , Germany against Australia, inaugurated. With a capacity of 51,500 spectators, it is one of the ten largest football stadiums in Germany .
Since July 1, 2020, the main tenant of the stadium has been Eintracht Frankfurt Fußball AG for a period of 15 years , which among other things plays its Bundesliga home games here and holds the rights to operate and market the stadium as part of an extensive usage contract. By the 2023/24 season, Eintracht Frankfurt will expand its capacity to around 60,000 seats.
In addition to the football stadium, the Deutsche Bank Park includes other sports facilities. This includes additional soccer fields in the area of the stadium, the stadium pool , a beach volleyball facility and a gym ( winter sports hall ). In place of the previous tennis facility, Eintracht Frankfurt is currently building the professional camp for the office and the licensed player department. A formerly existing cycling track , an artificial ice rink and a mini golf course are no longer available. The sports park is connected to the S-Bahn network via the Frankfurt am Main Stadion station; the tram serves the Stadium tram stop .
The stadium is owned by the Stadt Sportpark Stadion Frankfurt am Main Gesellschaft für Projektentwicklungen mbH . The operator from 2005 to 2020 was Stadion Frankfurt Management GmbH , in which Lagardère Sports Germany GmbH and Apleona HSG Facility Management GmbH each hold a 50 percent stake. The operating contract of Stadion Frankfurt Management GmbH and the naming rights of the Commerzbank-Arena ended on June 30, 2020.
Construction and architecture
The current stadium is the fourth stadium in the same location. It was designed in 2000 by the Hamburg architects Gerkan, Marg und Partner in collaboration with the Stuttgart engineers Schlaich Bergermann und Partner and built from 2002 to 2005 for the 2006 soccer World Cup in Germany. The stadium was rebuilt in sections – stand after stand – while the game was running. Officially, there is talk of a conversion, but in fact it is a new building at the same place.
The current sports facility is purely a football stadium and, unlike the previous building, does not have an athletics track. While the spectator seats in the old stadium were up to 125 meters away from the pitch, the absence of the running track made it possible to move the stands closer to the pitch. No spectator seat is more than 60 meters away from the field. The 51,500 spectator seats for football are distributed over two tiers as well as a two-story “intermediate belt” in which 74 “business boxes” are housed. For American football games and international soccer matches, the 8,000 standing places in the stadium are converted into seats, resulting in a reduced capacity of 48,500 spectators. According to FIFA, the number of spectators at the 2006 World Cup was 48,000. At concerts found in the stadium also up to 65,000 spectators.The slightly curved stands are embedded in the existing earth walls. An integrated underground car park offers 1,800 parking spaces. The stadium is 210 m long and 190 m wide, has a gross floor area of around 110,000 m² and an enclosed space of around 480,000 m³.
A striking feature is the 37,500 m² tent roof, which is modeled on a rim with spokes. The roof load of 3,000 tons is supported by 44 main supports and transferred to the outside walls of the stadium by means of wire ropes via an external pressure ring. The inner roof covers the entire playing field with 9,000 m² and is, according to the arena operator, “the largest steel-rope-membrane inner roof” in the world. It can be completely folded up in the centrally suspended, 30 tonne and 31 m³ large video cube . The stadium is therefore also known as “the largest convertible in the world”. The process of closing and opening the Teflon-coated polyester fabricThe inner roof produced takes about 15 to 20 minutes. However, it must not be closed during storms or snowfall. The roof of the arena and the architects and engineers responsible were awarded the IABSE’s “ Outstanding Structure Award ” in 2007 .
The stadium with the roof closed
The lockable roof enables events to be carried out protected from the weather in heavy rain ; However, there were still a few problems with the system at first: For example, at the final of the Confederations Cup in June 2005, the rain, which fell from the sky at up to seven liters per square meter, due to incorrect bracing of the roof structure in a hollow, flowed through an overflow valve in the area of the corner flag and brought back memories of the “water battle” of the 1974 World Cup . In everyday life in the league, the opening mechanism failed in October 2005 due to a hydraulic fault. The rainwater collected in the folds of the half-open roof and spilled over onto the lawn. There have been no further breakdowns since then; Usually, however, the roof remains open during Bundesliga games.
The stadium is the architectural model for the Arena Națională in the Romanian capital Bucharest , which was completed in August 2011. The PGE Narodowy in Warsaw has a very similar closable roof structure . Both stadiums were designed by the same architectural office as the Frankfurt Arena.
