All About Max Morlock Stadium

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The Max-Morlock-Stadion (since July 1st, 2017; originally municipal stadium ; later also Frankenstadion ) is a football stadium with an athletics facility in the largest central Franconian city ​​of Nuremberg . The sports facility is one of the few large stadiums in Germany that still has facilities for athletics. It is named after the soccer player Max Morlock .

The stadium was built from 1925 to 1928 according to plans by Otto Ernst Schweizer and with 50,000 seats is one of the largest football stadiums in Germany . The stadium is home stadium of the 1. FC Nuremberg . The Nürnberger Versicherung arena is in the immediate vicinity . The stadium is located on the former Nazi party rally grounds . It is connected to the S-Bahn via the Nürnberg Frankenstadion train station.

History 

Nuremberg experienced a cultural and urban heyday during the Weimar Republic , despite the difficult economic and political conditions after the First World War . Construction projects such as the new stadium, the observatory and the planetarium set architectural accents in the city. These were at the same time an expression of social and political awakening. Nuremberg’s reputation as a “sports stronghold” worked far beyond the city limits.

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Between 1925 and 1928, the stadium was built in its original form with a capacity of 50,000 spectators, not far from the Dutzendteich as a municipal stadium . It has had its octagonal floor plan ever since. Adolf Hensel (planning the entire complex) received a gold medal for his design in 1928 in the architecture / urban development art competition on the occasion of the Olympic Games in Amsterdam . It also received a lot of international recognition – it was considered the largest and most modern facility in the world. The final of the German soccer championship 1928/29 took place here as early as 1929 . The grandstand was built in the Bauhaus-Style based on plans by the architect Otto Ernst Schweizer for 2,600 spectators. 

Day of the Hitler Youth 1937

The surrounding area was transformed into the Nazi party rally grounds from 1933 . During the Nazi party rallies , the ” Hitler Youth Day ” was held in the stadium and the stadium was also called the Hitler Youth Stadium at that time . During the Nazi party rally in 1935, Adolf Hitler gave the speech in which he demanded that German youth be “nimble as greyhounds, tough as leather and hard as Krupp steel”. Since the stadium did not fit in with the monumental structures that were planned and partially built around, two wooden towers and a row of arcades were built on the back straight, which served as a backdrop for drummers, choirs and wind players to take away some of the modern character of the stadium. In relation to the planned German stadium in the vicinity , it was now often called the “Old Stadium”.

From 1945 it was used as a sports field by the US Army. From then on, the stadium was called Victory Stadium and was used by the occupying forces for baseball games. Up until 1961 there were only occasional soccer games. 

From 1963, 1. FC Nürnberg played there after they had sold their own stadium in Zerzabelshof called Zabo . The capacity could be expanded by building tubular steel stands to the side of the main stand. Nevertheless, the attendance record on May 30, 1971 in the game against Fortuna Düsseldorf of 75,000 spectators was only possible because the audience also found space on the running track.

During the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich , six soccer tournament games were held in the stadium. After a major renovation from 1987, which was also carried out because of the Heysel disaster , it was reopened in 1991 under the name Frankenstadion with a capacity of 31,000 seats and standing room for 22,462 (total: 53,462). During the construction work, the main grandstand from 1928 collapsed and was supposed to be preserved.

Remodeling measures 

From 2003 the stadium was modernized for around 56 million euros in order for the 2006 World Cupto be prepared. For this, inter alia the pitch was lowered by 1.5 m, the upper tiers in the corners in the northwest and southwest expanded upwards, two additional rows of seats added to the pitch, the seating changed from yellow to red, improved access controls installed, a fan hall at the Max-Morlock- Square built, new kiosks created around the stadium, boxes integrated and a VIP building erected. Since the end of the renovation work on April 24, 2005, it offers 44,308 covered seats for international football matches. In regular league operations, the stadium had a total of 47,500 seats, 39,700 of which were seated and 7,800 were standing. In mid-July 2009, the FCN then announced that it would increase the standing capacity by 2,800 seats so that 48,500 fans could fit into the stadium in the future.

During the winter break of 2009/10 , blocks 1 and 3 were converted into standing rooms. This was necessary because the building authorities forbade the use of Block 8 as a standing block by the Nuremberg Ultras . The capacity increased to 48,553 places in the league. As a result of the renovation work carried out in the south curve in the summer break of 2012/13 , the capacity of the venue was expanded by almost 1500 seats to 50,000 spectators. In addition, the transition from the south to the north curve was made possible by a bridge construction over the guest block. 

