FC VIKTORIA KÖLN
Founded: Jun 22, 2010
Club Members: 704
Nickname: Der Höhenberger
Coach: Olaf Janßen
Captain: Moritz Fritz
Regionalliga West: 2
Landespokal Mittelrhein Winner: 7
Like many of Cologne's senior clubs, Viktoria's history is a constant flux of mergers, name changes and insolvency which began in their case with the formation of FC Germania Kalk in 1904. It wasn't too long before the newcomers had merged with local club FC Kalk to form SV Kalk 04 in 1909 before Mülheimer FC became bedfellows to create VfR Mülheim-Kalk 04 a couple of years later. In 1918, after the neighbouring towns of Mülheim and Kalk had both been incorporated into the wider Cologne city region, the club was renamed VfR Köln 04 rrh (Viktoria and its predecessor clubs have traditionally represented the right bank of the Rhine - hence the suffix 'rrh').
After spending their formative years playing in local championships, the first silverware arrived in 1926 after BV Altenessen were pipped to the West German Championship title but, despite being able to call on the talents of German international Erich Schröder, VfR struggled to build on this success and progress stalled over the next few seasons. Following the Nazi rise to power in 1933, German football was reorganised into 16 top-flight regional divisions called Gauliga and the club established themselves as a solid performer under the Third Reich - winning the Gauliga Mittelrhein title in 1935 and 1937 before consecutive runners-up finishes in 1942 and 1943 followed in the Gauliga Köln-Aachen. As the war turned against Germany however, player shortages and travel problems meant that clubs were forced to play their matches closer to home and VfR formed one half of a combined war team (Kriegsspielgemeinschaft ) called KSG VfR 04 Köln/Mülheimer SV 06 from 1943.
Allied tanks on the streets of Berlin brought Hitler's 'Thousand Year Reich' to an end in 1945 and as football and dictatorship began to untangle themselves after the conflict, VfR returned to action by lifting the Rheinbezirksliga title in 1947 before securing a third-place finish in the short-lived British Occupation Zone Football Championship the following year. After a single-season cameo in the-then top flight Oberliga West, VfR joined up with wartime partners Mülheimer SV on 29th July 1949 and spent the next three campaigns as 'SC Rapid Köln 04' in the 2.Oberliga West before performances fell away resulting in relegation to the third-tier Landesliga Mittelrhein in 1952. With 1.FC Köln ruling the roost in the city, club officials decided that performances on the 'right bank' needed to improve and the best way to do this would be yet another case of out with the 'not-so-old' and in with ... a new club. And so by 1957, SC Rapid Köln 04 were no more and in their place came SC Viktoria 04 Köln after a merger with SC Preußen Dellbrück - who at least brought some pedigree to the union having reached the semi finals of the National Championship in 1950 and considered the only local side capable of challenging
Effzeh 's city-wide dominance.
In 1962, the city of Cologne selected Viktoria as its representative in the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup where they were drawn against Hungarian giants Ferencváros. Unfortunately however, the club's first - and so far only - European adventure ended at the first hurdle after a ruinous 1-4 defeat in Budapest undid some good work in the home-leg and they crashed out of the tournament 5-7 on aggregate. Having also missed the cut when the German FA (DFB)
decided which sixteen clubs should form the new Bundesliga in 1963, Viktoria settled down as a largely unspectacular performer and spent the next 30 years bouncing between the second and third tiers - although in a throwback to the more successful days of SC Preußen Dellbrück, they became the first amateur club to knock a Bundesliga side out of the DFB-Pokal when they beat Eintracht Braunschweig 2-1 in a third-round tie in 1975.
In 1994, they were joined by players from local club SC Brück and became known as SCB Preußen Köln, but it wasn't long before things started to unravel as the club began a slide down the leagues - ending up in the fifth-tier Verbandsliga Mittelrhein by the 1997-98 season. Things hadn't quite hit rock bottom however and after yet another name change - this time to SCB Viktoria Köln - the rollercoaster became one permanent dip in 2010 when the lack of a large enough fanbase to sustain the club brought insolvency and, just over a century after FC Germania Kalk had been formed, one of Cologne's oldest clubs ceased to exist.
However, as history has shown, the cathedral city is a fertile breeding ground for football clubs and it wasn't long before green shoots began to emerge. On 22nd June 2010, FC Viktoria Köln 1904 were formed and despite SCB's insolvency they managed to salvage the old club's youth department. With an emphasis now on developing young local talent, Viktoria kicked off life in the Kreisliga D - the lowest rung of the German football ladder - but were soon 'promoted' to the fifth-tier NRW-Liga (Nordrhein-Westfalen-Liga) after acquiring the playing licence of local outfit FC Junkersdorf in 2011. Der Höhenberger then carried the momentum into the following season - winning promotion to the fourth-tier at the first time of asking by lifting the NRW-Liga title in 2012 before securing their place in the 3.Liga when they became champions of the Regionalliga West in 2019.
