Germany is a fantastic place for a football weekend break. Great stadiums, huge crowds and a world-famous matchday fan experience make the Bundesliga a must-visit destination for any football supporters.
Check out our Top Ten German Football Weekends breaks, with comments from the people who have been there! Make sure you visit Germany this season and arrange it through an agent with 20 years of experience.
10: Bayer Leverkusen – Bay Arena
Bayer Leverkusen are the small club who have muscled their way into the top shelf of Bundesliga clubs. Stephen Cazjewski paid a visit to the Bay Arena: “The first match we attended was the Bundesliga game between Bayer Leverkusen and RB Leipzig. Bayer Leverkusen were once Champions League finalists and it’s OK to call them Bayer - the pharmaceutical firm - as they used to be the works footy team.
“In terms of pre match drinking and food options Leverkusen has the usual German quality sausage and beer options, and don't forget you can take beer into the ground. Prior to the Leverkusen match we went to a big neighbourhood bar restaurant called Manforter Hof about 10 minutes walk from the ground. Good beer and fine service to get Saturday underway.
“Leverkusen's ground, the Bay Arena, is a modern 30,000 capacity stadium with a thriving standing home section.
“We witnessed Red Bull take a 1-0 lead from a soft penalty, Leverkusen equalise just before half time against the run of play, Leipzig then going two one up early in the second half from another penalty and Leverkusen having a player sent off for handball prior to the penalty. Down to 10 men Leverkusen found some team spirit and resilience and eventually earned a deserved equaliser.
“Twenty minutes on the train from Leverkusen we were in Köln city centre, right outside the massive cathedral.”
9: Eintracht Frankfurt – Commerzbank Arena
Eintracht Frankfurt have some of the most passionate fans in the Bundesliga. And they have had plenty to shout about lately with a fine finishes in the league table, and a run to the semi-final of the Europa League.
It has seen the crowds packing out their impressive 51,500 capacity Commerzbank Arena, also known as the Waldstadion, constructed for the 2006 World Cup.
Jim Stewart reports: “For such a big match, it’s a slightly bizarre stroll along the side of a forest up to Eintracht’s home, the Commerzbank Arena and after the chance of mingling with the locals over a beer at one of the many stopping points along the way, the path through security was pleasantly speedy and painless.
“Frankfurt’s home is a thoroughly European-style arena, all sweeping curves. It has a more serene feel in keeping with the woodland surroundings. The roof is suspended above the stands to allow light to flood in through the back. It’s retractable but there was no need for it to be closed today.
“Two tiers all the way round, we were sat towards the top of the Ostkurve, affording a great view of the Eintracht ultras packing the lower tier terrace at the other end. The official visiting section was to our left but a decent number of visiting supporters were spread throughout the end, sporting colours - all very friendly with not a hint of trouble in the air.
“Frankfurt, enjoying one of their best seasons in years, always looked the more potent as they tried to run through a shaky Stuttgart defence. They eventually did so, right on half time, and when the second and third duly arrived in the second period Stuttgart were well and truly beaten.”
8: Hamburg - Volksparkstadion
The lively German port city of Hamburg remains a popular weekend break – and of course it wouldn’t be complete without watching Hamburger SV in action! Colin Dunn visited the stadium – he reports: “I was looking forward to visiting the Volksparkstadion. I wasn’t in the least disappointed because it is a rarity among modern stadia in that it has both character and atmosphere.
“Although it is a relatively new build the fans have customised the home end with graffiti to put their mark on it, and it is a well laid out and easy to navigate palace of football. I would certainly have it in my top ten stadia.
“My seat was directly behind the goal and a newly resurgent Hamburg took an early lead on 13 minutes, only for Köln to equalise in the 25th minute. However, deep into injury time Hamburg steered in a winner, leading to absolute bedlam in the home end and a shower of beer covering yours truly.
“There were plenty of offers from friendly locals to join them in further post-match celebrations in a few of the HSV friendly pubs in the Reeperbahn.”
7: Red Bull Leipzig – Red Bull Arena
Leipzig – it’s a trendy new place to visit in Germany and it has been making a lot of noise in footballing circles these past couple of years. Neil Fredrik Jensen paid a vist to the east German city and to Red Bull Leipzig: “The rise of RB Leipzig has been welcomed by the young and old alike in Leipzig. RB Leipzig are attracting crowds of over 40,000 to the arena. A second placed finish in the Bundesliga in 2017 has only heightened demand for tickets.
