The Veltins-Arena, originally and still Arena AufSchalke for UEFA competitions is a football stadium in the North Rhine-Westphalian city of Gelsenkirchen. It is the home ground of the German Bundesliga club FC Schalke 04. It was completed in August 2001 after almost three years of construction. The GelreDome in Arnhem served as a model. The arena holds 62,271 spectators for football matches at the national level, and for international matches due to the ban on standing 54,740 spectators. The multifunctional stadium with a roof that can be closed and a sliding pitch lawn also serve as a venue for concerts, opera performances, and a biathlon competition that takes place regularly. Depending on the type of event, the spectator capacity can be expanded to a maximum of 79,612 seats by seating and standing in the interior. It is a UEFA Category 4 stadium, the highest classification of the European Football Association.
The arena is located in the geographical center of Gelsenkirchen on the so-called Berger Feld in Erle, not far from the boundaries of the Buer and Beckhausen districts. The arena can be reached via various approaches. The tram line 302 of the Bogestra serves the stadium for visitors from the direction of Gelsenkirchen-Buer, Gelsenkirchen Hbf, and Bochum. Those arriving by car can get to the arena via two motorway exits, one of which is on the A 2 (exit 6 – Gelsenkirchen-Buer) and the A 42 (exit 17 – Gelsenkirchen-Schalke).
The old Park Stadium had the 1974 FIFA World Cup, the Glückaufkampfbahn replaced as the home of FC Schalke 04th It met the requirements of a modern football stadium less and less and also suffered from mountain damage. This is why plans for a new multifunctional arena were drawn up as early as the late 1980s.
On August 29, 1989, Schalke Präsident Günter Eichberg presented the Arena im Berger Feld project , which envisaged the construction of a 100 million DM, 45,000-seat multi-purpose hall. In 1990 a first model of the stadium was presented. However, at this point the costs had already risen to 250 million DM, the planned opening date was the beginning of the season in 1992. In 1991, Philipp Holzmann AG presented their concept for a stadium with a total capacity of 50,000 seats, 10,000 of which could be converted into 5,000 seats if required. The stated costs now amounted to almost 320 million DM. Schalke 04 had major financial problems at this time, which led to the separation from Eichberg. As a result, Holzmann AG and ultimately the city of Gelsenkirchen also said goodbye to the new stadium construction project.
It was not until 1996 that the new Schalke management team under Rudi Assauer reopened the plans. On November 21, 1998, the symbolic pile was founded on the site south of the Park Stadium. The arena is the first stadium in Germany to be completely privately financed. The association took over the construction costs of 191 million euros on its own, without using public funds.
The clubs 1. FC Nürnberg and Borussia Dortmund were invited to the inauguration of the stadium on August 13 and 14, 2001, and they held a blitz tournament together with the hosts.The first goal in the new arena was scored by Fredi Bobic , the first victory was achieved by the club from Nuremberg. The arena experienced its Bundesliga premiere on August 18, 2001 in a 3-3 draw between Schalke 04 and Bayer 04 Leverkusen . The first goal scorer in a competitive game was Schalke’s Tomasz Hajto . When the stadium opened, it had a capacity of 60,204 spectators.
On July 1, 2005, the Veltins brewery became the name sponsor of the stadium, which has been called the Veltins-Arena since then . The currently valid contract has a term until 2027.
On January 13, 2010, a fiberglass roof membrane tore for the first time. The cause of the snow lying on the roof at that time was ruled out and later mentioned sliding ice. After heavy snowfall in December 2010, a high snow load led to renewed damage to several roof membranes. In the following months, the association decided to renovate the entire roof area, which was completed in November 2013 and the cost of which was 18 million euros. Since then, the roof segments have been made of a polyester fabric.
For the 2013/14 season, the capacity was increased by 300 seats, so that 61,973 seats are available for national soccer matches and 54,442 for international soccer matches. For the 2015/16 season, the capacity was increased again by 298 seats, now to 62,271 for national and 54,740 seats for international football matches.
With 2,366,568 visitors, the arena was the most popular stadium in Germany in 2014. In 2015, 2016 and 2017 it took second place behind the Allianz Arena with 2,575,054, 2,341,344 and 2,303,054 visitors .
On June 12, 2019, the planning committee of the city of Gelsenkirchen decided that the square in front of the arena should be renamed Rudi-Assauer-Platz and that the address of the arena will be Rudi-Assauer-Platz 1 in future. The official renaming took place on December 10 of 2019.
The roof covers the entire stadium. The part above the playing field can be opened. When playing the Bundesliga, the roof is usually open – except in snow or heavy rain. However, the roof may not be opened or closed during a game. The decision as to whether the game will take place with the roof closed or open is made by the referee approximately 90 minutes before the game begins. In the time between football games, the pitch turf is used to regenerate and prevent damage at other events in a three-and-a-half to four-hour process using hydraulics pushed out of the stadium on rails. For this purpose, the south curve was built floating like a bridge over the culvert. The cost of this process is € 13,000 for driving in or out. Besides the Berlin Olympiastadion and the Commerzbank-Arena in Frankfurt am Main, the arena is one of the stadiums in Germany that is equipped with a chapel where baptisms and church weddings take place on a regular basis.
