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KICKERS OFFENBACH

JULY 2023

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Founded: May 27, 1901
Club Members: 2,800
Nickname: OFC
Coach: Christian Neidhart
Captain: Sebastian Zieleniecki


DFB-Pokal: 1
Regionalliga Südwest: 1
Landespokal Hessen Winner: 10


Website: www.ofc.de

Formed in 1901 by a group of footballers who, for one reason or another, had decided to leave other established sides in the Frankfurt area, Kickers Offenbach spent their early years achieving a degree of success in local championships - winning the Kreisliga Südmain in 1920, 1922 and 1923. After playing as a mid-table outfit in the Bezirksliga Main-Hessen throughout the late 1920s and early 1930s, the Kickers joined the Gauliga Südwest, becoming its inaugural champions in 1934 as German football was restructured into 16 regional divisions following the Nazi rise to power. Five consecutive titles followed from 1940-1944 and the club advanced as far as the national championship semi-finals in 1942, although the dominant side of the era - FC Schalke 04 - beat the men from Hessen with a decisive 6-0 victory en route to becoming German champions for a record sixth time. 

The Kickers emerged from the chaos of World War 2 and played in the Oberliga Süd, before joining the second-tier Regionalliga Süd following the restructure of German football in 1963 which saw the creation of the Bundesliga. After a number of strong campaigns, promotion to the top-flight was eventually achieved in 1968 - although the stay was a brief one and the Kickers were relegated after just one season. They made a swift return with promotion in 1970 and in addition to securing Bundesliga football again, also 
won their first (and so far only) major honour that year when they beat 1.FC Köln 2-1 in the DFB-Pokal final.

Just 12 months later however, the Kickers were relegated back to the Regionalliga after inadvertently finding themselves at the centre of the infamous 
Bundesligaskandal that rocked German football to its core.

Club president Horst-Gregorio Canellas had begun to suspect that all wasn't what it seemed in Germany's top-flight as the Kickers were unable to pull away from the drop zone - despite enjoying a good run of results  - on account of the impressive form also being shown by fellow relegation threatened clubs. Far from it being a case of an over-active imagination or plain sour grapes, Canellas' suspicions in the end proved to be well-founded and a day after Offenbach's relegation had been confirmed he invited a whole list of fußball luminaries to his house, including the German national manager Helmut Schön, and played an audio tape to the stunned gathering. 

Phone calls, voices, payments, bribes.   

Famous names were at the heart of the deception with 1.FC Köln's international goalkeeper Manfred Manglitz heard offering to "... let some things through ..." in a game against Offenbach's relegation rivals Rot-Weiß Essen if he wasn't paid DM 25,000. The scale of the corruption had led Canellas to ensnaring more conspirators on tape including Nationalelf  defender Bernd Patzke and Hertha Berlin team-mate Tasso Wild who were recorded discussing a DM 140,000 bribe from Canellas himself to throw a game against another of Offenbach's rivals for the drop - Arminia Bielefeld. Patzke also admitted being offered DM 220,000 to throw the same game by someone claiming to represent Bielefeld. Canellas' revelations were just the tip of the iceberg and for weeks the only story in the Deutsche Zeitungen  was about the scandal. The subsequent investigation by the DFB's chief prosecutor, Hans Kindermann, uncovered 18 matches that had directly affected the relegation battle in the 1970-71 season and over DM 1Million had exchanged hands in the process. A total of 52 players, two managers and six club officials were either banned or fined for their involvement including Canellas himself who was banned from any involvement in German football for life. His crime - pretending to offer and accept bribes in order to gather evidence of the fraud, despite the co-operation of the DFB. To rub further salt in the wounds, due to the length of time it took Kindermann and the DFB to investigate the whole sorry affair, Arminia Bielefeld wouldn't be punished until the following season which was too late to save Offenbach from the drop.

As German football cleaned up the mess and set about repairing its damaged reputation, the Kickers made another quick return to the Bundesliga in 1972 - enjoying their best top-flight campaign in the 1972-73 season with a very creditable 7th place finish. They also led the table for a period in the 1974-75 season which included a memorable 6-0 mauling of Bavarian giants FC Bayern München. Unfortunately, they were back in the second-tier by 1976 and although they briefly returned to the Bundesliga for the 1983-84 season, dark clouds were now gathering as things began to unravel on and off the field. By 1985, overextension and mismanagement had brought financial problems and as a consequence the club were docked points and demoted to the third-tier amateur Oberliga Hessen.

After regaining their football composure and winning the national amateur title in 1999, Offenbach returned to professional football and spent much of the early 2000's in Bundesliga.2 and 3.Liga. The club's new Sparda-Bank-Hessen-Stadion was officially opened in 2012 with a friendly against Bayer 04 Leverkusen and from the outside at least, things looked a lot brighter for the Kickers. However, yet more financial pressures meant that they were refused a 3.Liga licence at the end of 2012-13 and relegated to the Regionalliga with neighbours SV Darmstadt 98 taking their place instead. €9 million in debt, the club had been brought to the brink of bankruptcy and faced the prospect of having to start all over again in the lowest level of German football. However, they survived and (following a name change this year) the Stadion am Bieberer Berg now hosts Regionalliga Süd football as Kickers Offenbach look to write the next chapter of their long and eventful history.

