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FC AUGSBURG

JANUARY 2023

Founded: Aug 8, 1907
Club Members: 21,730
Nickname: Fuggerstädter, FCA
Coach: Enrico Maaßen
Captain: Jeffrey Gouweleeuw

Regionalliga Süd: 2
Bayernliga: 5


Website: www.fcaugsburg.de


Although FC Augsburg have only been around in their current guise since the '60s, the club's tangled roots date back as far as 1889 when members of a gymnastics club (TV Augsburg 1847) jumped off their pommel horses and formed a football club called 'MTV Augsburg'. As interest in the new English game gained traction in Germany, the impetus created by the footballing gymnasts of MTV led to other clubs being set up in the city and, on 8th August 1907, it got another when a group of young men led by Fritz Käferlein formed 'FC Allemannia Augsburg'. The newcomers spent their early years going through a series of mergers and name changes; and after becoming 'BC Augsburg' in 1921, they enjoyed a degree of success in local championships - winning four Kreisliga Schwaben titles between 1928 and 1933.

After the Nazi rise to power in 1933, football was restructured across Germany with the creation of the Gauliga  which funnelled clubs into 16 (later to become 18 following the Austrian Anschluß  in 1938) top-flight regional divisions and although BCA couldn't repeat their Kreisliga success, they established themselves as a fairly solid performer in the Gauliga Bayern with runners-up finishes in 1943 and 1944 their high-water mark under the Third Reich. As the second world war turned against Germany however; player shortages, travel problems and damage to grounds from Allied bombing raids meant that clubs were forced to play their matches closer to home and from 1944 onwards, BCA formed one half of a combined war team (Kriegsspielgemeinschaft ) called KSG BC/Post Augsburg.

Allied tanks on the streets of Berlin brought Hitler's 'Thousand Year Reich' to an end in 1945 and as a policy of de-Nazification was introduced across occupied Germany, all sports clubs were forced to disband. As football and dictatorship untangled themselves after the conflict, BC Augsburg duly reformed in 1946 and returned to action in the newly created Oberliga Süd where they spent most of the next decade mired in the mud of mid-table mediocrity - despite being able to call on the talents of rising star Helmut Haller. Technically gifted and a natural finisher, the stocky Bavarian had made his Augsburg debut in 1957 and, in 1962, after establishing himself as a key player for both club and country, he became the first German footballer to move to Italy when FC Bologna paid a transfer fee of DM 750,000 and offered 'Der Blonde Engel ' (the Blond Angel) DM 200,000 a year (German salaries at the time were limited to just DM 500 per month!) to make the move to Serie A. 

While Haller went on to become the first foreigner to win Italy's 'Migliore Calciatore Assoluto AIC ' (Footballer of the Year) award; back in Augsburg, no one could have foreseen the tailspin which brought back-to-back relegations and saw the club crash into the third tier Amateurliga Bayern by 1964. In an attempt to regain their football composure, BCA officials met with their counterparts at another Augsburg club - TSV 1847 Schwaben Augsburg - to discuss the possibility of a merger. A proposal to merge the two clubs had actually been discussed back in the late 1940s but quickly rejected after neither side could come to an agreement about how it would all work. On 15th July 1969 however, with BCA and TSV struggling in the amateur ranks and the beleaguered finances of both clubs adding extra urgency to the need for a solution, a union was finally agreed with the new club becoming known as 'FC Augsburg'.

Not for the first time, fans in Augsburg had to pledge their football allegiances and it took some time for the nascent club to be fully embraced by the city. With just a few hundred fans keeping the turnstiles turning each game, the club initially found it hard to keep hold of their best players and without the appeal or funds to attract quality replacements, the first team soon became a mix of overpromoted hopefuls and underpowered journeymen. Eventually though, after several years of middle-order ranking, the battle for local hearts and minds was finally won when 15,000 fans descended on the Rosenaustadion in 1973 to celebrate FCA securing the Bayernliga title and promotion to professional football for the first-time.

