SC ROT-WEIß OBERHAUSEN
Founded: Dec 18, 1904
Club Members: 1,400
Nickname: Die Kleeblätter
Coach: Jörn Nowak
Captain: Sven Kreyer
Western German Cup: 1
Landespokal Niederrhein Winner: 3
As football gained popularity in Germany at the beginning of the 20th Century, a merger in 1904 between two long forgotten local clubs - Emshertaler SV 1902 and Oberhausener TV 1893 - led to the formation of SC Rot-Weiß Oberhausen. Their pre-war record was largely unremarkable with much of it spent playing in local championships before joining the regional Gauliga Niederrhein after a restructure of German football by the Third Reich.
Emerging from the chaos of World War 2, during which they formed part of a combined wartime side called KSG Elmar/Viktoria Oberhausen, Die Kleeblätter became a consistent performer in the post-war Oberliga West but missed the cut when the German FA were deciding which sixteen clubs should form the new Bundesliga in 1963. Undeterred, Oberhausen settled down to life in the second-tier Regionalliga West and after a number of good seasons, the club's high-water mark was achieved in 1969 with promotion to the top-flight under the stewardship of coach Adi Preißler. After finishing the 1969-70 season in a creditable 14th position, the club then found themselves a year later embroiled in the infamous Bundesligaskandal which rocked German football to its core and saw over 50 players, coaches and club officials punished for accepting payments to influence results. Oberhausen's head coach Günter Brocker was one of those banned; and it wasn't until 2008 that striker Lothar Kobluhn was finally given his Kicker Torjägerkanone award after topping the Bundesliga's scoring charts that season with 24 goals. Although the club itself had escaped sanction, the damage had been done and the lights began to go out on Oberhausen's stay in the top division.
After four seasons rubbing shoulders with German football's elite, Oberhausen dropped into Bundesliga.2 in 1973 and joined the ranks of Germany's 'elevator clubs' - with promotions and relegations seeing them play in four different divisions before coming to rest in the Regionalliga West by 2012. Whilst bouncing up and down the football strata, they did show some cup pedigree at times and, following a couple of earlier quarter-final appearances, as a Bundesliga.2 club they surprisingly reached the DFB-Pokal semi-final for the first time in 1999. A 3-1 win for Bundesliga heavyweights Bayern München however denied the men from Westphalia a place in the final that year and it remains the closest Oberhausen have got to achieving major domestic success.
Although they're not a side that strike fear into the hearts of visiting teams, the same can't be said about their fans who have ensured that RWO are one of the better-supported clubs in the German lower leagues with an average home crowd of nearly 2,000. This was something they hoped would help entice none other than Zlatan Ibrahimovic to the Niederrheinstadion in 2016 when the Swedish legend was on the look out for a new club after leaving Paris St Germain. In a move that showed a great sense of humour rather than genuine ambition, Oberhausen pulled out all the stops with one of the most creative contract offers in football history - offering to replace all bratwurst on sale in the stadium kiosks with Schweden-Happen, rename the local brew 'Ibrahimovic Pilsner' and build a new stand at the ground using supplies exclusively from IKEA. Part of the inventive proposal even went as far as creating a monarchy in Oberhausen and making the 'Lion' ... King !
Ibrahimovic, who has never shied away from making regal comparisons about himself, eventually decided against a seat on a newly-formed throne in favour of a reunion with former boss Jose Mourinho at Manchester United - leaving RWO to look elsewhere for the goals to help fire them back to professional football.
Ground Name: Niederrheinstadion
Built: 1924 - 1926
Year Opened: 1926
Capacity: 17,165 (13,365 standing)
Record Attendance: 48,000 (1950)
Undersoil Heating: Yes
Running Track: Yes
Playing Surface: Natural Grass
Pitch Size: 110m x 75m
Stadion am Gräfenbusch (1926 - 1929)
Niederrheinstadion (1929 - ) *
* Stadium Renamed
Opened on February 28th 1926 as Städisches Stadion am Gräfenbusch with a match between Duisburger SV 1900 and DSC Arminia Bielefeld, the Niederrheinstadion (also known as 'Stadion Niederrhein') is a rather basic, very continental lower-league affair and its multi-use design (complete with a running track that sets the stands a distance back from the action) makes it look more like an athletics stadium than a football ground.
A couple of neat and tidy 2,000 seater stands (Evo Haupttribüne and STOAG Tribüne) built in 1998 and renovated in 2004 either side of a spell in Bundesliga.2 run along the pitch side. Both ends of the oval shaped ground originally offered low concrete terracing open to the elements, but in 2017 work began on a project similar to those seen at larger stadia in Bremen and Stuttgart to completely remove the running track and replace the Kurves behind each goal with new stands built closer to the pitch.
