Ground: Voith-Arena (Albstadion)
Date: 8th April 2017
Match: Heidenheim - Bochum 0-0 (2. Bundesliga)
Attendance: 11 100
One of my goals is to visit every ground in the top two divisions in Germany. The weekend before Easter gave me the opportunity to visit two of my missing grounds, in Heidenheim and Ingolstadt. At 19.55 on Friday evening my SAS-flight left Copenhagen airport and around 21.30 I arrived at the airport in München/Munich. I made the 22.04 S-bahn and at 23.00 I was at my hotel next to München Hbf. On Saturdays there are always two games at 13.00 in 2. Bundesliga and today one of those games were Heidenheim v Bochum. In recent years FC Heidenheim have won promotion several times. In 2003/04 the club played in Verbandsliga Würtemberg (level 5) but in 2009/10 the club played in 3. Liga for the first time ever. The success continued though and in 2014/15 the club was suddenly in 2. Bundesliga. The city of Heidenheim an der Brenz has a population of around 50 000 so having a team in 2. Bundesliga is quite an achievement. The biggest employer in the town is Voith and the company has played a big role in the local football club´s success in recent years. From Munich I had to go by (ICE-) train to Ulm where I changed to a local train. I left Munich at 08.28 and at 10.31 I was in Heidenheim an der Brenz. Upon arrival I was greeted by my friend Andreas who lives in nearby Schwäbisch Gmünd. He was going to a Kreisliga game later in the afternoon and had already parked his car strategically near the ground. From Heidenheim Hbf it takes around 25 minutes to walk to Voith-Arena, the home of FC Heidenheim. The weather this Saturday was glorious with 18 ºC and a clear sky. Andreas and I decided to walk to the ground but made a stop at a café for a cup of coffee. As we continued towards the ground we climbed the stairs leading up to the castle (Schloss Hellenstein). It was quite a steep climb but once at the top we were rewarded by a nice view of the city. Voith-Arena was then only a further 10 minutes away.
With Heidenheim rocketing up the leagues their home ground have been rebuilt several times. Voith-Arena, formerly Albstadion, used to have running tracks and only a small seated stand. To play in 2. Bundesliga you need a total capacity of 15 000 and after the latest redevelopment in 2014 Voith-Arena nowadays have 6 000 seats and 9 000 standing places. The only seated section being on sale, the other sections seems to be for season ticket holders only, for league games is the leftmost block of the Südtribüne. This section is next to the away end and to have a good matchday experience this is where I prefer to sit. For some reason (late bus, protest?) most of the Bochum fans didn´t enter the away end until the 10th minute. They didn´t miss anything though. In fact neither team created much and at half-time it was 0-0. Both Heidenheim and Bochum are mid-table and won´t be promoted or relegated. They still tried to score in the second half though. Bochum hit the post and Heidenheim had a header cleared off the line (I thought it was a goal) but that was as close to a goal we would come this afternoon. 0-0 and my 43 matches long run without a 0-0 came to an end at Voith-Arena in Heidenheim. As I left the ground someone suddenly asked me if I was a groundhopper. A group of Royal Antwerp fans were in Heidenheim as well and had noticed me taking pictures. One of those Antwerp fans was Hans who I met in Ipswich a few years ago. What can I say, it is a small world. At 15.54 my train left Heidenheim and after changing trains in Ulm I was back in Munich shortly after 18.00. After my visit to Heidenheim I have now done 15 of the 18 grounds in 2. Bundesliga!
Fans enjoying the nice weather
Rear of the Südtribüne
View of play
View of play