The new Waldstadion is primarily designed as a soccer arena, but can also be used for other grass sports such as American football and for major events. The main stand offers space that can be marketed for meetings, congresses and other events. With more than a million visitors annually, the stadium is one of the most popular stadiums in Germany.
Exterior view during the 2005 Confederations Cup
The new arena was officially opened at the 2005 FIFA Confederations Cup , the test run for the 2006 World Cup. The first game in the new Waldstadion was the opening game between Germany and Australia (final score 4: 3) on June 15, 2005. Two further group games and the final between Brazil and Argentina (final score 4: 1) were also played in the new stadium.
The main user of the new arena is the Eintracht Frankfurt soccer team , which has played its home games in the Waldstadion since the introduction of the Bundesliga in 1963. The so far highest victory in the new stadium was achieved by Eintracht in the game against Düsseldorf in the 2018/19 season (final score 7-1). In the 2006/07 season, Eintracht received international club teams for the first time in the new Waldstadion at the UEFA Cup games against Brøndby IF (4-0), US Palermo (1-2) and Newcastle United (0-0).
The stadium also serves as an alternative location for other teams’ home games: 1. FSV Mainz 05 played the qualifying games for the 2005/06 UEFA Cup against Armenian representative MIKA Aschtarak and against Keflavík ÍF from Iceland, as well as the first round game against Sevilla FC in the Waldstadion.
The domestic football women’s 1. FFC Frankfurt defeated in the stadium on 24 May 2008 at the final leg of their UEFA Women’s Cup to Umeå UK with 3: 2, won for the third time the European Cup and made with 27,500 spectators and a new record in the women Club football on. The SV Wehen Wiesbaden played the first match day of the 2007/08 season of the 2nd Bundesliga in the stadium because their own Brita-Arena had not been completed in time. Due to the new construction of the Frankfurter Volksbank Stadium , the FSV Frankfurt also had to form the 2nd Bundesliga in the 2008/09 season and also move to the stadium. For the 2009/10 season, the club returned to the home stadium. In August 1974 Kickers Offenbach had already played its Bundesliga home game against Bayern Munich in what was then the Waldstadion.
The Turkish association has also hosted several games in the arena. In the Frankfurt stadium, Beşiktaş Istanbul won the Turkish Super Cup with a 1-0 win against Galatasaray Istanbul , and the qualifying games for the 2008 European Football Championship against Malta (final score 2-0 for Turkey) took place in the arena due to the suspension by UEFA. , against Moldova (5-0 for Turkey) and against Norway (final score 2-2).
The stadium was also the venue for the 1974 and 2006 World Cups , the 1988 European Football Championship and the 2005 Confederations Cup . Particular mention should be made of the intermediate round match between the German national team and Poland, known as the “ Frankfurt Water Battle ” at the 1974 World Cup , which was played by FIFA despite the fact that it was almost impossible to play on due to heavy rainfall. Four years later, Germany had to play Hungary for the international match however, in the 60th minute when the score was 0-0 due to adverse weather conditions, this time heavy fog, canceled. Another important game of the German national soccer team in Frankfurt’s Waldstadion is a 9-3 win against Romania on July 14, 1940, in which the then 19-year-old Fritz Walter , later honorary captain of the national team, made his international debut with three goals. In addition, five DFB Cup finals were held in the former Waldstadion (1966, 1969, 1976, 1982 and 1984). In the soccer World Cup Women 2011 the arena was, among other things hosts the final.
The stadium will host the 2024 European football championship and will be expanded to a capacity of 60,000 spectators (for Bundesliga matches) by the start of the 2023/24 season.
European Championship qualifier between Germany and Poland
Games of the German national soccer team
The Waldstadion was the home of the Frankfurt Galaxy team from 1991 to 2007, with one interruption in 1993 and 1994 when the league was paused . This era ended with the dissolution of NFL Europe , the European “offshoot” of the North American National Football League , to which the Galaxy had belonged since the league was founded in 1991. On March 23, 1991, the team lost the opening game of the then still called World League of American Football division against the London Monarchs with 11:24. After a two-year break, the league resumed game operations in 1995, so American football games were played again in Frankfurt. The last game in the Frankfurt franchise in the stadium took place on June 23, 2007, when the World Bowl , the championship of the NFL Europe, was held here for the third time after 1998 and 2000 . The Galaxy could not use the home advantage and were defeated by the Hamburg Sea Devils with 28:37.