The lawn is pushed in
The north curve and the arena’s guest block are multifunctional like the entire building. During the national games there is standing room for 16,307 people, at international games these can be converted to 8,776 seats (7,829 in the north curve, 947 in the guest block).
The grandstand is divided into several segments that are structurally separated. Since the ground is sinking in the area of the stadium due to mining, it is to be expected that the rows of seats in one segment will slowly shift in relation to the rows of seats in the adjacent segment. The roof structure is designed for any subsidence of the ground.
In the arena, all 32 kiosks are sold without cash. The so-called miner’s card is used as a means of payment and can be bought and reloaded at many locations in the arena. A special feature is the central beer supply of electricity over a five-kilometer pipeline .
The former video cube under the stadium roof (2009)
Initially, a 29-tonne video cube with displays in 4: 3 format from Philips hung under the roof of the stadium. The four approximately 34.7 square meter screens made it possible for spectators seated further away to follow all events. Billboards have been attached to the underside of the cube since 2003. In the Bundesliga, this cube was the first display unit to be installed above the playing field (the Commerzbank-Arena in Frankfurt now also has this type of construction). The first player who managed to hit the video cube out of the game was the goalkeeper of FC Bayern Munich on matchday 34 of the 2002/2003 season, Oliver Kahn. According to the rules, there was then, for the first time in the history of the Bundesliga, a referee’s ball due to a scoreboard hit.
A new LED video cube from Hisense company was installed under the roof for the 2016/17 season . With 76.32 m² per screen, it offers more than double the area compared to the old model and is currently the largest of its kind in Europe.
A thousand friends wall
During the season-opening of 2002, the Thousand Friends Wall was inaugurated in the outer ring around the stadium between the West 1 and West 2 entrances. On this, supporters of the association can immortalize themselves with a personally chosen inscription on over 11,500 signs by purchasing so-called arena building blocks, the purchase price of which represents an interest-free loan to the association. He pays it back in the form of shopping vouchers for the fan shop within ten years. By mid-2010, more than 6,700 club supporters had registered on the Thousand Friends Wall. In January 2013 there was also a memorial plaque on the Thousand Friends Wall for those during the Nazi Hera persecuted and murdered Jewish club members of FC Schalke 04 inaugurated. In the style of mining, the grandstand entrances to the arena are now officially called the mouth hole. The arena has, among other things, because of the good freedom of movement for wheelchair users, the rating “handicapped-friendly arena”, but the capacity in the arena was slightly reduced before the 2006/07 season.
Before the 2006 World Cup, the stadium was tested by Stiftung Warentest . The arena came off as one of the worst World Cup stadiums, mainly because of the three meter deep trench that separates the spectators from the players around the field. It was assumed that if people panic, they would flee to the center of the stadium and the trench was a danger.
Outside of the event times, there is the possibility to visit the arena as part of guided tours. This gives you additional information about the construction and technical equipment of the arena.
Thanks to a cooperation with Huawei , free WiFi has been available in the arena since March 2015.
Ingo Anderbrügge on July 28, 2002, Olaf Thon on January 18, 2003, Ebbe Sand on July 23, 2006, Darío Rodríguez on January 25, 2008, Marcelo Bordon on July 9, 2011, Raúl on January 27, have played farewell matches in the arena July 2013 and Gerald Asamoah on November 14, 2015.
After the terrorist attacks in Istanbul in November 2003, the Champions League preliminary round match between Beşiktaş Istanbul and Chelsea was moved to the arena and played there on December 9, 2003.
Arena during the T-Home Cup 2009
The 2004 Champions League final between FC Porto and AS Monaco took place in what was then still called Arena AufSchalke . In the application for the final, the Gelsenkirchen venue was able to prevail against the national competitors Berlin and Hamburg as well as the international competitors Amsterdam, Madrid and Moscow.
On January 25, 2005, a benefit match between the German national team and a selection of international Bundesliga players was played in the AufSchalke arena, which raised 4.6 million euros for the victims of the Indian Ocean earthquake .
At the 2006 World Cup , Poland played against Ecuador (0: 2), the USA against the Czech Republic (0: 3), Argentina against Serbia and Montenegro (6: 0) and Portugal against Mexico (2: 1) and England against Portugal in the quarter-finals (. 1: 3 n E.) in the official FIFA World Cup stadium Gelsenkirchen -called stadium instead.
The regional soccer team Wuppertaler SV Borussia played the DFB Cup eighth final against FC Bayern Munich (2: 5) in the sold-out arena on January 29, 2008 .
On July 18 and 19, 2009, the T-Home Cup 2009 , a short tournament with four teams, took place in the arena. Participants were FC Schalke 04 , FC Bayern Munich , Hamburger SV and VfB Stuttgart . On July 31st and August 1st 2010 this tournament became total as a league! Cup 2010 held for the second time. Participants were FC Schalke 04, FC Bayern Munich, Hamburger SV and 1. FC Köln .
