10 Atmospheric German Grounds
When it comes to atmosphere there's no doubting that British grounds ruled the roost in the 70's and 80's, but since they became all seater the atmosphere has definitely gone downhill. No such problems in some of the top German grounds though, where massive crowds and modern designs that can accommodate both seating and standing areas, still makes for some cracking atmospheres.
So here are ten atmospheric German grounds...
|Westfalenstadion / Signal Iduna Park
|Another monumental stadium in Germany's industrial Ruhr region. Dortmund's "Opera House of Football" can hold more than 80,000 for league games thanks to its ability to change seating areas to standing. Famous for their huge following, Borussia's fans make the ground one of the most intimidating and noisy in Europe, their famous vocal-backing is known as 'the Dortmund Roar'. The Sudtribune, packed with 25,000 German men all baying for blood, is Europe's largest individual stand, and its the place to be on the Revier-Derby match day. Unless, of course, you're a Schalke fan.
|The World's favourite cult club has a set of fans to match its crazy reputation. Widely regarded as complete anarchists, the St Pauli fans are in no way violent, but like to make their home games a genuine event, and are just as likely to be singing about their political views as they are their football team. If you ever take a trip to the Millerntor Stadion then expect AC/DC or Motorhead to be playing on the Tannoy, rather than David Hasselhoff.
|Fritz Walter Stadion / Betzenberg
|With its stands seeming to rise almost vertically from the pitch, the "Betze" makes for a genuinely claustrophobic atmosphere. The club draws in huge support from the South West of the country and like to make visiting teams as uncomfortable as possible. Spurs, Sheffield Wednesday and Rangers have all lost there in recent times, and have all been unpleasantly surprised by the intensity of the Fritz Walter.
|Some of the most dedicated fans in the country, Hansa Rostock pulls a lot of support from the old East Germany. And whilst the club has done its best to clean up its image of unruly right-wing supporters, the Ostseestadion is still a feared venue given the ferocity of some of Hansa's 'fans'.
|Bayern Munich, TSV 1860 Munich
|Ok, so its often said that Bayern fans are Germany's equivalent of the prawn sandwich brigade, but its such a phenomenal stadium it has to go in our list. And as the world cup demonstrated, its been designed to create a fantastic atmosphere. Show us a game with perennial underdogs TSV 1860 battling it out with their glamorous city rivals, and we'll show you an atmosphere.
|Arena AufSchalke / Veltins-Arena
|With its retractable roof and slide-out pitch, Schalke's stadium is one of the finest in Europe, and so is the cauldron-like atmosphere inside it. Schalke's legendary fans are amongst the most passionate in Germany, even when they were doing badly they still turned out in force, and they really know how to back their team. A Ruhr derby with Dortmund or Bochum is not for the faint hearted.
|Another whopping great stadium, opened in 2004 and the largest Bundesliga stadium to be overlooked as a 2006 World Cup venue. The club has some of the most die-hard fans in Germany, and their fan-power dictated that the stadium be built with standing areas for at least 15000 fans, the focal point for the ground's lively atmosphere.
|Stadion der Freundschaft
|Ok, so the ground itself looks like it might be out of place in the English Conference league, let alone the Bundesliga, but what the Stadion der Freundschaft lacks in charm and facilities, it certainly makes up for in its hostile reception for visiting teams. It has a similarity to Brighton's Withdean, in that it appears you're playing in the middle of a forest. None of the big teams relish a game there, many coming home empty handed. Cottbus' location in the far east of Germany, coupled with their supporters notorious reputation, make it one of the least pleasant trips for away fans as well. Something Energie's fans have enjoyed playing on over the last few years.
|A well known venue in Germany, the Stadion Tivoli is a bit of a throw back to the old days, with uncovered ends and a capacity made up mainly from standing areas. Not the biggest stadium in Germany, but the bizarrely nicknamed potato-bugs cook up a decent atmosphere nonetheless.
|Not in the same league as the Millennium Stadium, but watch an Eintracht v Kickers Offenbach game with the roof closed and you'll be surprised by the fiery atmosphere.