That summer, BCA old boy Helmut Haller returned after 11 years with FC Bologna and Juventus - rejecting a salary from the club in return for a 5% cut of the DM 44,000 transfer fee instead. With "Haller-Haller-Hallerluja " becoming Augsburg's new battle cry, the Bavarians took to life in the Regionalliga Süd straight away in a tour-de-force campaign that saw average attendances rise to over 22,000 as FCA stormed to the title. The excitement surrounding the Haller-inspired side
 saw the local press dub FCA as 'The Napoli of Germany' on account of their passionate following - 25,000 of whom caused a 40km traffic jam on the autobahn before a match at TSV 1860 München on 15th August 1973. Expecting a crowd of about 50,000 on the day, the authorities were totally unprepared for the 80,000 fans who were in Munich's cob-web roofed Olympiastadion at kick-off with many more locked outside the stadium. When 1860 opened the scoring in only the third minute, ticketless fans broke through the perimeter gates and climbed the fences as a tidal wave of humanity swept over the already dangerously overcrowded terraces. Thankfully, no-one was killed in the incident but 137 people were injured and apart from the near disaster, the match (which finished 1-1) is remembered for setting the world record attendance at a second division football match and being the catalyst for a rivalry that continues between the clubs today.

After missing out to Tennis Borussia Berlin in the play-offs to decide promotion to the Bundesliga that season however, the success of the 1973-74 season was consigned to the history books as FCA began flirting dangerously with relegation. A revolving-door 'policy' that saw no fewer than 7 head coaches hired and fired in a 5-year period failed to address the drop off in performances and after the departure of 18-year-old maverick Bernd Schuster - just two years before he became the star of West Germany's successful 1980 European Championship campaign - there was an air of inevitability in 1979 when FCA were relegated and Helmut Haller hung up his boots within weeks of his 40th birthday. 


Die Fuggerstädter  - a nickname derived from the city's famous Fugger family - made a quick return to Bundesliga.2 by winning the Bayernliga title in 1980 and almost completed a memorable double that season when they reached the German Amateur Championship final - only to fall to VfB Stuttgart Amateure. Life back in the second tier was brief however and a last place finish saw them relegated after just one season. They returned to Bundesliga.2 for another single-season cameo a year later but there would be no quickfire bounce-back from the third tier this time and the 1981-82 campaign turned out to be the club's last in professional football for almost quarter of a century.

FCA spent the next two decades in the amateur ranks as struggles off the pitch began mirroring those on it and by 2000, with debts of DM 1.8 million threatening to swallow the club up, failure to provide the DFB (German FA) with the proof of funds needed (€3 million) to secure a playing licence for the Regionalliga meant a forced demotion back to the Bayernliga. Salvation arrived in the form of textile entrepreneur Walter Seinsch who became FCA president that year and after clearing the club's debts, he set about turning the club's fortunes around with the avowed aim to replace the aging Rosenaustadion with a new stadium and for FCA to one day trade punches with German football's elite in the Bundesliga. 

As the storm clouds lifted, FCA began a resurgence that saw them celebrate another Bayernliga title win in 2002 and, after building up momentum with a number of top four finishes, the club finally ended their 23-year exile from Bundesliga.2 in 2006 - but only after their fans had seen them miss out on promotion the previous year after a ruinous last-gasp final day defeat against SSV Jahn Regensburg. On 26th July 2009, Walter Seinsch delivered the first of his promises when the new Impuls Arena opened and, just two years later, he made good on the second when Stephan Hain scored an 85th minute goal to secure a 2-1 win over FSV Frankfurt and promotion to the Bundesliga for the first time. 


Since then, FCA have defied expectations to establish themselves as a fixture in the German top-flight and in 2010, Dutch coach Jos Luhukay took them as far as the DFB-Pokal semi-finals before SV Werder Bremen were thrown in their path. The club's greatest achievement however came five years later under Luhukay's successor, Markus Weinzierl, when they outpaced Ruhr giants Borussia Dortmund and FC Schalke 04 to finish the season in a remarkable fifth place and book themselves a maiden European adventure the following season. Thousands of Augsburg fans gathered in the city centre to celebrate the unlikeliest of Bundesliga success stories - many of them having braced themselves for a relegation scrap that season, not the draw for the UEFA Europa League which eventually saw FCA knocked out by Liverpool FC 1-0 on aggregate.

Run on a budget of about €20 million per season and unable to step out of the shadow cast by near-neighbours Bayern München, FC Augsburg may be a small club when compared to many in the division, but it's one that punches big and Die Fuggerstädter are out to prove that they are more than just the Bundesliga's 'other' Bavarian club. 