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Video used with the kind permission of Stadiums From The Sky
- Drone Footage of Stadiums All Over The World

 GROUND DETAILS 

Ground Name: Stadion am Bieberer Berg
Architect: Bremer AG
Built: 2011 - 2012

Year Opened: 2012

Capacity: 20,500 (10,200 standing)

Executive Boxes: 10
Executive Box Seats: 120
Business Seats: 800
Wheelchair Spaces: 40
Construction Costs: €25m

Undersoil Heating: Yes

Running Track: No

Playing Surface: Natural Grass

Website: www.offenbach.de

Grounds:

Stadion am Bieberer Berg (1921 - 2012)

Sparda Bank Hessen Stadion (2012 - 2021)
Stadion am Bieberer Berg (2021 - ) *
* Stadium Renamed

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Opened in 2012, with nearby Frankfurt being a global economic centre, it shouldn't come as a surprise that the new stadium was named after a bank in a lucrative sponsorship deal worth €5 million over 10 years. Costing €25 million, the Sparda-Bank-Hessen-Stadion was built on the site of the aging Stadion am Bieberer Berg which had been home to the club since 1921, and like many new-build grounds it's fair to say that it's nothing out of the ordinary - another one of the single-tier, fully covered box-shaped variety with a bank of obligatory VIP boxes dominating the main stand.

Now referred to once again as Stadion am Bieberer Berg, it's an English-style ground with a current capacity of 20,500 and the red of club colours is boldly represented around the stadium. It has four covered stands of identical height with red seating contrasting with the cold concrete supports running through them. The stand ends are covered with glass sheeting which acts as a wind break but also allows light into the ground.

The Haupttribüne (main stand) has a row of executive boxes running along the back and together with the Glaabsbräu-Tribune (east stand) is an all-seater affair. Unlike most German grounds, Offenbach's 'home end' isn't behind one of the goals and the most vocal support gather opposite the main stand on the fully terraced 8,400 capacity Waldemar-Klein-Tribüne (Blocks 1-3) running the full length of the pitch. Away fans are welcomed into the part-terraced Westtribüne (Blocks 16-17).

To keep the corners of the ground clear for potential stadium expansion in the future, 108 floodlights have been integrated into the roof design as well as being mounted on distinctive masts on the Haupttribüne and Waldemar-Klein-Tribüne. A large video screen on the Westtribüne completes the look of the stadium.

In addition to being Offenbach's home, the stadium also regularly plays host to the German Rugby Union team.

 BUYING TICKETS 

Ticket Office:
Website: www.ofc.de

Telephone: +49 (0) 180 6121992
Email: tickets@ofc.de

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Average Attendance:
2022-2023: 5,925 (Regionalliga Südwest)
2021-2022: 5,317 (Regionalliga Südwest) *
2020-2021: N/A *

2019-2020: 5,622 (Regionalliga Südwest) *
2018-2019: 5,410 (Regionalliga Südwest)
* Season affected by COVID pandemic

Expected Ticket Availability

Despite having the likes of Eintracht Frankfurt and 1.FSV Mainz 05 on the doorstep; and a host of other local Bundesliga.2 and 3.Liga clubs to compete with in the battle for hearts and minds to keep the turnstiles turning, as a lower league club Offenbach's support is first division quality. That's not to say however that matches will be difficult to get into - most should be a traditional 'walk-up' with tickets available from the main stand ticket office (on Bieberer Straße) which opens 90 minutes before kick-off. 

If you're one of those anxious types who need to have a ticket secured in advance then you can do this via the online ticket shop. It's in German only (this is the Regionalliga - not Bundesliga!) but fortunately "Wenn Sie kein Deutsch sprechen können", Google Chrome’s translation feature makes booking tickets a very straightforward process. Tickets are delivered in your choice of E-ticket (Mobile Ticket/Print@Home) or Post (up to 6 days before the match and within Germany only) options. If you're ordering from abroad and want an actual (i.e. real, collectible, souvenir etc) match ticket, you'll need to pick it up from the Ticket Office (window 4) at the ground from 90 minutes before kick-off - just remember to bring the invoice number and some photo ID. 


There's no ABC-tiered approach to ticketing and so admission prices depend on which part of the ground you want to watch the action from - rather than the quality of the opposition facing Offenbach. Advance ticket prices for full-paying adults are €20-34 for seats and it's just €13 to stand on the terraces. Prices go up by €2 if bought on a matchday.

 GETTING THERE & AWAY 

Stadium Address:

Waldemar-Klein-Platz 1 
63071 Offenbach am Main

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BY CAR:
If you're coming by car from the east along the A3 from Würzburg, come off at the Hanau junction (54) and head in the direction of Offenbach / Hanau along the B45. Join the B448 and follow it in the direction of Obertshausen / Offenbach-Waldorf until you pick up signs for the stadium.
 
