Veltins Arena – home of the Schalke 04 fans

Gelsenkirchen - Veltins ArenaGelsenkirchen - Veltins Arena 19.03.2017: The fourth largest stadium in German Bundesliga is situated some forty kilometres away from Dortmund and the border with the Netherlands. This time we are going to see Gelsenkirchen and its famous Veltins Arena. Obviously, we are talking about the home ground of Schalke 04, which is one of the few stadiums boasting of a retractable roof and a slide-out pitch. How did Veltins Arena come to exist?

In the year of 1990 the local club, Schalke 04, was on the rise, so it was no wonder that a project to build a new stadium was conceived, especially considering that the then existing Parkstadion was no longer satisfactory. That same year the Schalke management submitted a proposal for a project to build a new stadium. However, after a few months it got swept under the carpet, where it stayed until 1997. That same year Schalke 04 won the UEFA Cup, today called the UEFA Europa League. So, thanks to this achievement and on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the club the management decided to construct a new multi-purpose stadium with a capacity of over 61,000.
  Construction of Veltins Arena: The agreement on construction of the stadium, which cost 192 million EUR, was signed in 1998, and it was built by a German firm HBM. The project was designed by German architect Günter Kus. The construction, on a location a few kilometres south of the former Parkstadion, began on 21 November 1998, when the foundation stone was symbolically laid. The arena was officially opened in 2001 on the occasion of a Bundesliga match between Schalke 04 and Bayer Leverkusen (3-3).
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First matches at Veltins Arena:
The first Champions League match took place at the stadium in September 2001, and it was between Schalke 04 and Panathinaikos (0:2). The German national team played in Gelsenkirchen for the first time in October 2001, and it was a 2002 World Cup preliminary match with Finland. The match, however, only ended in a tie.

Modern features of Veltins Arena: It is one of the few stadiums with a slide-out pitch and a retractable roof, which features in a funny story. By the end of 2012 snow was falling hard in Germany, and it also covered the roof of the Veltins Arena. The management of Schalke 04 ordered a firm from Dortmund to clear away the snow. After they removed all the snow, they left a message in the form of a large flag of Borussia Dortmund on the roof. "Well, it is nice, isn’t it? The Dortmund fans are helping us,” Peter Peters, the Chair of the club, good-humouredly commented.

Naming rights: On 1st June 2005 the management of the team from North Rhine-Westphalia signed a contract with German brewery Veltins, and the stadium was renamed to Veltins Arena. Thank you for additional information. | Photo: |


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