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SC FORTUNA KÖLN

JULY 2024

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Founded: Feb 21, 1948
Club Members: 1,200
Coach: Matthias Mink
Captain: TBC


Regionalliga West: 1
Landespokal Mittelrhein Winner: 1


Website: www.fortuna-koeln.de

Formed through the merger of three local clubs (Victoria Köln 1911, Bayenthaler SV 1920 and Sparkassen-Verein Köln 1927) in 1948, SC Fortuna Köln spent their formative period as a largely uncompetitive side in regional championships and it wasn't until former footballer-turned-millionaire benefactor Hans 'Jean' Löring became president in 1966 that the club's fortunes started to turn around. His spending brought immediate results with promotion to the fourth-tier Regionalliga West secured in 1967 and, as the heavy investment continued over the next few years, Fortuna reached their high-water mark in 1973 with promotion to the Bundesliga.

Their stay in the top-flight was a brief one however and after only a season rubbing shoulders with German football's elite, the men from the cathedral city were back in the second-tier where they spent most of the next three decades. In 1983, Fortuna made their first (and so far only) appearance in the DFB-Pokal final - knocking out Bundesliga opposition in the form of Borussia Mönchengladbach and Borussia Dortmund on an impressive run which saw them take on city rivals 1.FC Köln in the decider. Despite having to play the match in 1.FC Köln's own Müngersdorfer Stadion (this was in the days before the Olympiastadion in Berlin became the official final venue) and outplaying their opponents, Fortuna weren't quite in step with their lucky 'DNA' that day and a 68th-minute Pierre Littbarski goal won the cup for 'Effzeh '. Fortuna also came close to making a return to the Bundesliga in 1986 but a disastrous 0-8 defeat in the promotion/relegation play-off against Borussia Dortmund put paid to those aspirations.

By now however dark clouds were gathering and in 1992 only a decision by the DFB (German FA) to deny Blau-Weiß 90 Berlin a playing licence saved Fortuna from relegation to the third-tier. Much of Fortuna's ability to punch well above their weight for so long had come from the deep pockets of Jean Löring (a trained electrician, he personally fixed a floodlight failure during a match against SV Darmstadt 98 in 1982 !) and it's estimated that he bankrolled the club to the tune of DM 30-40 million which led to his own insolvency. Löring felt ashamed about having to declare personal bankruptcy and he left the club in 2000. Without his financial support or a large enough fanbase to sustain the club, Fortuna began a slide down the leagues against a backdrop of increasing financial problems before insolvency in 2005 meant that 'Löring's' SC Fortuna Köln were no more. 

Reborn in 2008 as a fan-owned club, Fortuna began life again in the fifth-tier Verbandsliga Mittelrhein and despite insolvency had managed to salvage the old club's youth department, one of the largest in Germany with over 500 players in 25 teams, through a fundraising campaign organised by the former chairman Egbert Bischoff that included a benefit game against 1. FC Köln. With an emphasis now on youth development, the club began a climb back up the pyramid and in 2014 returned to professional football with promotion to the 3.Liga following a dramatic away goals win over Bayern München II in a play-off. After four seasons in the third tier however, Fortuna were relegated back to the Regionalliga West where they ply their trade today.

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 GROUND DETAILS 

Ground Name: Südstadion
Year Opened: 1978
Renovations: 2008 - 2009, 2012, 2015

Capacity: 11,748 (9,885 standing)
Media Seats: 30

Construction Costs: €3.83m
Undersoil Heating: Yes

Running Track: Yes

Playing Surface: Natural Grass

Pitch Size: 105m x 68m

Grounds:

Südstadion (1978 - )

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Opened in 1978 as a council owned facility to serve the requirements of three Cologne clubs (Fortuna, Arminia and Union), the Südstadion is a fairly basic affair and part of a multi-sports complex including several training fields and sites for other sports.

Its multi-use design means that there is a distinct feel of it being more like an athletics stadium rather than a football ground. A neat and tidy 2,000 seater covered main stand runs along the western side of the ground and the remaining sides of the oval shaped ground offer low concrete terraces open to the elements - which was a concern on our visit as the skies above Cologne darkened with rain clouds. The away support can be found at the north end of the ground and Fortuna's most vocal support congregate on the southern Kurve  although this is currently closed and the club have announced that it will only be reopened if demand requires it. In the meantime the Fortuna ultras will have to sing their lullabies from the terrace (Mitte) opposite the main stand. A well maintained synthetic athletics track around the perimeter sets the ends behind the goal a fair distance from the action and four towering floodlights standing sentry in each corner completes the look of the stadium.

Plans to completely overhaul the Südstadion were never carried out, with only modest upgrades to the floodlights, seating and undersoil heating being made since 2008. In addition to being home to Fortuna, the stadium also played host to near neighbours Bayer 04 Leverkusen whilst the BayArena was under redevelopment during the 2008-09 season.

