1.FC HEIDENHEIM 1846
UPDATED FOR 2023-24 - AUGUST 2023
Founded: May 27, 1972
Club Members: 8,000
Coach: Frank Schmidt
Captain: Patrick Mainka
Bundesliga.2 Champions: 1
3.Liga Champions: 1
Landespokal Württemberg Winner: 6
A mere youngster compared to most of the clubs they've welcomed to the Voith Arena, 1. FC Heidenheim 1846 have only been in existence in their current guise since 2007, when the football club broke ranks from its parent association Heidenheimer Sportbund to give it the freedom to comply with the strict financial standards that professional clubs in Germany are required to follow. Heidenheimer SB were themselves the result of a series of complicated mergers which brought various sports clubs in Heidenheim together and today that association has over 5,000 members playing 27 different sports ... although you'll now have to go elsewhere for football.
With their autonomy secured and taking the earliest year of their origins as part of their name, 1.FC Heidenheim 1846 kicked off life playing in the fifth tier of German football and a series of promotions under the stewardship of the ever-present trainer Frank Schmidt has since seen them rise through the leagues, winning the Regionalliga Süd in 2009 and following that up with promotion from 3.Liga in 2014. After several years as an established Bundesliga.2 side and narrowly missed out on promotion to the Bundesliga when they lost on away goals against Werder Bremen in the 2019-20 promotion/relegation play-off, this small club finally made the big time when they won promotion to the Bundesliga in 2023.
Ground Name: Voith Arena
Architect: Dietbert E. Trägner
Built: 2009 - 2010
Year Opened: 2010
Renovations: 2013, 2015
Capacity: 15,000 (10,700 standing)
Executive Boxes: 37
Business Seats: 1000
Wheelchair Spaces: 20
Construction Costs: €24.1m
Undersoil Heating: Yes
Running Track: No
Playing Surface: Hybrid Grass
Pitch Size: 105m x 68m
Albstadion (1972 - 2009)
GAGFAH Arena (2010)
Voith Arena (2010 - ) *
* Stadium Renamed
Plans to build a new ground on the site of the old Albstadion - which had been home to Heidenheim's parent association since 1972 - were drawn up midway through the 2008-09 season. The original idea was to have a rather modest capacity of 8,000 which, given the fact that Heidenheim were playing in the Regionalliga Süd at the time, seemed more than adequate for the club's needs. However, Heidenheim won promotion to the 3.Liga at the end of that season and in order to comply with DFB league regulations, architect Dietbert E. Trägner had to find room for an extra 2,000 places.
The work wasn't finished when the 2009-10 season but because it was being carried out in stages i.e. stand by stand, Heidenheim were able to continue playing at the ground throughout the construction. Finally, after €14million had been spent, the renovated municipal stadium officially opened on the 4th September 2010 as Heidenheim welcomed local rivals VfB Stuttgart, who spoiled the party by winning 3-2. Keen to recoup some of the construction costs, the city council hawked the naming rights to the highest bidder and for a time the stadium was known as the GAGFAH Arena before a local engineering firm coughed up enough money for the stadium to be referred to as the Voith Arena.
Back on the pitch, Heidenheim got on with the business of winning football matches and after five seasons in the 3.Liga, won promotion to Bundesliga.2 in 2015. Once again, in order to comply with league regulations, another programme of expansion was carried out with the capacity being increased to 15,000, the bare minimum requirement. Today, the Voith Arena is a football-only venue with four stands.
The fully terraced HellensteinEnergie Osttribüne (Block L) and the adjacent corner of the Südtribüne (Block M) is where you'll find the Heidenheim home end. Away followings are welcomed in the opposite Westtribüne (Blocks E1 and E2). The Südtribüne and opposite Sparkassen Hauptribüne (Main Stand) run the full length of the pitch and are both low, fully covered affairs with seating space only. The corners have been filled in and four angled floodlight pylons in each corner complete the look of the stadium.
2022-2023: 11,106 (Bundesliga.2)
2021-2022: 6,527 (Bundesliga.2) *
2020-2021: N/A *
2019-2020: 9,050 (Bundesliga.2) *
2018-2019: 11,382 (Bundesliga.2)
* Season affected by COVID pandemic
Expected Ticket Availability
The club website and online ticket shop are both in German only but Google Translate makes short work of everything if you don't speak the most widely-spoken language in the European Union. Through the club's ticketing partner Eventim you can have E-Tickets sent to your smartphone or made available as a Print@Home option.
Tickets can also be bought on a matchday by visiting the FCH Fan and Ticket Shop in front of the HellensteinEnergie Osttribüne from three hours before kick-off, or from the FCH Fan and Ticket Shop in the city centre (Hauptstraße 22, Heidenheim; 10am-6pm, Mon-Fri; 10am-2pm, Sat). Unless all tickets have already been sold in advance, there's also a box office which opens two hours before kick-off.