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 GROUND DETAILS 

Ground Name: WWK ARENA
Architect: Bernhard & Kögl

Construction Costs: €45m
Built: 2007 - 2009

Year Opened: 2009
Renovations: 2017

Capacity: 30,660 (11,034 standing)
Executive Boxes: 48
Executive Box Seats: 520
Media Seats: 99
Wheelchair Spaces: 51

Undersoil Heating: Yes

Running Track: No
LED Video Screens: 31m² x 2

Playing Surface: Hybrid Grass

Pitch Size: 105m x 68m

Website: www.wwkarena.com

Grounds:
Rosenaustadion (1969-2009)
Impuls Arena (2009 - 2011)
SGL Arena (2011 - 2015) *
WWK ARENA (2015 - ) *

* Stadium Renamed

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Built to replace the historic Rosenaustadion which had been FC Augsburg's home since 1969; on the surface at least, the WWK ARENA looks as though it wouldn't win any points for originality - just another of the single-tiered enclosed designs that are making new-build stadiums look worryingly similar. This however is a book that shouldn't be judged purely by its cover.

In 2000, realising that the Rosenaustadion wasn't going to be able to cope with Augsburg's rise up the leagues, club president Walther Seinsch commissioned local architects Bernhard & Kögl to design a new stadium. The original idea was to demolish the Rosenaustadion and build a new venue on the site but with planning permission knocked back, Augsburg were forced into a rethink. Eventually, land next to the B17 motorway between the districts of Göggingen and Universitätsviertel south of the city was found and work on the Augsburg Arena (as it was referred to during the design and construction phase) began on 5th November 2007. The €45 million project (the cost split between Seinsch, FCA, the state of Bavaria and the city of Augsburg) was completed in just 20 months and after financial management company Impuls Finanzmanagement AG were the first winners of the stadium naming rights auction, a 2-0 win for FCA over a Swabian XI marked the opening of the Impuls Arena on 26th July 2009.

The stadium was known as the SGL Arena between 2011-2015 before yet another name change saw it renamed the WWK ARENA in a lucrative sponsorship deal that runs until 2030. A pure football venue with no running track, the arena has a capacity of 30,660 and it's a single-tier, fully enclosed bowl with all the stands being of the same height and similar in appearance - save for the Haupttribüne (Main Stand) where you'll find the dressing rooms, dug-outs, players tunnel, press area and the obligatory number of VIP boxes. The Tribüne Süd  (Blocks X,Y,Z and A) is an all-seater affair, as is the Gegengerade (Blocks R-V) which has the letters 'FCA ' spelt out in white against an otherwise red bank of seating. A roof runs all the way around the stadium but, to save costs, it isn't fully cantilevered and the supporting pillars at the back of each stand may hinder your view of the action (book seats lower than row 30 to avoid this).

Augsburg's home end is the fully terraced 8,500 capacity Ulrich Biesinger Tribüne at the north end of the stadium which was named in 2018 after the former FC Augsburg forward and member of West Germany's 1954 World Cup winning squad (say it quietly, but 'Uli' didn't actually get any minutes under his belt during the
 tournament). The central area of this stand (Block M) is the designated FCA fan block, so consider spending the extra money to sit in the stands if it's a more 'neutral' afternoon that you're after. Up to 3,000 away fans (2,200 standing, 800 seats) make themselves heard in the south-east corner (Blocks W-X), while the family zone is located in the north-west corner (Blocks I-J) of the ground. The hybrid grass pitch laid in 2016 is eight metres below ground level and the front rows of the stands are slightly above the field which can create some unusual sightlines, although the view of the action is generally good from all around the stadium. At either end of the ground, a couple of LED screens are suspended from the roof and after every FCA goal, a video clip showing the board being hung with the new score is played in honour of Josef Wagner who operated the manual scoreboard at the venerable Rosenaustadion for over 30 years before his death in 2014.

Although the stadium looks a little bland on the inside, from the outside it looks great. The main façade, behind which the extensive facilities of the Haupttribüne are hidden, is located on the west side. On the other sides, the stands are surrounded by a mesh made from aluminium anodised tubes with a diameter of 20 cm which encase the arena like a cocoon on several levels from an approximate height of ten feet. The layout of the tubes is slightly disrupted with many of them placed at an angle to create an interesting, seemingly chaotic three-dimensional pattern and 135 translucent plastic tubes fitted with LED light strips are woven into the façade to create an impressive illumination at night when the stadium is bathed in the club colours of red, green and white (green after a home victory).

To allow for possible expansion in the future, the stadium was designed in a modular format and it would be a relatively straightforward and cost-effective process (estimates suggest €20 million) to increase the capacity to 49,000.