Ground Name: Sportpark Höhenberg
Built: 1929 - 1931
Year Opened: 1931
Renovations: 1969, 1989, 2011, 2012, 2019, 2021
Capacity: 10,001 (6,814 standing)
Wheelchair Spaces: 16
Undersoil Heating: Yes
Running Track: No
Playing Surface: Natural Grass
Pitch Size: 105m x 68m
VfR Stadion (1921 - 1931)
Sportpark Höhenberg (1931 - 1994)
Flughafenstadion (1994-1998) *
Sportpark Höhenberg (1998 - ) *
* Stadium Renamed
Located in parkland and built to replace the VfR Stadion which had been home to VfR Köln 04 rrh, Sportpark Höhenberg has played host to many of Viktoria's parent clubs. It opened on 20th September 1931 with a friendly between VfR and FC Schalke 04; and for the next few decades it changed very little from its original design - an oval-shaped bowl with no grandstands, grass ramparts and a cinder running track. It wasn't until 1969 before the first works to address the spartan facilities on offer were carried out when a 1,200 capacity steel tubular main stand was built to finally offer spectators some protection from the elements followed not long after with concrete terracing added to the back straight (Gegengerade).
With the Sportpark Höhenberg easily coping with the demands put on it by Viktoria's myriad predecessor clubs in the lower leagues, no-one was in a hurry to 'fix' what wasn't broken and so it wasn't until 1989 that work to completely remove the running track and move the pitch towards the Gegengerade was carried out in order to create room for a new main stand.
After a period during the 1990s when the stadium was known as the 'Flughafenstadion' through a sponsorship deal with Cologne/Bonn Airport, FC Viktoria Köln 1904 took up residence following their formation in 2010 and over the next couple of years €1.5 million was spent redeveloping the Gegengerade and installing floodlights to get the ground up-to-spec as their rise up the pyramid gained traction. A series of smaller renovations were then carried out following the club's promotion to 3.Liga which saw undersoil heating installed for the first time and temporary terracing built over the grass banking at the south end of the stadium to take the capacity to 10,001 - one place more than the required minimum.
Despite the recent developments however, there are no brave new world stadia amenities on offer at the 'Sportpark' and it remains a rather basic, lower-league venue and part of a multi-sports complex including several training fields and sites for other sports.
The 3,000-seater, pitch-roofed, single-tiered main stand is a focal part of the ground with perspex sheeting acting as wind breaks along the back and at either end. The Gegengerade opposite offers shallow concrete terraces and a small section of seating open to the elements with the away support given this entire side (Blocks 7-9) to potentially create a considerably sized Gäste Block should demand require it. Viktoria's most vocal support meanwhile belt out noisy renditions of their terrace favourite "Vik, Vik, Viktoria !" from blocks 10-11 at the southern end of the stadium. The north end of the ground is completely fenced off and taken up instead by a semi permanent looking hospitality tent complete with viewing balcony. Four floodlights standing sentry in each corner completes the look of the stadium.
In addition to being home to Viktoria, the Sportpark Höhenberg was used as a training base by Tunisia and Japan in the 2005 Confederations Cup, and by France during the following year's World Cup in Germany. Since 2016, the ground has also been a venue for several rugby internationals involving the German team and also plays host to the 'Cologne Crocodiles' American football team.
2022-2023: 3,361 (3.Liga)
2021-2022: 2,525 (3.Liga) *
2020-2021: N/A *
2019-2020: 2,052 (3.Liga) *
2018-2019: 1,354 (Regionalliga West)
* Season affected by COVID pandemic
Expected Ticket Availability
Unable to move out of the shadow cast by Bundesliga giants 1.FC Köln and not exactly in step with their triumphant sounding name; Viktoria have historically been a club with a very small fanbase. Therefore, with the Sportpark unlikely to be packed to the rafters, most (if not all) matches can be treated as a traditional 'walk-up' and plenty of tickets will be available from the box office which opens outside the ground 90 minutes before kick-off.
If you're one of those anxious types who need to secure a ticket in advance though, then the easiest way to do this is to go through Viktoria's online ticket shop. It's all in German but fortunately "Wenn Sie kein Deutsch sprechen können", Google Chrome’s translation feature makes booking tickets through the club's ticketing partner 'Reservix' a very straightforward process.
If you're already in Cologne and thinking about conducting a stadium recce ahead of matchday, you can also pick up your ticket while you there at the Ticket/Fanshop office next to the main stand (Sportpark Höhenberg, Günter Kuxdorf Weg, 51103 Köln; open 2-5pm, Tue-Fri ). If you're ordering from the UK though and want a real ticket for your collection, bear in mind that it will cost an additional €11.90 to cover the postage. There are also a number of other advance sales outlets (Vorverkaufsstellen) in the Cologne area and the club provide a list of them here.