Even after the Frankfurt Galaxy has withdrawn, American football will continue to be played in the stadium: from 2008 to 2010, the stadium was the venue for the German Bowl , the final of the German American Football Championship, in each autumn . In July 2010, the arena was also one of three venues for the American Football European Championship . Here found among others. Opening and final match: With a 26:10 against France, the German team used their home advantage and on July 31, 2010 became European champions for the second time since 2001.
The German Bowl XLI , the final of the GFL in the 2019 season , took place on October 12, 2019 in the Waldstadion. The German Bowls until 2024 are also to be played in the Frankfurt stadium; there is an option for the further years from 2025 to 2028.
In front of 44,189 spectators, the Rhein-Neckar Löwen played against HSV Hamburg on handball day .
Handball Day took place in and around the stadium on September 6, 2014 . The highlight of the evening was the Bundesliga match between the Rhein-Neckar Löwen and HSV Hamburg . The Rhein-Neckar Löwen won the game with 26:24, in front of the world record crowd – for an indoor handball game – from 44,189 spectators.
Other major events
The gymnasts also returned to the Frankfurt Arena: In 2009 the International German Gymnastics Festival took place in Frankfurt for the fifth time. On September 11, 2010, the boxing match for the world heavyweight championship between Wladimir Klitschko and Samuel Peter was organized in the arena, which ended in the 10th round by Klitschko by technical knockout.
As early as 2007, the arena followed the era of the large open-air concerts at the Waldstadion: For the first time since the new building, the Rolling Stones , Genesis and Herbert Grönemeyer made guest appearances in the Frankfurt stadium; Artists like Madonna , Bon Jovi , Bruce Springsteen , Celine Dion and Depeche Mode followed in 2008 and 2009 . With Mario Barth and Bulent Ceylan guest appearances in summer 2011 for the first time two comedians in the arena.
Concerts and festivals take place regularly in the Waldstadion, including the BigCityBeats World Club Dome (2014).
The BigCityBeats World Club Dome has been held in the stadium at the end of May or the beginning of June every year since 2013. In 2015, 100,000 EDM fans attended the three-day festival, where 150 DJs performed on 14 stages. Headliners included David Guetta, Hardwell, Steve Aoki, Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike. In 2016, the singers Rihanna and Beyoncé and the singer Billy Joel appeared as part of the summer concert in the arena. Since the boom in oversized public viewing at the soccer world championship, 2006 such events take place again and again in the stadium. For example, more than 50,000 people were able to watch the final of the 2008 European Football Championship between Germany and Spain in the stadium. Since 2006, the annual regional congress of Jehovah’s Witnesses has also been held in the stadium. In 2006, 2009 and 2014 a large international congress of Jehovah’s Witnesses was held. These major events brought together visitors from all over the world and the program was presented in several languages.
Sponsor logo until 2020
Exterior view of the arena, May 2007
As part of a name sponsorship by Commerzbank , the Waldstadion was renamed the Commerzbank Arena on July 1, 2005, initially for 10 years . Commerzbank paid around 30 million euros to the municipal operating company for this right. Since Commerzbank is not a partner of FIFA, FIFA demanded that the operator designate the arena as the FIFA World Cup Stadium in Frankfurt, both for the 2005 Confederations Cup and the 2006 World Cup . During the 2011 Women’s World Cup , the name was accordingly FIFA Women’s World Cup Stadium Frankfurt . From 2006 to 2020 the roof of the stadium bore the sponsor’s nameCommerzbank Arena as a neon sign . The letters almost reached the size of the famous Hollywood sign and were Europe’s largest lettering.
The renaming of the Waldstadion is controversial and met with incomprehension, especially among the football fans of Frankfurt Eintracht and other clubs . Many continue to speak of the “Waldstadion”, which they prove by chants against commercialization. Even Rolf Müller , President of the Sports Federation Hesse , sees the loss of the historic name as a loss of sporting identity. In the media, the stadium is sometimes called the World Cup arena . In the Reclaim the name campaign carried out on September 13, 2014 by the fan organization Nordwest Kurve eV, which received a lot of attention in the national media, numerous Eintracht fans met at a kiosk to play the lottery together and, with the possible profit, to enter into negotiations for the reassignment of the stadium’s naming rights in 2015. Ultimately, a profit of 384.20 euros was achieved. The fans offered this amount to the stadium operator together with an offer to purchase the naming rights to the stadium from Eintracht Frankfurt on a home game day. The fans did not receive a response to the offer. The stadium operator invited them to talk, but the rights holder Commerzbank did not want to comment on the matter.