 BUYING TICKETS 

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Average Attendance:
2022-2023: 2,088 (Regionalliga West)
2021-2022: 1,934 (Regionalliga West) *
2020-2021: N/A *

2019-2020: 1,667 (Regionalliga West) *
2018-2019: 3,090 (3.Liga)
* Season affected by COVID pandemic

Expected Ticket Availability

Unable to step out of the shadow cast by Bundesliga giants1.FC Köln, Fortuna have historically been a club with a very small fanbase and kicking about in the Regionalliga these days means that matches are very unlikely to sell-out. Most will therefore be a traditional 'walk-up' and tickets will be available from the ticket offices outside the ground which open two hours before kick-off.

If you're one of those anxious types who need to have a ticket secured in advance then you can buy up to 10 E-tickets (Print@Home or Mobile Ticket) per person via the online ticket shop. The site is in German only but fortunately "Wenn Sie kein Deutsch sprechen können", Google Chrome’s translation feature makes booking tickets through the club's ticketing partner 'Ticketmaster' a very straightforward process.


There's no ABC-tiered approach to ticket pricing, so the same flat-rate applies to all matches regardless of the opposition facing Fortuna. Therefore, advance ticket prices for full-paying adults are €20 for seats and it's just €10 to watch the action from the terraces. Prices go up by €2 if bought on a matchday.

 

 GETTING THERE & AWAY 

Stadium Address:

Vorgebirgstraße,
50969 Köln

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BY CAR:
If you're coming by car from the south via the A1 or A3, join the A4 towards Cologne and come off at the Köln-Süd junction. Follow the A555 towards the city centre and at the large roundabout take the second exit onto Bonner Straße. Follow Bonner Straße and just beyond the junction with Brühlerstraße, turn left onto Marktstraße in the direction of Großmarkt. Follow the road as it becomes Bischofsweg and at the traffic lights, turn left, then first right onto Vorgebirgstraße and you've arrived at the ground. 
Coming from the north along the A3, take the Köln-Zentrum exit and follow the B55a over the ZooBrücke (Zoo Bridge) onto Inner Kanalstraße. Follow the road for about 8km (5 miles) as it becomes Universitätsstraße. At the end of the road turn left and, after 200 metres, turn left again onto Vorgebirgstraße and you're at the Südstadion. 

Parking is available at the ground (Car Park P2 - entrance on Vorgebirgstraße) for €5 per vehicle. Additional parking is also available in the Gothaer multi storey car park (Berlin Kölnische Alle 4, 50969 Köln) a couple of minutes walk from the Südstadion. A little further away, parking is also available at the Großmarkthalle on Marktstraße (Marktstraße 10D, 50968 Köln).

PUBLIC TRANSPORT:
From Cologne's Hauptbahnhof, you have a choice of taking either tram 16 or 18 (Direction: Brühl / Bonn) to Barbarossaplatz; or tram 5 (Direction: Butzweilerhof) to Friesenplatz. Then hop on tram 12 (Direction: Zollstock / Südfriedhof) and jump off at the Pohligstraße stop next to the ground.
If you're coming from the Südbahnhof station, take tram 9 (Direction: Neumarkt / Königsforst) and get off at Zülpicher Platz. Cross the road and catch tram 12 (see the directions above).  The whole journey from the centre of Cologne to turnstile should take around 30 minutes. Unfortunately, match tickets don't include the cost of public transport to and from the Südstadion.

WALKING DIRECTIONS:
You can reach the Südstadion on foot and it will take you about 45 minutes or so to cover the couple of miles from central Cologne. It's a bit complicated to explain the route through the city centre here so let Google Maps plan the route for you if you're feeling energetic. Or do what we did and spend the time enjoying a few pre-match Kölsch  in the city centre before heading to the ground by tram.

 FAN SHOP, MUSEUM & STADIUM TOURS 

FAN SHOP:
Fanshop am Südstadion 
( Klaus-Ulonska-Weg 1, 50969 Köln ; open 9am-12pm & 3-6pm Tue, Thu & -Fri; two hours before kick-off until one hour after full-time on matchdays). 

 FOOD & DRINK OPTIONS 

The city centre is your best bet when it comes to pub grub and beer, although some of Fortuna's fans head to the kebab shops and mini marts along Höninger Weg just across the road from the ground. If you want to discuss tactics with Fortuna's players and coaches, then join them in the clubhouse (next to the artificial training pitches) after the game.
On a matchday, a number of kiosk vendors offering typical German football fayre set up at the stadium and you can pay for your half-litre of Gaffel Kölsch and burnt bratwurst from the griddle using good old fashioned cash - no faffing about with pre-payment stadium cards here !

OTHER CLUBS IN THE AREA

BUNDESLIGA: 1.FC Köln, Bayer 04 Leverkusen, Borussia Dortmund, Borussia Mönchengladbach, VfL Bochum
 

BUNDESLIGA 2: FC Schalke 04Fortuna Düsseldorf, SC Paderborn 07
 

3.LIGA: Borussia Dortmund II, DSC Arminia Bielefeld, FC Viktoria Köln, MSV Duisburg, Rot Weiss Essen, SC Verl

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