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 AUGUST 2023


Founded: Feb 1, 1907
Club Members: 10,320
Nickname: RWE

Coach: Christoph Dabrowski
Captain: Felix Bastians

German Champions / Bundesliga: 1
DFB-Pokal: 1
Regionalliga Nord: 2
Regionalliga West: 1
German Amateur Champions: 1
Western German Cup: 2
Landespokal Niederrhein Winner: 10


Rot Weiss Essen's origins can be traced back to 1st February 1907 when an amalgam of predecessor clubs - 'SC Preußen' and 'Deutsche Eiche' - led to the formation of SV Vogelheim. A couple of name changes either side of World War I then saw them become 'Spiel und Sportverein Emscher Vogelheim' and 'Spiel und Sport 1912' before another merger, this time with local gymnastics club 'Turnerbund Bergeborbeck' in 1923 created Rot Weiss Essen. Curiously, in German, the word 'Weiss ' should be spelt 'Weiß ' but that doesn't stop the club using the 'incorrect' spelling in official correspondence !

After the Nazi rise to power in 1933, football was restructured across Germany with the creation of the Gauliga  which funnelled clubs into 16 (later to become 18 following the Austrian Anschluß  in 1938) top-flight regional divisions and although they missed out on qualification for the national championship, RWE established themselves as a fairly solid performer in the Gauliga Niederrhein with a runners-up finish in 1941 their high-water mark under the Third Reich. As the second world war turned against Germany however; player shortages, travel problems and damage to grounds from Allied bombing raids meant that clubs were forced to play their matches closer to home and from 1943 onwards, the club formed part of a combined war team (Kriegsspielgemeinschaft ) with neighbours BV Altenessen and, later, BVB Essen called KSG RWE/BV 06 Essen

The Allies brought Hitler's 'Thousand Year Reich' to an end in 1945 and introduced a policy of de-Nazification in occupied Germany which forced all sports clubs to disband in an attempt to stamp out fascism. RWE duly reformed and emerged from the 'Stunde null ' (zero hour) in the local Essen Stadtliga and Landesliga Niederrhein divisions before being promoted to the regional top-flight Oberliga West in 1948. Spearheaded by the prolific duo of Helmut 'Der Boss ' Rahn (who would go on to score West Germany's winner in the 'Miracle of Bern' World Cup triumph in 1954) and August Gottschalk, Rot Weiss began challenging Borussia Dortmund and FC Schalke 04 for Nordrhein-Westfalen supremacy and lifted their maiden Oberliga West title in 1952. A year later, they headed to Düsseldorf's iconic Rheinstadion where they won their first (and so-far only) DFB-Pokal when goals by Franz Islacker and Rahn gave them a 2-1 win in the final against local foes Alemannia Aachen to leave the North Rhine–Westphalia capital in a triumphant visage of red and white.

Fritz Szepan, the one-time star of the FC Schalke 04 side that dominated German football during the 1930s and 1940s, replaced Karl Hohmann as coach and the Esseners won a second Oberliga West title in 1955 before overcoming Bremerhaven, Kickers Offenbach and Wormatia Worms en route to a German Championship final showdown against the highly fancied 1.FC Kaiserslautern. German champions in 1951 and 1953, Die Roten Teufel  (The Red Devils) had formed the backbone of the national team that won the 1954 World Cup final against Ferenc Puskas' all-conquering Hungarians - still referred to this day in Germany as "Das Wunder von Bern" (The Miracle of Bern). FCK may have been an all-star team and a daunting opponent - but RWE were up to the challenge and an Islacker hat-trick was enough to secure a 4-3 win and become Deutsche Fußballmeisterschaft  (German National Champions) for the first time. The title win also saw the club become the DFB's representatives in the inaugural European Cup the following season and it should have signalled RWE's arrival as a major force in German football. A ruinous 0-4 defeat at Hibernian (who would go on to reach the semi-final) however gave the Ruhr club too much of a mountain to climb in the home leg and they crashed out of the competition at the first hurdle. The 1950s had been a golden era for the club but injuries to key players and the retirement of club captain Gottschalk shortly after lifting the national championship trophy saw progress stall and despite young defender Otto Rehhagel breaking through the ranks, it came as little surprise when RWE were relegated in 1961.