On July 25, 2009, FC Bayern Munich competed against an all-star team from Oliver Pocher , which he had previously cast with Werner Lorant and Reiner Calmund . In addition to amateur soccer players and celebrities such as Johannes B. Kerner , former soccer players also played for Pocher’s team. B. Ebbe Sand , Mario Basler and Thomas Häßler . FC Bayern Munich won the game 13-0.
On July 23, 2011, FC Schalke 04 won with a 4-3 win i. E. against Borussia Dortmund the DFL Supercup 2011 .
On August 2 and 3, 2014, the Schalke 04 Cup , an international short tournament with four teams, took place in the arena. Participants were FC Schalke 04 , FC Málaga (Spain), Newcastle United and West Ham United (both England).
On November 19, 2018, the last group match of the German national team in the 2018/19 UEFA Nations League against the Netherlands took place in the arena. The Netherlands secured victory in the group with a 2-2 draw against the German national team, who were already bottom of the group.
In August 2020 the arena was one of four venues for the final tournament of the 2019/20 UEFA Europa League . On August 5, 2020, the last 16 match between Inter Milan and Getafe FC (2-0) was played here, and on August 11, 2020 the quarter-final game Shakhtar Donetsk against FC Basel (4: 1).
The arena is one of the venues for the 2024 European Football Championship . During the tournament it will be called Arena AufSchalke
In the arena, Pur (2001, 2004, 2007, 2010, 2014, 2017), Bruce Springsteen (2003), Bon Jovi (2003, 2008), Robbie Williams (2003, 2013), Herbert Grönemeyer (2003, 2007, 2011, 2016, 2019), Metallica (2004), U2 (2005, 2009), AC / DC (2009, 2015), Mario Barth (2011), Metallica, Slayer , Megadeth and Anthrax (2011), Helene Fischer (2013, 2015, 2018), Coldplay (2016), Udo Lindenberg (2016), Depeche Mode (2017),Guns n ‘Roses (2018), Ed Sheeran (2018), Böhse Onkelz (2018), Rammstein (2019), Andreas Gabalier (2019) and Pink (2019). The operas Aida (2001), Carmen (2003) and Turandot (2005) as well as the music events Sensation White (2005, 2006), Rock im Pott (2012, 2013, 2017), Rock im Revier (2015) and World Club Dome also took place Winter Edition (2015–2017) and Unite with Tomorrowland (2016, 2017) take place in it.
Since 2002, shortly before the end of the year, the World Team Challenge in biathlon has been held in front of up to 52,000 spectators in the arena .The ninth edition, scheduled for December 30, 2010, had to be canceled at short notice because masses of snow had damaged several parts of the arena’s roof membrane. On March 27, 2011 the event was rescheduled. The 19th edition, scheduled for December 28, 2020, has been canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic . The Snowball Fight World Championship has been part of the supporting program since 2014 .
After the Rheinstadion in Düsseldorf was demolished, the Rhein Fire American football team played their home games in the arena in 2003 and 2004. In addition, the World Bowl XII between Berlin Thunder and Frankfurt Galaxy (30:24) was played in the arena on June 12, 2004 .
On September 12, 2004, the opening game of the handball league between TBV Lemgo and THW Kiel took place in the arena , with a new record number of spectators in club handball . Due to the smaller playing area of a handball field compared to a soccer field, the interior of the arena was “halved” and a grandstand for 4,000 spectators was built under the video cube.
On June 25, 2005, Stefan Raab organized the TV total Stock Car Crash Challenge , a stock car race, in the arena for the first time . Until 2015, the event took place annually in the arena, with the exception of 2008, when people switched to the LTU Arena in Düsseldorf .
On October 13, 2007, the German Grand Prix was held in the Speedway arena . The Grand Prix of Germany planned for October 11, 2008 had to be canceled due to the defective artificial track. Instead, the race was held a week later in Bydgoszcz, Poland.
On June 20, 2009 the heavyweight fight in boxing between Wladimir Klitschko and Ruslan Chagayev took place in front of 60,000 spectators. Vitali Klitschko defended his title as heavyweight world champion according to the WBC version on May 29, 2010 in front of 40,000 spectators against the Pole Albert Sosnowski also at Schalke .
On May 7, 2010, the opening game of the Ice Hockey World Championship between hosts Germany and the United States (2: 1 a.s.) took place in the arena. For this purpose, the arena was converted into an ice hockey stadium and expanded to a capacity of 77,803 seats. This meant a new record number of spectators in ice hockey for seven months .
On June 5, 2010, the final concert of the SING! Took place as part of the RUHR.2010 – European Capital of Culture project . – Day Of Song takes place in the arena. There were around 50,000 singers on the field and in the stands, who, under the direction of conductor Steven Sloane, brought the action to a musical conclusion. Contributing guests included the American vocal artist Bobby McFerrin , the German a cappella group Wise Guys and the Belgian girls’ choir Scala & Kolacny Brothers .
The premiere of the documentary Rudi Assauer took place on May 4, 2018. Doer. Human. Legend. about the life of Rudi Assauer in front of 25,000 spectators in the arena.
On May 25, 2018, the German Darts Masters 2018 took place in the arena, where a new world record was set with 20,210 spectators. Mensur Suljović won the tournament.