With the highest average spectator attendance of any league in the world, the German Bundesliga and its clubs are well placed to leverage their emotional connection to fans in order to drive awareness of environmental issues and encourage behaviour change. To that end, Augsburg position themselves as a champion of environmental sustainability and claim the WWK ARENA as the first climate-neutral football stadium in the world. A complex system of underground heat pumps (40 metres deep) are used to harness geothermal energy and provide the stadium with its power - saving 750 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions per year. In addition, a bio natural gas boiler also provides additional energy at peak times during a match. For its green initiatives, the stadium was awarded the KUMAS Environmental Award in 2010 and named one of the 365 venues on the 'DeutschlandLand der Ideen ' (Germany - Land of Ideas) list in 2011.


Augsburg's most famous player without doubt is homegrown hero and 1966 World Cup final scorer Helmut Haller, and his iconic status at the club saw fans raise €25,000 to have a bronze statue of 'Der Blonde Engel ' (the Blond Angel) unveiled outside the north-east corner of the WWK ARENA in 2015. Also near the north-west corner, a so-called 'function' building houses the club pub and fan shop.

In addition to being home to FCA, the stadium hosted the German Super Cup between FC Bayern München and FC Schalke 04 in 2010 and four matches were played here during the Women's 2011 World Cup. On May 29, 2016, Die Nationalelf (German national team) played their first match here in a 1-3 defeat against Slovakia - remembered for a 38-minute delay as the heavens over Augsburg opened up and nearly led to the match being abandoned.

The technical aspects of Augsburg's home aside, the steep stands keep fans close to the action and help generate the electric atmospheres that Augsburg fans are famous for and, following a UEFA Europa League clash with Liverpool FC in 2016, the Frankfurt Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper even went as far as dubbing the stadium "The Anfield of the B17 highway ".

 BUYING TICKETS 

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Average Attendance:
2021-2022: 15,141 (Bundesliga) *
2020-2021: N/A *
2019-2020: 20,266 (Bundesliga) *
2018-2019: 28,615 (Bundesliga)
2017-2018: 28,238 (Bundesliga)
* Season affected by COVID pandemic

Expected Ticket Availability

Die Fuggerstädter  tend to sell-out only about 4, maybe 5, matches a season and so - apart from games against the Bundesliga's big hitters - if you jump in early, getting hold of a ticket for an afternoon of football at the WWK ARENA generally won't be an issue. 

You can have your tickets provided as E-Tickets (Print@Home or Mobile Ticket) through the club's online ticket shop or have a 'physical' match ticket sent to you via Deutsche Post. If you arrange to collect your tickets on a matchday, there can be quite a queue at the collection points outside the ground so don't leave things too close to kick-off and remember to bring proof of purchase and some ID. 

Tickets can also be bought by calling the hotline (
+49 (0) 180 3019070 - 0.09 €/min from the German landline, max. 0.42 €/min from the German mobile network), from the box office outside the ground which opens 2.5 hours before kick-off; or from the
FCA 1907 Store (Bahnhofstraße 7, 86150) in the centre of Augsburg. There are also a number of other Vorverkaufsstellen (advance sales outlets) in the region and the club provide a list of them here.

Augsburg adopt a simple AB approach to categorising matches with adults generally paying anything between €25-45 for a seat in the stands and €14 to watch the action from the Ulrich Biesinger Tribüne (Blocks K,L,M,N,O). Prices jump by €2-4 when FC Bayern München, Borussia Dortmund, VfB Stuttgart and FC Schalke 04 come to town.

Discounts are available for children, students, seniors, disabled persons, unemployed people etc. Free 'Lap Tickets' are also available for fans aged 5 and under, although these don't entitle the child to a seat of their own however and, as the name suggests, they must sit on their parent's lap throughout the game. Expect to pay an extra €1-2 if you want to keep things traditional and buy your ticket on a matchday at the stadium. 

Information about visiting the WWK ARENA for fans with disabilities can be found at:
www.bundesliga-reisefuehrer.de 


PLEASE NOTE: All information in this section is subject to change due to COVID regulations. Please refer to the club website for the latest ticket information.

 GETTING THERE & AWAY 

Stadium Address:

Bürgermeister Ulrich Straße 90

86199 Augsburg 

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BY CAR:
As its 'Anfield of the B17' nickname suggests, the stadium sits right next to the busy B17 motorway which connects to the A8 (Munich-Stuttgart) autobahn further north; and it makes getting here by car as easy as it can be. Just come off the B17 at the 'WWK ARENA' junction and follow the signs to the stadium.

Parking at the arena itself however is more of a challenge with many of the 3,500 available spaces given over to permit holders. If you arrive early enough though, you should be able to snare a spot in either the P1 or P4 car parks which cost €10 per vehicle. Further afield, additional spaces are available at the 'Messe Augsburg' for €6 which includes a free shuttle bus to and from the stadium. 350 spaces are also available for €10 in car parks P1 and P6 on matchdays at the nearby Fujitsu factory (Bürgermeister Ulrich Straße 100, 86199 Augsburg ) - but note that access to these are only possible via Unterer Talweg.