Having missed the cut when the DFB (German FA) decided which sixteen clubs would form the new pan-German Bundesliga in 1963, RWE settled down to life in the second-tier Regionalliga West and built up momentum with some strong campaigns before a second-place finish earned them promotion to the top-flight in 1966. Life in the Bundesliga was brief however and a memorable 4-1 mauling of local rivals FC Schalke 04 in the Kleine Revierderby  was the only highlight of a despondent season that saw RWE end rock-bottom of the table with just 25 points. Another single-season cameo came in 1969 before a tour-de-force season in which they helped themselves to 104 goals and won 26 of the 34 league matches saw them trading punches with German football's elite once again in 1974. The transition from second division juggernauts to top-tier underdogs was handled better this time and with a team built around the talents of Horst Hrubesch, Manfred Burgsmüller and Willi "Ente" Lippens; the Esseners managed an unbroken four-year spell in the Bundesliga - earning an eighth-place finish in 1976 with only goal difference denying the Ruhr club a UEFA Cup berth for the following season.

By the time the 70s had given way to the 80s however, things were beginning to unravel and relegation from the Bundesliga in 1977 triggered a yo-yo period which saw the club bounce between the second and third divisions for most of the next 30 years. Overextension and mismanagement had also brought RWE to the brink of bankruptcy and ongoing financial problems meant that they were denied a playing licence and demoted to the amateur third-tier by the German FA (DFB) in 1984, 1991 and 1994. Despite the challenges on and off the field however, 30,000 RWE fans descended on Berlin's Olympiastadion in May 1994 to cheer on their team who had sensationally made it to the DFB-Pokal final before Bundesliga heavyweights SV Werder Bremen were thrown in their path. Werder, managed by RWE old boy Otto Rehhagel, were in no mood to let Essen become only the second team from outside the top-flight to win the trophy (after Hannover 96 in 1992) and the underdogs left the German capital on the wrong end of a 3-1 scoreline.

Relegation from Bundesliga.2 in 1997 brought considerable financial implications and after bankruptcy was narrowly avoided a year later, another battle with adversity was fought in 2001 when main investor Michael Kölmel failed to provide the DFB (German FA) with the proof of funds needed to secure a playing licence for the third-tier Regionalliga meaning a further demotion to the amateur Oberliga was on the cards. It would have spelt financial disaster for the club and only after guarantees were given to the DFB by a consortium headed up by Essen mayor Wolfgang Reiniger, was a licence (and the club's future) secured.

2008 saw the creation of the 3.Liga as the lowest professional division in Germany and as part of the league restructure, a 10th place Regionalliga Nord finish or better would have been enough to see RWE 'promoted'. With the club once again on the brink of bankruptcy, struggles off the pitch were mirroring those on it and after a disappointing campaign, a 0-1 home defeat on the last day of the season to already relegated VfB Lübeck saw Essen fail to secure that elusive 10th place and drop into the fourth-tier Regionalliga West. In the end, there are only so many times you can cheat fate if you repeatedly court disaster in the way that Essen had over previous years, and with debts once again threatening to swallow the club up, there was an air of inevitability when 2010 brought insolvency and a further demotion to the fifth-tier NRW-Liga - a nadir that still weighs heavily on Essen's supporters.

Recent years however have seen the storm clouds begin to lift, and after slowly working their way back up the pyramid, Rot Weiss Essen finally returned to professional football after a 15 year absence when they were promoted to the 3.Liga as champions of the Regionalliga West in 2022.



Ground Name: Stadion an der Hafenstraße
Architect: Plan Forward GmbH
Built: 2011 - 2012

Year Opened: 2012

Capacity: 19,962 (9,040 standing)

Executive Boxes: 11
Executive Box Seats: 274
Business Seats: 1,061
Media Seats: 138
Wheelchair Spaces: 46
Construction Costs: €64m

Undersoil Heating: Yes

Running Track: No
LED Video Screen: 42m²

Playing Surface: Natural Grass



Stadion Phönixstraße (1923 - 1937)

Stadion Rot-Weiß (1937 - 1939) *
Stadion an der Hafenstraße (1939 - 1964) *
Georg Melches Stadion (1964 - 2012) *
Stadion Essen (2012 - 2022) 
Stadion an der Hafenstraße (2022 - ) *

* Stadium Renamed


With most of the Bundesliga already playing in a new generation of stadia built ahead of the 2006 World Cup, the following years saw the trend work its way down the pyramid with Rot Weiss Essen following the likes of FC Ingolstadt 04, SG Dynamo Dresden and Kickers Offenbach moving out of aging former homes and into new ones better suited to the demands of modern football.