“The Red Bull Arena is a stadium that deserves mention for its appearance. Originally built in 1956 as the Zentralstadion, it was designed by Werner March, the architect behind Berlin’s Olympic Stadium. It was built from the debris from World War Two bombing of the city.
“It later fell into disrepair before being renovated for the 2006 World Cup. A new stadium was effectively constructed inside the bowl of the original and was connected by bridges. It makes for a spectacular view when you reach the top of bowl before descending into the stadium itself.
“There was something of a carnival atmosphere as people congregated outside, drinking beer and eating sausages. Then you walk up steps, many steps, to reach the pinnacle.
“As I left the stadium after the game, I saw fans of all age revelling in another victory for their team. It cannot be denied that RB Leipzig play good football. The stadium has a healthy atmosphere and the curious of Leipzig are clearly enjoying the moment. “
6: Borussia Mönchengladbach - Borussia Park
They are – literally - one of the biggest names in European football. Mönchengladbach, on the western border of the country, have a proud history and were one of Europe’s top clubs back in the 1970s. They still enjoy huge, passionate support and a match at Borussia-Park has to be experienced.
Doug Fenner recalls: “Mönchengladbach is a conurbation of towns and the Borussia-Park stadium is a little distant from the centre of any of them. Because of this the club runs shuttle buses from two local stations, Rheydt and Mönchengladbach, which are also included in the cost of the match ticket.
“Borussia-Park is a modern stadium, opened in 2004, and surrounded by business parks and car parks. The ground is illuminated with green lighting which gives it an unearthly appearance. It holds just under 55,000 when full, has two tiers and the Nordkurve terrace is where the Borussia ultras gather. There are ample refreshment kiosks and toilets.
“When Mönchengladbach played Celtic a Scottish bar made a joke about not being able to spell their name and, having crossed out several attempts, settled on ‘A German Team’. Mönchengladbach have taken this in good spirit and now sell a scarf with this phrase on it.
“We then had a couple of pints of Bitburg and some slices of pizza in the fan park outside. As well as the pizza there were also stalls selling seafood, kebabs and, of course, a variety of sausages. With around 20 minutes to go before kick-off we headed around to the South End of the ground where our seats were located in the upper tier.
“The Borussia fans were also in good voice and the crowd of just over 40,000 were making their presence felt. Our view was good and the leg room was okay as you’d expect from a modern stadium.”
5: Schalke 04 – VELTINS-Arena
This latest visit to the VELTINS-Arena was for the big derby between Schalke 04 and arch rivals Borussia Dortmund: “The football ticket was valid for the train journey to Gelsenkirchen, and for the Straßenbahn to the stadium as well as the return journey after the game to Dusseldorf. On the tram out to the VELTINS-Arena you pass the old stadium Glückauf-Kampfbahn which was the original one used by Schalke 04 until 1973. Beside the current arena is the Parkstadion which in turn was replaced in 2001.
“The current stadium, rebuilt for the 2006 World Cup, has a retractable roof and pitch and is simply one of the most impressive in Germany. Hopping off the Straßenbahn next to the stadium at around 2pm gives plenty of time to take a few photographs before taking your place in the stadium, in this case the Schalke 04 Nordkurve.
“Pick up the Schalker Kreisel magazine, it is free and now runs to over 160 A4. This means not only is it a good read but is thick enough to sit on – but you need to get one early as they run out!
“This latest derby was as passionate as ever and ended 2-2. As most of both sets of fans stay behind to salute their heroes you can usually get on one of the earliest Straßenbahn back to the main train station and that is what happened this time.
“In Gelsenkirchen the main shopping street is Bahnhofstraße. The city was the centre of coal and coke industries, as these disappeared the population has declined and is now around a quarter of a million. It is certainly the place to visit if you want to see a top class stadium and a team that usually qualifies for one of the European competitions.”
4: Bayern Munich - Allianz Arena
It looks like something that has landed from outer space in the heart of Bavaria – the stunning Allianz Arena in Munich. Jim Stewart reports: “It is a fitting venue for a club that are true European giants, and it is without a doubt one of the most iconic arenas in world sport.
“The Allianz Arena, Bayern Munich’s dazzling home since 2005, was built for the 2006 World Cup and hosted the opening game and five other matches. The most eye-catching part of the stadium is the curved exterior. It is made up of air-filled foil cushions that are illuminated at night.
“’The cushions change colour according to who is playing there – so they are red for Bayern or white for the national side.