Environmental protection was of particular importance to the stadium operators during the last renovations . So you collect z. B. the rainwater from the stadium roofs in a 1000 m³ cistern and uses it as irrigation water for the stadium lawn. In addition to water management, environmentally friendly concepts were also used for energy use and waste disposal. The stadium thus meets the criteria for the European environmental management certificate for the continuous improvement of operational environmental protection ( EMAS ). In January 2006, the Nuremberg sports arena was the first European stadium to receive this award.

In February 2013, FCN manager Martin Bader announced that he would soon be commissioning a feasibility study for a new stadium. The problem with the current stadium is the low income. For example, the association itself does not receive the income from the sale of the naming rights, but Nürnberg Betriebs GmbH. Bader can think of two options: converting the Nuremberg stadium or building a new one. 

Naming 

Stadium 

A life-size statue of Max Morlock, financed by fans, has stood in front of the stadium since 2008.

Originally the sports facility was called the Städtisches Stadion , from 1945 to 1961 Victory Stadium , from 1961 to 1991 again as the Städtisches Stadion and between 1991 and 2006 the Frankenstadion . On March 15, 2006, Nuremberg followed the example of other football stadiums and assigned the naming rights to a sponsor. The Nuremberg-based team bank (formerly Norisbank ) initially acquired these rights for five years and the stadium was renamed Easycredit-Stadion after a product of the credit institution. An exception to this was the 2006 World Cup, when the stadium was run as the Frankenstadion . The stops of the local public transport continued to carry the old name Frankenstadion .

Large parts of the 1. FC Nürnberg fan scene under the leadership of ” Ultras Nürnberg ” carried out a demonstration against the name on April 1, 2006 and a symbolic change of name to Max Morlock Stadium – in recognition of Max Morlock’s services to the club. The renaming also caused a lot of protest in the Nuremberg population: the Nuremberg daily newspapers tried to avoid the word Easycredit-Stadion , as did most Nuremberg residents. Several thousand letters to the editor were also received complaining about the new name.Both the fans of Hamburger SV , as well as Werder Bremenheld up banners with the messages Pro Max-Morlock-Stadion and Visiting the Max-Morlock-Stadion during their guest appearances in Nuremberg in the 2010/11 season . In the 2011/12 season , the renaming requested by the Ultras was also approved by fans of VfL Wolfsburg , Hannover 96 , FC Augsburg , Werder Bremen, VfB Stuttgart and FC Schalke 04 with banners labeled Max Morlock Stadion Jetzt! supported.

With the expiry of the sponsorship contract on June 30, 2012, the stadium was temporarily renamed Nürnberg Stadium from July 1 . Between February 14, 2013 and June 30, 2016, the stadium was called Grundig Stadium , named after the electronics group Grundig Intermedia . From July 1, 2016, it was again called the Nürnberg Stadium . 

For the 2017/18 season, Consorsbank secured the naming rights to the stadium for three years, but waived traditional name sponsorship and instead called for crowdfunding on the Startnext platform to enable the renaming to Max-Morlock-Stadion . Supporters could purchase various products, including various exclusive fan articles or name tags on the stadium square. Although the target of € 800,000 was clearly missed and only € 330,000 came together, the bank took over the remaining € 2.4 million. Since then, the stadium on Max-Morlock-Platz where there is a statue in honor of the 1954 world champion, the name of Max Morlock. Fans and press see it as an appreciation of the importance of Morlock for 1. FC Nürnberg and the personality of the down-to-earth and humble club idol. The name was secured until 2020. In the meantime, talks about an extension or a new sponsor are on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic . 

Blocks 

The block plan of the stadium for the 2018/19 season

The construction of the stadium before the slight renovation of the north curve in 2010

For the 2006/07 Bundesliga season , part of the stadium’s blocks was named after former 1. FC Nürnberg players. There were players who had met at least two criteria from the three criteria “at least 400 games for 1. FC Nürnberg”, “Master player of 1. FC Nürnberg” or “National player during the time at 1. FC Nürnberg”.

During the stadium renovation in spring 2010, when the entire lower tier of the north curve was converted into a standing room, Block 13 was also eliminated.