Photos by Stephan Hoogerwaard, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.71
BayArena Bismarckstraße 122-124 51373 Leverkusen, Germany
Year Opened: 1958
The BayArena, A Pharmaceutical Story
The BayArena is a football stadium in Leverkusen, Germany. Since the 23rd of April 1958, it’s been the home of Bundesliga club Bayer ’04 Leverkusen.
The original name of the stadium was ‘Ulrich-Haberland-Stadion’ (named after a former president of Bayer AG, a pharmaceutical company and founder of the club). The capacity was originally 20,000 seats. In 1986 the stadium was renovated and converted into a modern sports facility. The renovation process went on very slowly as a small part of the stadium was discussed (a terrace behind one of the goals). Due to this discussion, the renovation took more than a decade to complete.
In 1998 the stadium was renamed BayArena. In 1999 a hotel was built partly inside the complex. Some rooms and the restaurant of the hotel overlook the field. At last, the renovation was completed. At that time the capacity was 22,500. In 2009 the stadium expanded with a second tier and a brand new roof. The old green seats were replaced by red seats. The capacity today is 30,210. The municipality Leverkusen offered itself as the host city for the World Cup 2006. At this stage, the stadium was too small, but there were plans to expand the BayArena to 40,000 seats. However, this proved not to be practical. It would mean that on normal match days, the stadium would be half full, so the municipality withdrew. No bid for the EC 2024 has been made.
Food & Beverage 3
The price of food and beverages inside the BayArena is slightly overpriced. If you want to drink and eat on your day out, then I would suggest one of the ‘Beergartens’ outside the ground. When you buy your drinks inside the BayArena, you need to buy a BayArena Card. This card is free but you have to deposit Euro 10,- first.
After that, you have to charge your BayArena Card before going to the beverage and food stands. As in most of the new German stadiums, there is a large variety of beers, sodas, hot dogs, hamburgers, and bratwurst. After the match, you can return the card and get your deposit and balance back.
Although Bayer Leverkusen is a rather small club in German football (soccer) and has a small supporter group, the atmosphere during matches is quite good. The acoustic is boosted by a very impressive roof overhanging all stands of the stadium. The fanatic Leverkusen supporters are housed in a large standing area behind one of the goals.
The BayArena is situated in central Leverkusen, near where the A1 and A3 motorways intersect. The stadium lies between the Leverkusen Stadtpark and a large Sportpark in a rather green area. The river Rhine is less than 2 kilometers away from the ground. In the city centre of Leverkusen, there is not much to do, but you can take a train from Leverkusen Schlebusch station and get off at Cologne’s main railway station. This is just a 15-minute ride. The historic Cologne city centre and Dom are worth a visit.
The atmosphere before the match is very friendly. Supporters from both clubs mingle around the ground and meet in the Biergarten to discuss the forthcoming match. Leverkusen has one of the smallest supporter groups in the Ruhr area. Most of the clubs in the Ruhr area are living in the shadow of German giants Borussia Mönchengladbach, FC Schalke’04, and Borussia Dortmund, which have the largest supporters groups and larger stadiums in the Ruhr area.
The BayArena lies adjacent to the A1 but doesn’t have an exit. The stadium is best reached from the A3; take exit ‘Opladen’ but then you have a problem finding yourself a parking space. In the few streets in the area, there are only private parking spaces for residents.
Therefore Bayer offers free parking on Kurtekotten two hours before the start of the game, this parking place lies directly on the overground metro station ‘Bayerwerk’ (S-Bahn). Get off at stop ‘Leverkusen Mitte,’ the BayArena is a 10-minute walk from this point. You just have to cross the Stadtpark.
Return on Investment 5
Tickets are priced in three categories which depend on the opponent. We have paid Euro 35,- for our ticket on the long side of the pitch (Block B1, 1st tier). For top matches, these places will cost you Euro 60-, but for less attractive opponents you will pay € 24,- for a ticket. We bought our tickets online via the Bayer Leverkusen club site. As my father went along with us, I was able to buy concession tickets (over 65’s) for him. This ticket was Euro 11,- cheaper than my ticket.
The BayArena is a very modern football arena with all the facilities you should expect from a modern football ground. From every seat in the stadium, you have a good view of the pitch. A visit to the BayArena is a worthwhile sports Euro investment.
As with most of the Bundesliga clubs, Bayer Leverkusen also offers stadium tours. A mentionable fact is that Bayer offers five kinds of different tours. You can book a classic tour, a kids tour, a barrier-free tour, a classic-plus tour, or a special tour. The classic tour which is the most common and can be booked for Euro 10,- (adults), a legends tour will cost you Euro 15.
When you visit a match of Bayer Leverkusen and you have a couple of hours spare time, then please do go to the neighboring city of Cologne. This city has so much more to offer than the Leverkusen city centre. Combining a match in the BayArena and a visit to the Cologne city centre is a very good combination, but keep in mind that there are a lot bigger clubs that can be visited in the Ruhr area.