The first phase saw the 8,000 capacity (although crowds of that size hadn't been permitted for a long time) Emscherkurve demolished and replaced with the new €2.8 million fully covered Revierkraft Tribüne. Up to 3,110 of Oberhausen's most vocal support can now watch the action from here 40 metres closer to the pitch than they were before and the plan is to do the same with the Kanalkurve at the southern end of the ground. However, with the Niederreinstadion easily coping with the 'demands of modern football', Oberhausen are clearly of the opinion "If it isn't broke, we aren't in a hurry to fix it" - and so no timescale for the work has yet been set. In the meantime, away followings are given this open terrace and have a hard time making their voices heard (the furthest point of the Kurve is a full 50 metres from the pitch) ... whilst also praying that it doesn't rain too hard or too long.
Huge floodlights tower over each corner of the ground and during the 1970s they were the brightest in Europe - making colour TV broadcasts of night matches possible for the first time. In 1996, as their former Ulrich Haberland Stadion was being transformed into the BayArena, Bayer 04 Leverkusen donated their old scoreboard to the city of Oberhausen and it was installed on the Kanalkurve to complete the look of the stadium today.
In addition to being home to Rot-Weiß Oberhausen, the Niederrheinstadion was one of four stadiums chosen to host the 2004 UEFA European Under-21 Championships including three group stage matches, a semi-final and the third/fourth place play-off. FCR 2001 Duisburg also played two of their UEFA Women's Champions League home matches in Oberhausen because the floodlights at their PCC Stadion in Duisburg didn't meet UEFA standards.
2022-2023: 2,881 (Regionalliga West)
2021-2022: 2,690 (Regionalliga West) *
2020-2021: N/A *
2019-2020: 2,923 (Regionalliga West) *
2018-2019: 2,681 (Regionalliga West)
* Season affected by COVID pandemic
Expected Ticket Availability
Not only do Oberhausen have Dortmund and Schalke to compete with in the battle to win over local hearts and minds, but their location further west in the Ruhr means that Mönchengladbach and Düsseldorf are also on the doorstep. Add to this the fact that Oberhausen are playing in the Regionalliga with a 20,000+ capacity ground to fill, it's no surprise that the Niederrheinstadion isn't filled to the rafters every week and there's a healthy gap between ticket supply and demand - even for the Kleine Revierderby against Rot Weiß Essen.
Tickets will be available through the online shop (no English language option we're afraid - this is the Regionalliga, not the Bundesliga !) or over the phone if you want to practice your German. You can have them posted to you (it's an additional €6.90 to cover the postage for overseas orders) or, for an extra €1.50, arrange collection at the box office outside the stadium on a matchday - just remember to bring proof of purchase and valid photo ID. There are also a number of other Verkaufstellen (sales outlets) in Oberhausen and the club provide a list of them here.
For those of you who don't feel the anxious need to get your ticket organised weeks in advance, you can keep it traditional and present yourself at the ticket windows about an hour before kick-off.
As is the norm in the Regionalliga, there's no ABC-tiered approach to ticket pricing and so the same flat-rate applies to all matches regardless of the quality of opposition facing RWO. Therefore, ticket prices for full-paying adults are €17 to sit in the STOAG Tribüne, €24 in the EVO Haupttibune and it's just €12 to cheer on Die Kleeblätter from the Revierkraft Tribüne. Bear in mind however that although this terrace offers the cheapest tickets, it's also the Oberhausen home end - so consider spending the extra money to sit in one of the stands if it's a 'neutral' Saturday afternoon you're after. There are no surcharges if you buy your ticket on a matchday.
GETTING THERE & AWAY
If you're travelling by car, be aware that access to Lindnerstraße from Konrad-Adenauer Allee on matchdays is closed to traffic and so, to approach the stadium, you'll have to make your way from the opposite direction via Buschhausener Straße or Max Eyth Straße.
Heading from Dortmund or Duisburg, leave the A42 at the Oberhausen - Buchhausen junction (9) and turn left at the traffic lights onto Buschhausener Straße. At the next set of lights, turn right onto Lindnerstraße and follow the road for about 500 metres. At the road block (see paragraph above), turn left onto Max Eyth Straße and follow the signs for matchday parking.
From Cologne, Arnhem or Hannover; leave the A2/A3 at the Oberhausen junction (10) and join the A516 heading towards Oberhausen. After the Oberhausen-Eisenheim exit, turn right onto the A42 and come off at the Oberhausen-Buschhausen junction (9) before following the directions above.