The rise through the leagues has brought with it increased demand for tickets and now that they're in the Bundesliga with the smallest ground in the division, Heidenheim's matches are likely to sell-out. Season ticket holders and club members will hoover up allocations long before they get anywhere close to being made available via general sale and if any tickets are available, then you'll have to act quick ! Roughly speaking, adults should expect to pay €24 - €30 for seats, and it's €16 for a place on the terraces. There's a €2 surcharge for tickets bought on a matchday.
Information about visiting the Voith Arena for fans with disabilities can be found at:
GETTING THERE & AWAY
89522 Heidenheim an der Brenz
If you're coming by car, it's worth noting that the stadium is located in an 'Environmental Zone' which means only vehicles that comply with emission standards are allowed anywhere near. Assuming therefore that you're not driving an ice cap melting 4X4, the club website recommends following signs for the 'Voith Arena'. Apparently the signs have a football symbol on them in case you're in any doubt. It sounds as though there's no need for Sat-Nav but we've included the address for you just in case.
Parking at the ground itself (car parks P1 - P3) is only possible if you have a permit and don't be in a rush to get away either as the roads in the immediate vicinity of the Voith Arena are closed to traffic for at least 30 minutes after full-time. There are plenty of other options a short distance away however including car park P10 which is just a minute or two walk down the hill on Katzental.
The club run free shuttle buses from a number of car parks in the area, so this might be a good option to consider if you decide to drive to Heidenheim. Very briefly, if you're coming from the North/A7 then park up at EPCOS (Wilhelm Kentner Straße) and the buses leave every 20 minutes from here. From the west, park up at Adalbert Stifter Realschule/Berufsschulzentrum (Heckentalstraße 70) and again the shuttle buses run every 20 minutes to the ground. Finally, from the south, The Paul Hartmann AG company (Paul Hartmann Straße 12) will let you park on their site and the shuttle buses leave for the ground every 10 minutes.
You can also use the buses operated by the Heidenheimer Verkehrsgesellschaft (HVG) transport network if you arrive at the main station. The bus stop is about 100 metres to your right as you come out of the main entrance towards the city centre, and lines 6 (Direction: Heidenheim Klinikum) and 7 (Direction: Mergelstetten Stuttgarter Ring) take you to the Voith Arena stop outside the stadium.
For any of you who have wheezed up to the Betzenberg in Kaiserslautern, you'll have an idea of what's in store for you walking to the Voith Arena. At 555 metres above sea level, it's the second highest ground in Germany and involves a significant climb up a hill from the city centre a mile and a half away. If you're feeling energetic though then come out of the main station and turn onto Bahnhofstraße, following it until you reach the junction with St Pöltener Straße. Turn right and follow St.Pöltener Straße until it leads round to the left and turn immediately right onto Im Flugel. Follow this for about half a mile and you'll reach the junction with Katzental. Turn right and begin the hike up the hill before you reach the ground and have a chance to get your breath back.
FAN SHOP, MUSEUM & STADIUM TOURS
The FCH Fan and Ticket Shop at the Voith Arena (in front of the Osttribüne; 10am-6pm, Mon-Fri).
Additional fan shops can be found at:
FCH Fan and Ticket Shop (Hauptstraße 22, Heidenheim; 10am-6pm, Mon-Fri; 10am-2pm, Sat)
11TEAMSSPORTS (Hauptstraße 56, 89537 Giengen/Hohenmemmingen; 9:30am-12:30pm, 2-6pm, Mon, Tue, Thu-Fri; 9:30am-12:30pm, Sat)
Fanshop at Marktkauf (Nattheimer Straße 100, 89520 Heidenheim; 7am-10pm, Mon-Sat)
Guided tours (adults/children €7/€5) of the Voith Arena can be requested. According to the stadium website, a visit to the Press room and the 'KidsClub' are not to be missed, although as members of the media ourselves, we're of the opinion that they're often one and the same thing. To see for yourself, just send Heidenheim an email with the date you want to visit - firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. Further Information about the tour can be found here.
FOOD & DRINK OPTIONS
There isn't a great deal around the ground so you're as well getting a bite to eat in Heidenheim before the match. At the Voith Arena itself, the usual mobile fast food and drink outlets offer the typical German football fayre of beer, chips, rostbratwurst etc; although once inside the stadium you're going to have to pay for your bratwurst and half-litre of Dinkelacker using cashless payment methods (credit or debit cards, Apple Pay, Google Pay etc).
OTHER CLUBS IN THE AREA
BUNDESLIGA: FC Augsburg, VfB Stuttgart
3.LIGA: SSV Ulm