SSV ULM 1846
Founded: May 5, 1970
Club Members: 9,753
Nickname: Die Spatzen
Coach: Thomas Wörle
Captain: Johannes Reichert
Regionalliga Südwest: 1
German Amateur Champions: 1
Landespokal Württemberg Winner: 11
In its current format, SSV Ulm 1846 has only existed for a short period of time. Indeed, it was only founded in 2009. However, football has been played in Ulm for over a century. The 1846 in the club’s title refers to the year that the Turnerbund Ulm was formed. This was long before the advent of football in Germany, but as often in the country, it was gymnastic associations that were the home of the nascent football clubs. So it proved to be in Ulm. It was only in 1926 that the football division of the Tunerbund struck out on its own.
A merger with other clubs in the area in 1939 temporarily unified the sport in the Württemberg city, very close to the border with Bavaria. The new club was known as TSG Ulm 1846 and played at the top level of football, the Gauliga, throughout the Second World War. Apart from a single season in the Oberliga Sudwest, then the top tier of German football, TSG found themselves playing in the next level down. Upon the formation of the Bundesliga in 1963, they briefly continued to compete at this level, but eventually dropped down to the third, or even fourth, tier. Further local mergers in 1968 and 1970 strengthened the club. Finally, a decade later, the club broke into the ranks of professional football, securing promotion to the Bundesliga 2. It was a struggle at that level, with the threat of relegation ever-present. The 1990s was spent back in the third tier before promotion again in 1998.
The following season was the best, and possibly most unexpected, in the club’s history as they ripped through the Bundesliga 2 and achieved promotion to the top flight at the first time of asking. However, it was very much a case of be careful what you wish for. The first decade of the 21 st century was not a happy one. Relegation from the Bundesliga in 2000 was followed by the same happening the following season. From dining at the same table as Bayern München and Borussia Dortmund, they were back playing in amateur football.
The worst was still to come. The club’s finances were in a complete mess by this stage, so much so that the DFB got involved and demoted the club to the fifth tier. A long slow ascent over the next few years saw them rise back to the Regionalliga Sudwest. However, more financial irregularities saw a second insolvency. It was at this point that SSV Ulm 1846, the current club, was formed. It wasn't the end of the financial woes as 2014 saw the club require emergency funding of €420,000 to complete the season. It also meant another relegation. However, promotion back to the Regionalliga was achieved in 2016. After several near misses the local supporters were rewarded with a league title in 2023 and a place in the 3.Liga.
Ground Name: Donaustadion
Year Opened: 1925
Renovations: 1952, 1988, 1999
Capacity: 19,500 (15,220 standing)
Record Attendance: 40,000 (1925)
Undersoil Heating: No
Running Track: Yes
Playing Surface: Natural Grass
Pitch Size: 105m x 68m
The Donaustadion was opened in 1925 with a gymnastics competition. Given its unique horseshoe shape around 40,000 were at that event, with thousands of spectators taking advantage of the opportunity to watch from the open end. It was damaged during the Second World War.
The main stand was built in 1952, but it took a further thirty years before the benches were replaced with individual seats. In 1999 the Gegentribune, with 3,000 covered seats, was built. Upon promotion to the Bundesliga, additional temporary stands were constructed, which raised the capacity of the stadium to 23,500. Presently the capacity is 19,500, of which 4,280 are seated.
The stadium retains an athletics track and has been used for the German Athletics Championships various times over the last twenty years. The German womens’ football team has played international football there and, in the build-up to the 2006 World Cup, Australia played the one and only full international match at the Donaustadion against the mighty Lichtenstein.
The ground lacks any under soil heating, which means that in January and February, as the temperatures in southern Germany drop, SSV play their home matches at the CENTUS Arena in Aalen, forty-five miles to the north.
2022-2023: 3,900 (Regionalliga Südwest)
2021-2022: 2,068 (Regionalliga Südwest)
2020-2021: N/A *
2019-2020: 1,324 (Regionalliga Südwest) *
2018-2019: 1,737 (Regionalliga Südwest)
* Season affected by COVID pandemic
Expected Ticket Availability
Despite counting the likes of Ralf Rangnick, Thomas Tuchel and the Hoeneß brothers (Dieter and Uli) among their alumni, Ulm have historically been a club with a very small fanbase. Therefore, with the Donaustadion unlikely to be packed to the rafters, most (if not all) matches can be treated as a traditional 'walk-up' and plenty of tickets (if you don't mind paying a €2 surcharge) will be available from the box office outside the Haupttribüne (Main Stand) from two hours 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 Ulm's online ticket shop. It's all in German but fortunately "Wenn Sie kein Deutsch sprechen können ", Google Chrome’s translation feature makes booking E-tickets (received as PDF & Mobile Tickets) very simple.
If you're in Ulm ahead of matchday, you can also pick up your ticket at the Ticket/Fanshop office (Donaustadion, Stadionstraße 5, 8907 Ulm; open 1-6pm, Tue & Thu; 9am-12pm, Wed).