PUBLIC TRANSPORT:

Match ticket holders can use public transport anywhere within zones 10 and 20 of the Augsburger-Verkehrsvgesellschaft (AVG) transport area free of charge for three hours either side of the game. Match tickets are not valid for use on the trains and buses of the Augsburger Verkehrsbund (AVV) transport network though ! Starting two hours before kick-off, Tram 8 is a matchday service that runs every five minutes from the Hauptbahnhof or Königsplatz stops in the city centre and it deposits fans 20 minutes later at the conveniently named 'Fußball-Arena' stop. From here, it's just a case of following everyone else on the 10-minute walk to the turnstiles. For a couple of hours after the match, trams run at 2-3 minute intervals to ferry everyone back to the city centre - although Augsburg have people checking the post-match demand and will run the service for as long as necessary.

On non-matchdays, jump on Tram 3 (Direction: Inniger Straße) and get off at either the 'Landesamt für Umweltschutz' or 'Siemens II' stops from where it's a 10-15 minute walk to the arena.
 

WALKING DIRECTIONS:
The stadium is about four miles from the centre of Augsburg and with nothing but policy-driven science and technology parks to see along the way, you're better off staying in Augsburg's attractive centre of spires and cobbles and getting to the match by tram instead. If you do want to stretch the legs though, then you'll need at least 90 minutes to cover the route which Google Maps will be able to plan for you.

BIKE:
If you're using pedal-power, there are plenty of bike stands behind the 
Ulrich Biesinger Tribüne at the north end of the stadium.

 FAN SHOP, MUSEUM & STADIUM TOURS 

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FAN SHOP:
- Fanshop am Stadion
(WWK ARENA, Bürgermeister Ulrich Straße 90, 86199 Augsburg; 9:30am-6pm, Mon; 9:30am-3:30pm, Thu-Fri; open on matchdays 3.5 hours before kick-off until one hour after full-time).

There's also a conveniently located store in the centre of Augsburg to save you trekking out to the WWK ARENA at:


- FCA 1907 Store
(Bahnhofstraße 7, 86150 Augsburg;10am-6:30pm, Mon-Fri; 9am-4pm, Sat; tel: +49 (0) 821 5080337; email: augsburg@11teamsports.de)

A mobile fan shop also sets up between Blocks P-S on a matchday. 


STADIUM TOURS:
After a COVID-enforced shutdown, Augsburg are slowly opening up the WWK ARENA again and have just announced the 'Event Ticket Matchday Tour' tour that takes you behind the scenes on a match day. The two-hour tour costs an eye-watering €49 per person ... on top of the price of your match ticket ... but, hey, at least it includes a drink and a snack ! The guided tour takes you to the dressing rooms, lets you have a closer look at the pitch, sit in Enrico Maaßen's seat in the dug-out and, as a special tour highlight, spend a few minutes meeting an Augsburg player or official.

On non-matchdays, 60-90 minute group tours are also offered and take in all the usual sights within a football stadium - dressing rooms, mixed zone, players' tunnel, dug-outs etc. The price for this tour is a more reasonable €5 per person. There isn't a schedule as such but to arrange a tour, send an email (fuehrungen@fcaugsburg.de) to the club and explain what you're after.

More information about the tours and what to expect can be found here.

 FOOD & DRINK OPTIONS 

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With the WWK ARENA's location next to the B17 motorway - farmland on one side and a Science/Technology park on the other - places offering up pre-match food and drinks are a bit thin on the ground. Kiosks serve up the usual over-processed fast food, but apart from the 'Fan Pub' at the north-east corner of the ground which opens three hours before kick-off, you're probably better off having your fill in the bars and restaurants of Augsburg's historic centre before making your way out to the stadium.

It's worth noting that the WWK ARENA is a cashless venue, and you can only pay for your half-litre of Reigele and stadium sausage by either downloading the FCA App and linking it to your bank account (!) or loading money (inc a €2 deposit) onto an FCA Card - Augsburg's version of the stadium card scheme.

OTHER CLUBS IN THE AREA

BUNDESLIGA: FC Bayern München
 

BUNDESLIGA 2: 1.FC Nürnberg, SpVgg Greuther Fürth, SSV Jahn Regensburg
 

3.LIGA: FC Ingolstadt 04, SpVgg Bayreuth, TSV 1860 München