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Official Review by Adi Oula Sebastian, Stadium Journey Special Correspondent
Although the local team, Eintracht Frankfurt, has been relegated to the second division of German's soccer league, die Adler (the Eagles) boast one of the best stadiums in the country. Before its renovation and subsequent remodeling, the Commerzbank-Arena was known as Waldstadion (Forest Stadium). The original Waldstadion served as a venture for all sorts of sports, for a brief time it was also home to the now defunct Frankfurt Galaxy of NFL Europe fame.
Originally built in 1925 it was remodeled ahead of the 2006 FIFA World Cup to become a football-only venue. The rebuilding took place from 2002 - 2005, to the effect that the Commerzbank-Arena virtually bears no resemblance to the Waldstadion.
As a born and bred Frankfurt(er) it pains me to watch "my" team being relegated, again. Frankfurt is one of Germany's ethnically most diverse cities and also one of the Europe's most important financial centers. Therefore it is just embarrassing that Frankfurt's citizen have to endure yet another season of second class soccer.
The Commerzbank-Arena has a capacity of 51,500 of which 9,300 are standing places. Like all modern arenas, it also serves as concert venue for mega-acts like U2 or Bon Jovi.
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Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".
Unlike the majority of sport arenas in Europe, Frankfurt's Commerzbank-Arena requires one to buy a chip card to make purchases at the multiple sales counters that can be found at almost every other floor. The cheapest card cost "'¬10, which is also the minimum recharge amount. If one doesn't spend the whole credit in one afternoon, it can be swapped for cash at the exit. But taking into account that food isn't exactly cheap at the Commerzbank-Arena, it is safe to assume that one will likely have to recharge, than exchange.
The majority of sales counters are divided into food or beverages, not combined. At first this seems like an odd system but it really speeds up the service. Besides, only a selected few attend a game by themselves so it is possible for a group to buy food and beverages simultaneously. Furthermore there isn't much of a variety to the food anyway. But if you are in Frankfurt you might as well try and taste Currywurst (sausage in a ketchup/curry sauce), Frankfurter WĂ 1/4 rstchen (once again, sausage) or Rindswurst (yes, you have guessed it, sausage but made of beef) or Bratwurst (sausage made of pork). The prices start at "'¬3,00 - "'¬4,50.
What am I going to say? Germans, especially Frankfurt(er) love their grilled sausage. And there's the stadium classic, French fries. The prices aren't too steep either; one can grab a fries/sausage combo for a little over "'¬6,00.
To those who prefer a more balanced diet, there's also xxl-pretzel's available at "'¬3,50. But when in Frankfurt, drink like a Frankfurter. If there's something Germans are known for it has to be their exceptional beer and Germany manufactures some of the best there is. You can't go wrong with German beer, whether it is Pilsener, Weizen (wheat beer), draft or bottle "" it is impossible to pick the wrong beer.
In Europe, only British venues can match the intensity of any German arena/stadium. Unlike Spain or Italy where the audience can become awfully quiet at times, you are almost guaranteed to engage in two hours of controlled madness. Someone is always singing and/or chanting. Fans of Eintracht Frankfurt are among the most devoted and loyal in the sport. Even though their team is second rate at best, the fans are first class. Always chanting, always singing they treat every game like it's a final. Although it's been five years since Eintracht Frankfurt reached one.
The Commerzbank-Arena is located on the outskirts of Frankfurt. Hence there aren't as many locations one can frequent after the game. Quite frankly, the stadium is the only interesting venue in this part of Frankfurt. There's next to nothing one can do after attending a game but to go home or downtown.
Unless your name is Jupp Heynckes (the current manager of Bayern Munich) or the Offenbacher Kickers are playing Eintracht Frankfurt, the fans can keep their emotions in check. But if you happen to attend a game where either one of them is in the stadium "" well, prepare yourself to hear a lot of things; just don't expect them to be nice. It's never a good idea to mention the name of Jupp Heynckes to a Frankfurt fan. Never. To give you an idea how despised he is, even LeBron James is more welcome in Cleveland than he is.
Although it is located in the outskirts of Frankfurt, the Commerzbank-Arena is fairly easy to reach. One can take the tram lines S7, S8, S9 (direction Wiesbaden) from downtown Frankfurt (Hauptwache) and be at the stadium gates in less than 20 minutes. Furthermore, from the stadium to the Frankfurt International Airport it's only two more stations. So you could fly in and out just to catch a match.
Since tickets start at "'¬20 one can't do wrong, but is it worth it? That's a trick question. Personally I am not too fond of 2. Bundesliga soccer but then again I'm not an Eintracht Frankfurt fan. This season in particular the team offers no real highlight, the allure isn't there. But Eintracht Frankfurt remains the biggest club of the state of Hessen. As a lover of the beautiful game, you're stuck with attending a Frankfurt game or watch another team on TV.
That said, the atmosphere and the spectacular fans more than make up for any on-pitch deficit of the team. If you really want to feel and experience a soccer game, then the Commerzbank-Arena offers you just that. Eintracht Frankfurt fans are second to none when it comes to supporting their team for some 90-odd minutes. Besides, summer, sun and a cold beer always sounds like a fun occasion.
If you happen to be in Frankfurt during the summer and it's match day, there's no way you cannot attend a game. Regardless of the opposition, you are bound to have a good time, especially if Eintracht Frankfurt wins the game.
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