Fancy meeting some footballers after the match in the hospitality tent with a bit of food, drink and a business seat in the main stand thrown in? Then drop Carolin Stein an email about available VIP packages (firstname.lastname@example.org).
As is the norm in the third tier, there's nothing complicated about ticket pricing and the same flat-rate applies to all matches regardless of who Viktoria are up against. Ticket prices to sit in the Haupttribüne are €22 for adults, €18 for seniors and concessions; and children (aged 7-14) can get in for €12. It's €12 for full-payers to watch the action from the Block 11 terrace behind the goal with seniors and concessions paying €10 and children costing their parents just €5. A €2 service charge is added to all ticket prices.
Information about visiting the Sportpark Höhenberg for fans with disabilities can be found at:
GETTING THERE & AWAY
Günter Kuxdorf Weg,
If you're coming by car, the simplest advice is to put the stadium address in your Sat-Nav and follow its guidance. If you arrive early enough, you should be able to snare a spot on the Höhenberg/Frankfurter Straße car park right outside the ground which is free of charge.
From the centre of Cologne, jump on Tram 1 (Direction: Bensberg) for the 15 minute ride to 'Höhenberg, Frankfurter Straße'. The stop is under a road bridge, so follow the locals up the steps onto Frankfurter Straße, turn right and after about 50 metres you'll see 'Sidewalk Surfers' landing Kick-flips, Indy-grabs, Darkslides and Five-Os at the skatepark. Follow the footpath (Günter Kuxdorf Weg ) that runs past it a couple of hundred metres through parkland to the Sportpark Höhenberg complex.
Buses 151 and 152 will also deposit you at 'Höhenberg, Frankfurter Straße'. Free shuttle buses run on matchdays from Car Parks P21 and P22 at the Koelnmesse exhibition centre (Messeplatz 1, 50679, Köln) to the Sportpark Höhenberg starting two hours before kick-off. They make the return journey up until two hours (depending on the number of fans) after full-time and parking at Koelnmesse costs €6 per vehicle.
With a match ticket (inc Mobile Tickets) you can have a free ride on trains, buses and trams within the Verkehrsverbund Rhein-Sieg (VRS) transport network from four hours before kick-off until 3am the following morning.
You can reach the 'Sportpark' on foot but it's a bit of an effort and will take you well over an hour to cover the four miles or so from central Cologne. The city has also gone to a lot of trouble laying on shuttle buses and combining match tickets with public transport so that you don't have to walk to the match. Let Google Maps plan the route if the Kölsch isn't having too much of an impact on you ... or just do what we did and spend the time instead in the Alstadt before heading to the ground by tram.
FAN SHOP, MUSEUM & STADIUM TOURS
The fan shop can be found in the office with 'Ticket/Fanshop' over the door next to the main stand.
(Günter Kuxdorf Weg, 51103 Köln; open 2-5pm, Tue-Fri)
On a matchday, there's also a 'pop-up' fan shop operating out of what looks like an Alpine style garden shed behind the main stand. It opens 90 minutes before kick-off and the last sales are made about half-an-hour after the final whistle.
FOOD & DRINK OPTIONS
With the city centre within easy reach, many fans head there for pre-match pub grub and beer before making their way out to the ground. One of our favourite thirst parlours in Cologne is the grand Gaffel am Dom (Bahnhofsvorplatz 1, 50667 Köln; 11am-12am, Mon-Thu & Sun; 11am -1am, Fri-Sat ) - a micro brewery and restaurant in the shadow of the iconic Kölner Dom. Like all traditional Cologne beer halls and pubs, constantly prowling waiters will keep you topped up with Kölsch until you indicate that you've had your fill by putting a beer mat on top of your glass.
For live football on big screens, and some food if beer sharpens your appetite, call in at the Jameson Distillery Pub (Friesenstraße 30-40, 50760, Köln), Joe Champs (Hohenzollernring 1-3, 50672 Köln) or Lotta (Kartäuserwall 12, 50678 Köln).
At the Sportpark Höhenberg, the usual German football fayre is served up to satisfy parched throats and hunger pangs; and you can pay for your half-litre of Früh Kölsch and burnt bratwurst from the griddle using bargeld (cash).
OTHER CLUBS IN THE AREA
BUNDESLIGA: 1.FC Köln, Bayer 04 Leverkusen, Borussia Dortmund, Borussia Mönchengladbach, VfL Bochum
BUNDESLIGA 2: FC Schalke 04, Fortuna Düsseldorf, SC Paderborn 07
3.LIGA: Borussia Dortmund II, DSC Arminia Bielefeld, MSV Duisburg, Rot Weiss Essen, SC Verl