RWE's relocation came about when it became clear that the municipal-owned 
Georg Melches
days as the club's home were numbered after falling into disrepair and despite Essen's mayor Reinhard Paß ruling out the city's involvement six months earlier, the spectre of rising stadium maintenance costs becoming a burden to local taxpayers saw the council announce plans to build a new stadium adjacent to the old one at an extraordinary general meeting on 28th October 2010.

Construction began in April 2011 and although only three stands were complete, the Stadion Essen opened 16 months later 
with a low-key friendly involving RWE's Under-19s and SGS Essen's women's team on 12th August 2012. Its predecessor next door was then demolished which created space for a fourth stand to be built behind the goal before a club car park opened on the site of the old Georg Melches Stadion in March 2014. The original budget was €31million but, by the time the stadium was eventually finished, escalating costs had seen the final bill reach €64 million with funding originally set aside for the Folkwang Art Museum in Essen needed to cover the shortfall and the public prosecutors office being called in to investigate the overspend.

Now referred to as Stadion an der Hafenstraße following a name change in 2022 (the same name was also given to the GMS between 1939-1964), it's a classic single-tier ground with a current capacity of 19,962 divided over four stands of identical height.

The all-seater Sparkassen Tribüne is the main stand and has a double row of executive boxes running part way along the back with the changing rooms, media facilities, club offices, a fan shop and the VIP area 'Assindia'  (Assindia is Latin for 'Essen') also found here. The Rahn Tribüne (Blocks 1-3) opposite runs the full length of the pitch and it's where you'll also find the AWO Fan Project and (if you step out of line) the stadium's police station.

The fully terraced WAZ Westkurve (Blocks W1-3) behind the goal was the last stand to be built after the demolition of the GMS and is where Essen's most vocal support get behind their team. Despite the name suggesting otherwise however, it's at the east end of the ground but the club kept tradition by naming it after the legendary 'Alte West ' (Old West) terrace in the Georg Melches Stadion. Away followings are given Block G3 in the part-terraced Stadtwerke Essen Tribüne and after work was carried out during the 2021-22 season, they can also be given Block G2 if the demand requires it. 
Even though the stands are all covered with a cantilevered translucent roof, their 'open' design lacks any form of cladding at either end to protect fans from wind and rain  - not ideal in one of the wettest regions in Germany.

Talking of 'wet', a burst water pipe on 26th July 2013 flooded the main stand basement and led to the postponement of a home Regionalliga fixture against Viktoria Köln the following day. With all the electrics in the stadium knocked out, diesel generators and temporary changing rooms had to be installed; and the repairs which weren't completed until March 2014 were thought to have cost in the region of €1.5 million. 

The floodlights are integrated into the stadium roof and both RWE and the Essen city council are carrying out a feasibility study into increasing capacity to 25,000 by filling in the corners in time for the 2026/27 season. A possible third expansion phase in the future could also see an additional 10,000 seats with the addition of an upper tier. An impressive video screen installed in August 2021 under the Stadtwerke Essen Tribüne roof and a single floodlight pylon which stands as a legacy of the Georg Melches Stadion (in 1956, it became the first stadium in Germany to have floodlights) in the south-east corner of the ground completes the look of the Stadion an der Hafenstraße. 


Ticket Office:

Telephone: +49 (0) 201 99998300


Average Attendance:
2022-2023: 16,448 (3.Liga)
2021-2022: 9,400 (Regionalliga West) *
2020-2021: N/A *

2019-2020: 10,938 (Regionalliga West) *
2018-2019: 7,259 (Regionalliga West)
* Season affected by COVID pandemic

Expected Ticket Availability

Despite having Borussia Dortmund and FC Schalke 04 on the doorstep; and a host of other Ruhr clubs to compete with in the battle for local hearts and minds, as a lower league club Essen's support is first division quality. That's not to say that getting hold of a ticket involves a mad scramble though and although promotion to 3.Liga has brought a few more fans through the turnstiles, you should be ok keeping things traditional and buying on a matchday.