“When it opened the arena had room for 69,000 spectators, but due to huge demand for tickets that capacity has been increased to 75,000. It is the only stadium in Germany to have three tiers – and they are sold out for every game.
“It is an impressive stadium however you look at it, and the view as you walk up from the nearest metro station on a matchday is one to remember. And Bayern always have a quality team to match their surroundings.”
3: Hertha Berlin – Olympiastadion
Hertha Berlin are one of the big names in German football, if not always the most successful. Jim Stewart reports: “Hertha’s home, Berlin Olympiastadion, is one of the most recognised, and most iconic, in the world.
“Visit the stadium for a match and it is an awesome sight. Arriving from the east, the two giant columns are as striking a stadium gateway as you are ever likely to see. Walk up across the open plaza towards the stadium, packed on matchdays, and the architecture you see remains unmistakably 1930s – brick built and imposingly authoritarian.
“The stadium’s story began when the German Nazi Government decided the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games were their ideal propaganda platform. The Olympiastadion was created with a vast capacity of 110,000. That included a special stand for Hitler and his officials – giving them the perfect view as the black athletic Jesse Owens sprinted and jumped to four Olympic golds.
“The stadium was chosen as a venue for the 1974 World Cup and hosted group matches involving both the hosts and eventual winners, West Germany, and ironically East Germany.
“When Germany was reunified, there was a debate on what to do with a stadium with such a chequered history. However, when Germany won the rights to host the 2006 World Cup it was given a new lease of life, and was chosen to host the final.
“The renovation was dramatic with the sweeping roof extended, leaving just a space at one end, the Marathon Arch, where the Olympic Flame once stood. The permanent capacity of the stadium now is 74,649 – the largest all seated capacity in Germany.”
2: FC Köln – RheinEnergieSTADION
When it comes to German football
1. FC Köln are something special. They won the first ever Bundesliga in 1963 – earning the ‘1.’ In front of their name. Despite spending too many seasons in the second division in recent times they still pull in 45,000+ crowds – not many could match that.
And it is surely the only stadium where you find a goat munching away on the touchline, Hennes, the club mascot.
Jim Stewart reports: “The RheinEnergieSTADION is a very impressive stadium. Unlike most arenas, built in that bowl shape, this is four stands. Four proper stands holding 50,000 fans, including 8,000 standing – most in the lower tier of the south stand, the home end. Each end and side has two tiers, and above them all tower four iconic floodlights in the corners.
“It has been likened to a ‘proper’ English football ground. As you approach from the main Aachener Strasse road it’s a very striking view, even more so at night when the stadium is lit up. When their anthem Mer stonn zo dir - to the tune of ‘Bonnie Banks o Loch Lomond’ complete with bagpipes - belts out before kick off it’s a spine-tingling moment.”
1: Borussia Dortmund - Signal Iduna Park
Borussia Dortmund’s 81,000 capacity Signal Iduna Park is famous the world over – particularly for having the largest standing terrace in Europe, the Yellow Wall.
The stadium is packed week in, week out with some of the most passionate fans in Germany. A weekend in the heartland of German football just had to be done: Jim Stewart reports: “Ahead of matchday there’s a real party atmosphere around the stadium with countless bar and food stalls, music and more alongside a huge club store and museum. Although the crowds are big the service is generally very speedy.
“All eyes always turn to the Yellow Wall, Dortmund’s famous 28,000 capacity south terrace, and it’s everything you expect it should be - a vast sea of people, seemingly already packed an hour before kick off.
“As kick off nears, and You’ll Never Walk Alone is sung by the crowd, a giant tifo of a father and child rises above the stand, complete with terrace barriers in the background. It’s an impressive sight.
“The one thing no football trip can guarantee is a decent game and, for 90 odd minutes, it looked like we were going to be out of luck. As the game entered the second period it descended into a pretty lifeless affair with, if anything, the visitors having the slight advantage. However, just as most of us had given up hope of a goal we were rewarded. BVB were awarded a free kick outside the box and Paco Alcácer thumped the ball through the wall and past the helpless keeper.
“The Yellow Wall behind went wild, and just a minute later they were celebrating again as Dortmund broke for the same player to score a second. Happy days, we made our way into the evening, sampling the post-match euphoria in Dortmund bars.”
These reports are edited versions from articles that appeared in Football Weekends magazine. To order a copy visit www.footballweekends.co.uk Metadata: See top Bundesliga clubs Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund and more live –book hotel and ticket packages with established provider Nickes.Com