Commerzbank let the sponsorship contract expire on June 30, 2020 after 15 years. The new name sponsor was Deutsche Bank on July 1, 2020 , with which a contract was concluded until June 30, 2027 with an option to extend. Since July 1, 2020, the stadium has been officially called Deutsche Bank Park . The neon sign on the roof has been made up of blue and white LEDs since August 2020 . At 73 meters wide, the facility is smaller than before, but still one of the longest in Europe.
As in other modern stadiums with narrow stands and extensive roofing of the spectator stands, the quality of the turf in the Waldstadion is also poorer than in a spacious athletics stadium. The playing surface even has to be completely replaced more often than in the previous Waldstadion. For this reason, a lawn lighting system was installed in the arena in autumn 2007. The powerful system of special lamps illuminates the lawn on days when there is no play, so that it can grow better on cold and dark days and does not have to be completely replaced as often. A few days after a Madonna concert, a Bundesliga match in the Waldstadion had to be canceled for the first time in September 2008 due to the damaged turf. Although the turf had been replaced after the concert, the referee classified the risk of injury to the actors as too great due to the lack of hold of the sword in the sub-floor.
In January 2007 the church in the arena was inaugurated, a 90 m² ecumenical prayer room in the main stand designed by Werner Pokorny . After the chapels in the Berlin Olympic Stadium and the Veltins Arena in Gelsenkirchen, this was the third prayer room in a German stadium. Eugen Eckert , a well-known composer and lyricist of modern hymns , works there as a Protestant pastor . In November 2007 the Eintracht Museum was opened in the Waldstadion. On over 400 m² of exhibition space, it documents the more than one hundred year history of Eintracht Frankfurt.
The stadium received a new video cube for the 2020/21 season . The 6.9 ton cube from LG Electronics has a screen area of 276 m² . The almost six million LEDs offer an image resolution of 6,628 × 865 pixels .
Football match between Germany and Finland at the 1925 Workers’ Olympiad: teams enter the main stand
The original Waldstadion was opened after four years of construction on May 21, 1925 (the swimming lane was opened on July 5 and the cycling track on September 15 of that year). The designs came from Horticultural Director Max Bromme for the entire facility and from City Planning Officer Gustav Schaumann (1861–1937) for the grandstand building. The total cost was 3.7 million marks (in today’s purchasing power € 14 million).The site of a former military shooting range was chosen and a sports park with a festival meadow and an integrated cycling and swimming stadium was designed. The stadium had a capacity of 35,000 spectators. The grandstands consisted mostly of earthfills including the former bullet trap for the south grandstand . Only the main grandstand on the north side was made of reinforced concrete and had a facade modeled on an ancient Greek theater. The first major national event was the final of the German soccer championship on June 7, 1925. 1. FC Nürnberg defeated the local FSV Frankfurt Mit 1: 0. Other sporting highlights of the 1920s included the first Workers’ Olympics in 1925, international football matches against Italy and Switzerland and an international athletics match, also against Switzerland.
The Workers ‘Olympics from July 24 to 28, 1925 in the Waldstadion was an important sports festival for the German workers’ sports movement.
The planned application for hosting the Olympic Games in 1936 had to be withdrawn in favor of the capital Berlin. In 1937 the audience capacity was increased to 55,000 by expanding the back straight.
Under the National Socialists , the Waldstadion, now known as the “sports field”, was used in the 1930s for political events, especially parades and gatherings, with up to 150,000 participants. One of the last sporting highlights before the Second World War was the world record over 400 m by Rudolf Harbig on August 12, 1939.
After the war, the Waldstadion was initially confiscated by US soldiers, renamed “Victory Stadium” and used for their own purposes. In July 1946, however, the stadium was reopened for German events. Sports highlights of the post-war period were the German athletics championships in 1946, top-class local derbies of the Eintracht, FSV and Offenbacher Kickers , the comeback of Max Schmeling with his knockout victory against Werner Vollmer on September 28, 1947 and that Frankfurt Gymnastics Festival 1948.
First reconstruction, introduction of the Bundesliga
A “chaos game” gave rise to the first major complete renovation. During the Eintracht Frankfurt soccer game against 1. FC Kaiserslautern in May 1953, almost 70,000 tickets were sold for the main arena, which was designed for 55,000 spectators, so that there were fights with more than 200 injured when thousands more fans forcibly sought admission. The city of Frankfurt then decided to undertake the first comprehensive modernization.