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 Ulm are up against or whether the match is being played at the Donaustadion or CENTRUS Arena.
Ticket prices to sit in the stands are €20 for adults, €15 for seniors and concessions; and children (aged 6-14) can get in for €9. It's €12 for full-payers to watch the action from the terraces with seniors and concessions paying €10 and children (aged 6-14) costing their parents just €5.
GETTING THERE & AWAY
If you're coming by car, the simplest advice is to put the stadium address in your Sat-Nav and follow its guidance. Note that Stadionstraße is closed to traffic from 12pm before a match.
Parking is limited at the ground though and the club suggest that drivers use the free car parks at 'P+R Schulzentrum Kuhberg' (Egginger Weg 40, 89077 Ulm) and 'P+R Sciencepark II' (Lise Meitner Straße, 89081 Ulm) before continuing onto the Donaustadion using Ulm's tram services (see below).
Parking is also available for €5 per vehicle at 'P3/Donauhalle' and 'P4/Volksfestplatz' at the Ulm Messe complex a 10-15 minute walk along Wielandstraße. Unless you've got a valid parking permit issued by the club though, don't be tempted to head for the P1 car park (Friedrichsaustraße 33, 89073 Ulm) at the ground. This is reserved for players, match officials and SSV Ulm staff on a matchday and it's strictly enforced with cars being towed away by the authorities from early morning.
Tram 1 (Direction: Böfingen) leaves the Hauptbahnhof and crosses the city centre calling at 'Theater', 'Justizgebäude' and 'Willy Brandt Platz' before arriving at the 'Donaustadion' stop outside the stadium. The journey takes 9 minutes and with a valid match ticket, the buses, trains and trams of the Donau Iller Nahverkehrsverbund (DING) transport network are free to travel around on from 9am until three hours after the match.
It's quite straightforward to reach the Donaustadion on foot and it should take you about half-an-hour to get there from central Ulm. If you fancy the walk and the beer isn't having too much of an impact on you, just follow the tram tracks east through the city centre - keeping an eye out for Tram 1 (see above) for reassurance that you're on the right 'track'. From the main station entrance, turn left and head onto Bahnhofplatz which soon becomes Olgastraße. Follow the tram tracks along Olgastraße for about half-a-mile until you reach Münchner Straße. Cross the junction onto Schwambergerstraße/Willy Brand Platz and follow the road as it becomes Friedrichsaustraße. After quarter-of-a-mile, you'll come to the junction with Talfinger Straße. Take a left here and you'll see the stadium over to your right.
Alternatively, the Donaustadion is an easy walk along the banks of the Danube. With the station entrance behind you, cross the road and turn right along Friedrich Ebert Straße. Continue past the C&A store until you reach the junction with Neue Straße. Cross Neue Straße and head onto Promenade. After about quarter-of-a-mile, you'll find yourself on the north bank of the Danube. Follow the river for about a mile keeping the river on your right side, and you'll see the stadium in the distance.
Since a higher volume of traffic in the area of the stadium is to be expected at home games, the club and the city of Ulm recommend cyclists to avoid the area for their own safety.
GETTING TO THE CENTRUS ARENA (AALEN):
SSV Ulm have done their best to make it as easy as possible for their fans to travel to Aalen and together with club sponsors Husqvarna have laid on a shuttle bus that runs from the Ulmer Messeparkplatz (P2) near the Donastadion. It costs €5 per person and information regarding departure times can be found on the club website before each game. If you're travelling by train, direct services run between Ulm and Aalen with the journey taking about an hour and costing €6.40 each way. If you're driving, use the free Greut Festplatz (Schützenweg, 73430 Aalen) and it's a 10-minute walk along Kurt Früh Weg to the CENTRUS Arena.
FAN SHOP, MUSEUM & STADIUM TOURS
The fan shop for fanartikels and tickets can be found behind the main stand at the Donaustadion.
(Stadionstraße 5, 89073 Ulm; 1-6pm, Tue & Thu; 9am-12pm, Wed).
FOOD & DRINK OPTIONS
With Ulm's attractive centre of spires and cobbles only a corner kick away, many fans head to the bars and restaurants there before making their way to the match.
Of course, you can still grab a bite and wet your beak at the stadium itself with all the usual options (Bratwurst, Currywurst, Leberkäsbrätchen, Pizza etc) on offer. Everything can be settled up with cash or the usual contactless payment methods (credit/debit card, Apple Pay, Google Pay etc) - so there's no need to worry about stadium cards !
OTHER CLUBS IN THE AREA
BUNDESLIGA: 1.FC Heidenheim 1846, SC Freiburg, TSG 1899 Hoffenheim, VfB Stuttgart
BUNDESLIGA 2: Karlsruher SC
3.LIGA: SC Freiburg II, SV Sandhausen