If, however, you'd prefer to get your ducks in a row beforehand, then you can buy tickets in advance via the online ticket shop RWE run with 'LMS Sport'. There's no English version unfortunately but to save you having to learn German, Google Chrome’s translation feature makes booking tickets a straightforward enough process. Tickets are delivered in either the 'Print@Home' format or, if you don't mind waiting a few days, they can be sent overseas by Deutsche Post for an additional €7.

Tickets can also be bought at the fan shops:


  • Fan Shop an der Hafenstraße
    (Hafenstraße 97a, 45356 Essen; open 2-6pm Tue-Fri; 90 minutes before kick-off and for 45 minutes after full-time on home matchdays; tel: +49 (0) 201 99998302; email:


  • Fan Shop im Limbecker Platz
    (Limbecker Platz 1a, 45127 Essen; open10am-8pm Mon-Sat; tel: +49 (0) 231 90203283; email:

There are also a number of Vorverkaufsstellen (advance ticket offices) in the Essen area and the club provide a list of them here.

There's no overly-complicated approach to ticketing; and admission prices will depend on where you want to watch the action from. Broadly speaking, tickets bought in advance will cost full-paying adults €22-32 for seats and just €13 to stand on the terraces. Discounts are available for seniors, students, disabled people and children (aged 7-14 years); and family tickets (Block E4, row 1–6, seats 19–64) are priced at €15 per person for any combination between 1 adult /1 child and 2 adults / 3 children. For 'organisational reasons', RWE advise that Family Tickets can only be booked at the fan shop on Hafenstraße.

If you're thinking of buying on the day, there's a surcharge of €2-3 and tickets are available 90 minutes before kick-off from the respective box office for each stand. For example, if you want to sit in the Rahn Tribüne, then buy your ticket from the box offices behind this stand. Tickets for the Stadtwerke Essen Tribüne are available from the box offices behind here ... und so weiter, und so weiter  (and so on, and so on). The only change to this rule applies to the Sparkassen Tribüne, in which case you need to head to the ticket counter inside the fan shop.

Information about visiting Stadion an der Hafenstraße for fans with disabilities can be found at: 


Stadium Address:

Hafenstraße 97a 
45356 Essen


Heading along the A40 from either Duisburg or Dortmund, come off the Essen-Zentrum exit (Junction 23) and follow signs for Dorsten before joining Friedrichstraße (B224). After a mile-and-a-half, you'll come to the junction with Bottroper Straße near the University of Essen. Carry straight over onto Grillostraße and at the next set of traffic lights, turn left onto Gladbecker Straße. After a couple of miles, turn left into Daniel Eckhardt Straße and follow the road a mile before turning left onto Hafenstraße and the stadium will be on your right after a mile. Alternatively, you can turn left at the Bottroper Straße / Universität Essen junction (use the two left-hand lanes) onto Bottroper Straße and turn turn right onto Sulterkamp after two miles. After half-a-mile, turn right onto Hafenstraße and the stadium is a short drive on your right.

If you're travelling along the A42, come off at the Essen-Nord exit (junction 13) and join Gladbecker Straße (B224) in the direction of Essen-Zentrum. Turn right at the second set of traffic lights onto Vogelheimer Straße. After half-a-mile, turn left onto Hafenstraße and you'll see RWE's home a couple of hundred metres away on your right.

From the A52, take the Essen-Rüttenscheid exit (junction 28) and follow Alfredstraße (B224) right, towards Dorsten. Stay on the B224 as it becomes Bismarckstraße for a couple of miles until you reach the junction with Friedrichstraße. Turn left here and follow the road another couple of miles to the Bottroper Straße / Universität Essen junction. Carry straight over onto Grillostraße and at the next set of traffic lights, turn left onto Gladbecker Straße. After a couple of miles, turn left into Daniel Eckhardt Straße and follow the road a mile before turning left onto Hafenstraße and the stadium will be on your right after a mile.

