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Official Review by Rob Campion, Guest Reviewer
The rewirpowerStadion (or Ruhrstadion) is home to German 2-Bundesliga club VfL Bochum 1848. They were originally formed in 1848 as a gymnastics club. A football section was added in 1911 and now, following a series of mergers are a multi-sports club with over 5,000 members. Other sports under the VfL banner include athletics, handball and volleyball.
VfL Bochum are German football's yo-yo team having been either promoted or relegated between the top two divisions eleven times since the early 1990's. Major honours have been few and far between with the only successes being three 2-Bundesliga titles in 1993/94, 1995/96 and 2005/06.
The FANFARE scale is our metric device for rating each stadium experience. It covers the following:
Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".
To be honest I didn't part with my money due to having something to eat before getting to the stadium, but it appeared that the usual stadium fare is on offer on both fronts, with a coffee costing my travelling companion "'¬2.50.
On our short walk to the ground we passed a pub and several mobile food vans were on the opposite side of the road.
Despite the ground only being half full, it was a cracking atmosphere, helped by the fact that there are two sections of terracing. One is behind the far goal which is for home fans and another in one of the corners for the visiting fans. The away fans in particular never stopped singing or chanting for the whole of the game with one or two of them orchestrating it while paying little attention to action on the field.
Unlike American sports pre-match and half time entertainment is thin on the ground.
The stadium is located in suburban Bochum to the east of the city centre, and is located on a busy road with a tram stop literally outside the ground. The city centre is a short ride away while there are a few restaurants and takeaways within a ten minute walk on Castroper StraĂ?e if heading away from the city centre.
The locals seemed friendly enough and the area around the stadium would not give you cause for concern.
Like previously stated, the ground was only half full which was disappointing in my opinion, as with Bochum going for promotion I was expecting another 10,000 in attendance. Maybe the 1pm kick-off and/or the fact that Karlsruhe are at the other end of the table did not help matters. Fans of both sides were vocal throughout, though we encountered no trouble, possibly due to the police who sat watching the game in the section next to the away fans!!!
The ground is very easy to find with it being on a main road and close to both the city centre and ring road. We arrived around two hours before kickoff and parked adjacent to an Aldi store just off Castroper StraĂ?e which was free. It was also ideal for us to make a quick getaway to Dusseldorf for our second game of the day. There is a frequent tram service that goes past the stadium and at the end of the game there were trams waiting to take fans away (in both directions) as quickly as possible.
Tickets for adults start at "'¬11 for the terracing behind the goal while we paid "'¬25 for seats along the sideline. There are no supporting columns in stands so every seat gets an excellent view of proceedings. Bochum is not one of Germany's bigger clubs and they are in the shadow of nearby Schalke and Borussia Dortmund.
A 60 page A4 programme for the game was issued for "'¬1, which in England would have cost €4 or €5. There is a fan shop on the opposite side to Castroper StraĂ?e in the stadioncenter selling the usual merchandise, while two mobile fan shops were located around the stadium perimeter. I only bought a pin badge, which cost "'¬3.75.
I was not overly impressed with the exterior of the stadium but once inside there was plenty of legroom "" a lot more than you get at grounds I have visited in England.
It was an enjoyable first visit to watch football in Germany, this despite the game being an absolute shocker. One thing to note is that they confiscated my camera as I entered the ground. I believe this was due to the fact it had a detachable lens and I had to collect it after the game. The security was happy to let people through with compact cameras and they had no issue with photography during the game.
Read more of Rob's travels at his blog, All Roads Lead Somewhere.
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