In addition to road closures on a matchday, parking options around the ground are extremely limited and it's for this reason that Oberhausen make a point of suggesting you use public transport to get to the game. If you do insist on driving however, then arrive early and head for the P4 car park (access via Max-Eyth Straße off Buschhausener Straße). It costs €3 per vehicle to park up and free shuttle buses run to and from the stadium from here. Don't be tempted to use the P3 car park opposite. Yes, it may look empty - but that's because it's currently closed to the public and being used by Deutsche Bahn to carry out engineering work on the adjacent railway line. Access to car parks P2B (inc. disabled parking) and P2C at the stadium itself is only possible if you have the required permit.
If you're struggling to find somewhere to park up, try the small (but free) Offentlicher Kostenloser Parkplatz (Am Kaisergarten 60A, 46049 Oberhausen) or, failing that, the Öffentlicher Kostenpflichtiger Parkplatz (Duisburger Str. 71, 46049 Oberhausen).
With a valid match ticket, you can ride around free of charge on matchdays within the B24 (Oberhausen city area) tariff zone of the Verkehrsverbund Rhein-Ruhr (VRR) travel network until 3am the following day.
From the Park&Ride car parks at Oberhausen Hauptbahnhof, Sterkrade Bahnhof or Osterfeld Bahnhof, free fan buses shuttle from station to stadium from about two hours before kick-off and the same service runs from the Wendehammer behind the Revierkraft Tribüne after the game.
From Oberhausen Hauptbahnhof you have a number of bus routes to choose from:
Probably the simplest is to take Bus 122 (Direction: Goerdelerstr.) to the stop 'Schloss Oberhausen' before crossing Mülheimer Straße (B223) and walking 10 minutes along the Rhine-Herne Canal or Lindnerstraße to the Niederrheinstadion.
Buses 956 (Direction: Goerdelerstra.) and 957 (Direction: Graßhofstr.) both stop at 'TZU' and it's a 15-minute stroll to the ground from here. Head along Mülheimer Straße (B223) in the direction of the A516 motorway, passing Schloss Oberhausen and then you can either follow the footpath along the Rhine-Herne Canal or carry on to the junction with Lindnerstraße which also leads to the Niederrheinstadion.
Finally, take Bus 961 (Direction: Spechtstraße) to the stop 'Max Planck-Ring' and walk along Duisburger Straße before following Mülheimer Straße (B223) in the direction of the A516 motorway. You'll pass Schloss Oberhausen and have the same choice as above - either follow the canal or head along Lindnerstraße.
An increasingly popular way of travelling to the match in eco-friendly Germany is by bike, and RWO are no different from many other clubs in encouraging you to 'do your bit' for the environment and improve your health in the process by providing bike parking spaces between the stadium forecourt and the P2B car park.
You can reach the Niederrheinstadion on foot and it will take you about 45 minutes or so to cover the couple of miles from Oberhausen Hauptbahnhof. 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 need to walk off that beer and bratwurst.
FAN SHOP, MUSEUM & STADIUM TOURS
There is a fan shop selling all your RWO knick-knacks outside the Niederrheinstadion (Lindnerstraße 2-6, 46149 Oberhausen; 2-6pm, Tue; 10am-2pm, Wed-Fri; about 90 minutes before kick-off on matchdays. Note: Access to the fan shop is only possible on a matchday with a valid match ticket).
FOOD & DRINK OPTIONS
For cheap beer and a free chat with members of Oberhausen's support, then join them at one of their 'Win, Lose, Have a Booze' parties in the RWO Fankneipe (4-8pm, Mon-Tue; 4-8pm; Thu-Fri; 10am-6pm, Sat-Sun; extended opening hours on matchdays) - the club pub outside the ground. Inside the Niederrheinstadion itself, there are the usual kiosks offering up typical German football fayre and with RWO's no-nonsense working class roots planted firmly in Ruhr soil, you can pay for your burnt Wurst and cold beer using good old fashioned cash - no faffing about having to top up pre-payment Fancards with plastic money.
OTHER CLUBS IN THE AREA
BUNDESLIGA: 1.FC Köln, Bayer 04 Leverkusen, Borussia Dortmund, Borussia Mönchengladbach, VfL Bochum
BUNDESLIGA 2: Fortuna Düsseldorf, FC Schalke 04, SC Paderborn 07, VfL Osnabrück
3.LIGA: Borussia Dortmund II, DSC Arminia Bielefeld, FC Viktoria Köln, MSV Duisburg, Preußen Münster, Rot Weiss Essen, SC Verl