The recently shone in new garb. Where the old stadium of the third division club recently exuded morbid charm, the sparda bank hessen stadium now stands. OFC managing director thomas kalt speaks of "a new ara", for offenbach’s mayor horst schneider (SPD) a "vision has come true". On 18. July now sees the opening match against bayer leverkusen. Both clubs are linked by a long-standing fan friendship.
The new arena is typically english, with steep tribunes and short distances between the playing field and the spectators. 20,500 spectators can fit into the new kickers home, including around 10,000 standing places. The construction, which was completed at the end of june, cost 25 million euros. Ten million euros were contributed by the state of hesse, five million each by the city, the stadtwerke offenbach holding and the namesake sparda bank hessen.
The clou: as in the old stadium, the grandstand offers standing room along the entire length of the stadium. Here the OFC fan block continues to rage, this was a central demand of the supporters. Let’s hope that the words on the new main stand at the 111. Year of the club’s history remains true: "the mountain shakes," it says.
Despite all the joy, many people in and around offenbach also feel melancholy, because the time-honored bieberer berg is finally history. The stadium where players like hermann nuber, siggi held, dieter muller, rudi voller and uwe bein once kicked and otto rehhagel coached. The stadium, which in the spring of 1990 saw the narrow defeat of kaiserslautern in the cup semifinals, but also experienced low points such as the fall into the fourth division in 1995. However, OFC’s legendary 6-0 bundesliga victory over bayern munchen in august 1974 took place in frankfurt’s waldstadion.
The last highlight was the kickers’ victory over borussia dortmund in the second round of the DFB cup in the fall of 2010. The last period was characterized by frustration. In 2011, the club missed out on promotion to the second division, and this year the arch-rival of frankfurt’s eintracht also failed to make the leap into the lower league.
But now, with the new stadium, kalt believes the economic foundation has been laid to establish the club permanently in professional soccer – thanks to ten boxes and 800 business seats for wealthy customers. "Before, we only had the audience that was into tradition," he says. "Now those who like modern things can come, too."
While the old stadium cost around 300,000 euros per year, it now costs 500,000 euros. But the ten boxes alone brought in about 430,000 euros, and each business seat sold can be calculated at about 2,000 euros. "From my point of view, something big has been created here," says kalt.
A hint of rough fubball will be played as early as 14. August, when the german U 21 national team will play against argentina in the new arena. And the old bieberer berg has not completely disappeared anyway: in the stairwell of the main stand, the lamps of the old floodlight masts shine brightly. Maybe they are lighting the way to a better future.