From the west along the A3, take the Kreuz Offenbacher junction (52) and head along the B661 towards Offenbach / Frankfurt. Come off at the Offenbach-Taunusring junction (16) and follow Taunusring (B43) for a couple of miles as it becomes Odenwaldring, Spessartring and then Rhönstraße. Turn right at the junction with Bieberer Straße and the ground will be on your left after about a mile.

Heading from Fulda along the A66, come off at the Hanauer Kreuz junction and follow the B43a for six miles towards Hanau/Wolfgang. Join the B45 in the direction of Rodgau and then after a couple of miles at the first roundabout, turn right towards Obertshausen / Offenbach-Waldorf onto the B448 where you'll start seeing signs for the stadium.

Unless you're a 'VIP' or Permit Holder, there's no parking available at the ground itself so the club recommend parking at the Aschaffenburger Straße car park just across from the ground. Confusingly, it's accessed along Wiener Ring near the junction of Aschaffenburger Straße and Bieber Straße - just tap 'Aschaffenburger Str. 113, Aschaffenburger 63073 Offenbach am Main, Germany' into your Sat-Nav to find it.

PUBLIC TRANSPORT:
From Frankfurt's Hauptbahnhof, S-Bahn lines S1 (Direction: Rödermark-Ober-Roden), S2 (Direction: Dietzenbach Bf) and both S8 and S9 (Direction: Hanau Hbf) leave every 10 minutes to Offenbach Ost station. Jump off here and catch Bus 102 which takes 5 minutes to reach the ground. 

Match ticket holders can ride around on buses and trains anywhere within the Rhein-Main-Verkehrsverbund (RMV) and Offenbacher Verkehrsbetrieb (OBV) transport areas on matchdays free of charge from five hours before kick-off until close of business that day. 
Note that buses within Offenbach itself are operated by OBV - but it doesn't make any difference and you can still use your RMV endorsed match ticket. Remember though that an 'RMV Combined Ticket' must be added to your order when buying your match ticket (see photo gallery).

WALKING DIRECTIONS:
You can reach the Stadion am Bieberer Berg on foot and it will take you about 20 minutes or so from the Offenbach Ost S-Bahn station. Come out of the station and follow Untere Grenzstraße (B43) in the direction of the junction with Lämmerspieler Weg. Continue following Untere Grenzstraße (B43) for about 400 metres before turning left onto Bieberer Straße. You'll find the ground on your left after about three-quarters of a mostly uphill mile.

 FAN SHOP, MUSEUM & STADIUM TOURS 

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FAN SHOP:
Fan Shop am Sparda-Bank-Hessen-Stadion 
(Waldemar-Klein-Platz 1 
63071 Offenbach am Main; 10am-6pm Mon-Fri; 10am-4pm, Sat).

There are additional sales outlets at:

EDEKA Steiger Mühlheim (Mühlheimer Str. 325, 63075 Offenbach am Main)

SELGROS Cash & Carry Rodgau (Udenhoutstraße, 63110 Rodgau)
Tankstelle Bieberer Berg (Aschaffenburger Str. 96, 63073 Offenbach am Main)
REWE Familie Güler (Mathildenstraße 15-19, 63065 Offenbach am Main)
EDEKA Richter 
(Seligenstädter Str. 136a, 63073 Offenbach am Main)

A 'pop-up' fan shop also sets up in front of the Glaabsbräu-Tribüne (Blocks 4-7) on matchday.


MUSEUM:
The small privately run Kickers Fan Museum has over 5000 exhibits dedicated to everything OFC from 1901 onwards including a replica of the DFB-Pokal trophy won in 1970 and original shirts worn by Offenbach players over the decades. It was curated by fan Thorsten Franke over 20 years and the museum can be visited at Aschaffenburger Straße, 65 63073 Offenbach am Main - a short walk from the ground. Further information about the museum can be found here (
Admission: Free; 7pm-10pm, Tue; 4pm-8pm, Fri; 10am-1pm, Sat & Sun. Appointments also available).

 FOOD & DRINK OPTIONS 

Generally speaking, the centre of Frankfurt is probably your best bet when it comes to pub grub and beer. However, the Zum Bieberer Berg (Aschaffenburger Str. 120, 63073 Offenbach am Main) on the corner of Wiener Weg and Aschaffenburger Straße - just a corner kick from the ground - is a popular pre-match drinking den and a good place to meet members of the Kickers' support. On a matchday, kiosk vendors offer typical German football fayre (bratwurst, frikadellen, chips, oversized pretzels etc) although payment needs to be made using contactless methods - no cash is accepted !

OTHER CLUBS IN THE AREA

BUNDESLIGA: 1.FSV Mainz 05, Eintracht FrankfurtSV Darmstadt 98

BUNDESLIGA 2: 1.FC Kaiserslautern, Karlsruher SC, SV Elversberg, SV Wehen Wiesbaden

3.LIGA: 1.FC Saarbrücken, SV Waldhof Mannheim, SV Sandhausen

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