Expect the usual matchday traffic chaos around the ground and note that Hafenstraße is closed to all traffic 90 minutes before kick-off between Bottroper Straße and Vogelheimerstraße/Sulterkamp. And even if you battle through the traffic and manage to arrive before the road closures, access to the official car parks around the stadium is restricted to permit holders only !


You're likely to come across a lot of misinformation (even on RWE's own website !) about getting to the Stadion an der Hafenstraße by catching the S-Bahn (S2) to Essen Bergeborbeck - the nearest station to the ground. Since December 2019 however this hasn't been possible as the S2 line now connects Dortmund with Essen's central station (HBF). It doesn't stop at Bergeborbeck !
To reach Essen Bergeborbeck by train, you now need to catch the RB32 or RB35 regional services that run between Gelsenkirchen and Duisburg.

If you've arrived in Essen at the Hauptbahnhof, Tram 106 (Direction: Germaniaplatz) takes 15 minutes to reach Essen Bergeborbeck, a 10-minute stroll to the stadium. Alternatively, Buses SB16, 166 and 196 head from here and the city centre to the Hafenstraße stop just around the corner from the stadium. On matchdays, a 
shuttle service also runs before and after the game between Essen Hauptbahnhof and the Hafenstraße bus stop.

Match ticket holders can travel to and from the stadium throughout the day until 3am the following morning in the Verkehrsverbund Rhein-Ruhr (VRR) region.

The ground is about three miles north-west of central Essen and according to Google Maps it will take you over an hour to cover the distance on foot. Use the time to explore more of the UNESCO listed Zollverein coal mine instead before heading to the match on public transport.



Fan Shop an der Hafenstraße 
(Hafenstraße 97a, 45356 Essen; open 2-6pm Tue-Fri; 90 minutes before kick-off and for 45 minutes after full-time on home matchdays; tel: +49 (0) 201 99998302; email:

Fan Shop im Limbecker Platz 

(Limbecker Platz 1a, 45127 Essen; open10am-8pm Mon-Sat; tel: +49 (0) 231 90203283; email:

A mobile fan shop also sets up behind the WAZ-Westkurve 90 minutes before kick-off and for 45 minutes after full-time on home matchdays.

While in theory you can go behind the scenes at the Stadion an der Hafenstraße with a range of 60-120 minute guided tours, for reasons only known to themselves RWE limit these to
 four 'one-off' events spread out over the course of the year rather than as part of a regular schedule. With so few dates available, demand unsurprisingly exceeds supply and at the time of writing, the only one that hasn't sold-out is the 'Zeche Hafenstraße' on the 5th October 2023.

If it's still available by the time you come to book, then further information about what to expect on the tour can be found here.



For live football on big screens, and some food if beer sharpens your appetite, head for the centre of Essen and call in at 11 Freunde Die Bar (Kunigundastraße 27, 45131 Essen; open 6-11:30pm, Tue-Wed; 5pm-12am, Fri; 2:30pm-12am, Sat; 2:30-9pm, Sun) or CARLO Café & Bar (Stadtwaldplatz 6, 45134 Essenopen 5-11pm, Tue-Thu; 5pm-1am, Fri-Sat; 3-10pm, Sat; 2:30-9pm, Sun) which shows all RWE's matches if you're 'armchair not fresh air'. Fritzpatrick's Irish Pub (Girardetstraße 2, 45131 Essen; open 11am-11pm, Mon-Fri; 11am-2am, Sat-Sun) near the Martinstraße tram stop also gets good reviews.

On a matchday, the usual kiosk vendors in the stadium serve up typical German football fayre (bratwurst, frikadellen, chips, oversized pretzels etc) and are happy to take cash in return for your bratwurst and beer - no need to worry about sorting out a stadium card!


BUNDESLIGA: 1.FC Köln, Bayer 04 Leverkusen, Borussia Mönchengladbach, Borussia Dortmund, VfL Bochum
FC Schalke 04, Fortuna Düsseldorf, SC Paderborn, VfL Osnabrück

3.LIGA: Borussia Dortmund II, DSC Arminia Bielefeld, FC Viktoria Köln, MSV Duisburg, Preußen Münster, SC Verl

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