After 19 months of construction, the renovated and enlarged Waldstadion was returned to its sporting purpose on May 14, 1955. Outstanding sporting events in the 1950s included the German Athletics Championships in 1955, Germany ’s international football matches against Switzerland and Spain, and Eintracht’s participation in the final round of the 1959 German championship . In the game against FK Pirmasens a record number of spectators that is still valid today was set. 81,000 spectators saw the victory of Eintracht on May 23, which later defeated the arch rivals of Kickers Offenbach in the finals in Berlin and thus became German football champions for the first time and to this day for the only time.
In 1960 the stadium was given the international requirements, which at the time was probably the most modern floodlight system in Germany. In the 1959/60 season, the Waldstadion experienced a number of Eintracht European Cup encounters against Young Boys Bern , the Wiener Sport-Club and the Glasgow Rangers , who were defeated 6-1 in the semifinals in front of 77,000 spectators (6-3 second leg). Only in the final, also in Glasgow, were the Frankfurters defeated by Real Madrid, who dominated Europe at the time with 3: 7. The first Bundesliga match in the Waldstadion took place on August 24, 1963. The clash of Eintracht against 1. FC Kaiserslautern on the first match day of the newly founded top German soccer division ended 1: 1.
Another sporting highlight of the 1960s was the fight for the heavyweight world championship in boxing between Muhammad Ali and Karl Mildenberger on September 10, 1966, which Ali won after breaking off in the 12th round in front of 22,000 spectators.
The main stand of the “old” Waldstadion in September 2001
The second major renovation of the Waldstadion was necessary for the 1974 World Cup . From May 1972 to January 1974 the stadium was practically rebuilt again to meet the requirements of the World Cup venues for comfort and safety. The opening ceremony for the 1974 World Cup took place in the Waldstadion on June 13, 1974, and five group matches were played here, including the “ Frankfurt Water Battle ” on July 3, when the German team played the decisive game in the second final round Defeated opponents from Poland 1-0 on a place that was considered to be almost unplayable, moved into the final and in Munich by beating the NetherlandsBecame world champion. The evidently necessary drainage and turf heating were installed in 1978.
Further highlights of the 1970s were the DFB Cup final and the German athletics championships in 1976 as well as the games in the 1979/80 UEFA Cup , which resulted in Eintracht Frankfurt winning the UEFA Cup by beating Borussia 1-0 in the final second leg Mönchengladbach ended on May 21, 1980.
New events in the 1980s and 1990s
Also in the 1980s it was on the one hand the already well-known sports that attracted large numbers of spectators to the Waldstadion. In addition to the German Gymnastics Festival in 1983, the German Athletics Championships in 1988, the finals for the DFB Cup in 1982 and 1984 and the Supercup in 1987 and 1988, the games of the European Football Championship in 1988 , on the occasion of which a modern video display board should be mentioned installed and the first VIP facilities were built.
In addition, the German Evangelical Church Congress in 1987 and open-air concerts attracted new audiences, for example Supertramp 1983, Bruce Springsteen 1985 and 1988, Madonna 1987, Prince (1988), the Rolling Stones and Tina Turner (1990). In the 1990s followed appearances by Marius Müller-Westernhagen , Dire Straits , U2 , Bon Jovi and Michael Jackson , for whose appearance the top game of the Bundesliga against Eintracht FrankfurtFC Bayern Munich was relocated.
Shot of the west curve with a video screen during a second division match in September 2001
With the Frankfurt Galaxy , American football first found its way into the Waldstadion on March 23, 1991 and was able to establish itself in the Rhein-Main area for sixteen years . Then Waldstadion hosted the World Bowl , the final of the NFL Europe , in 1998 and 2000 .
From the mid-1990s, however, football in the Waldstadion was only second class on several occasions, as the home club Eintracht Frankfurt were relegated from the Bundesliga for two years in 1996, again for two years in 2001 and for one year in 2004. Since the re-emergence of Eintracht on May 22, 2005 in the then almost finished new arena, the Waldstadion has again belonged to the home of the 1st Bundesliga, only briefly interrupted by relegation in 2011 and re-promotion for the 2012/13 season.
On May 23, 2002, the first final of the newly created European Women’s Cup took place in the Waldstadion . The home team of 1. FFC Frankfurt became the first title holder with a 2-0 win over the Swedish club Umeå IK .
After the end of the season, the renovation or new construction of the Waldstadion started on June 17, 2002, with a symbolic “digger bite”.