Founded: Oct 16, 1952
Club Members: 11,126
Coach: Christian Eichner
Captain: Jérôme Gondorf
German Champions: 1
Bundesliga.2 Champions: 3
3.Liga Champions: 1
Regionalliga Süd: 2
Oberliga Süd: 3
Landespokal Baden: 3
UEFA Intertoto Cup: 1
In the late 19th-century, Germany was dominated by the Prussian ideals of discipline and order; and football was initially viewed with disdain as players were branded 'Traitors to the Fatherland'. By the 1890s however, interest in the new English sport was beginning to gain traction and after Berlin, Bremen and Hamburg had been established as 'islands of football' in the north of the country, the game's growing popularity spread to the south-west region of Baden. The person almost solely responsible for this was a 15-year-old student called Walther Bensemann who arrived in the radial city of Karlsruhe in 1888 with a leather ball under his arm and a will to proselytize Germany after being shown the game by British classmates at boarding school in Switzerland. He was an active missionary. Within a year he'd formed the first football club in southern Germany - the International Football Club - and was later instrumental in the formation of Eintracht Frankfurt before going on to establish what would become Germany's most popular football magazine - 'kicker ' (never spelt with a capital letter !). Born a year before fellow pioneers August Hermann and Konrad Koch introduced the game in Braunschweig, the young Bensemann may not have been the first to get the ball rolling in Germany but he brought a new dynamic to football development after seeing its potential to unite and inspire. In 1891, FV Karlsruhe (who had merged with Bensemann's International Football Club) were the first to pick up the gauntlet he'd thrown down, followed on 6th June 1894 by members of a gymnastics club (Karlsruher Turngemeinde) who, having grown frustrated by the lack of enthusiasm at the turn of the century towards football, decided to strike out on their own and form Karlsruher Fußball Club Phönix - the precursor of today's Karlsruher SC.
It didn't take long for the footballing gymnasts to find their feet and after becoming one of the 86 founder members of the DFB (German FA) on 28th January 1900, Phönix won successive Südkriesliga titles in 1901, 1902, 1903, 1904 and 1905 before transferring that dominance to the national stage by becoming Deutsche Fußballmeisterschaft in 1909 - beating defending champions Viktoria 89 Berlin 4-2 in the final. Three more Südkriesliga titles followed before the club joined forces in 1912 with local side KFC Alemannia to form KFC Phönix. In 1914 however, football, and by proxy the club, was brought to a shuddering halt by the advent of war and with many of Phönix's members serving in the armed forces, four of their 1912 title-winning side tragically lost their lives in the conflict. Like many clubs at the time, Phönix found restoring past glories and rebuilding a team ripped apart by war difficult and played as a largely uncompetitive side throughout the inter-war years although, in a throwback to more successful times, the Südkriesliga title was brought back to Karlsruhe in 1922.
After the Nazi rise to power, football was restructured in Germany with the creation of the Gauliga in 1933 which funnelled clubs into 16 (later to become 18 following the Austrian Anschluß in 1938) regional divisions and Phönix played in the Gauliga Baden, with a second-place finish in 1935 being their high-water mark under the Third Reich. As Hitler's megalomania turned the second world war against Germany however; player shortages, travel problems and damage to grounds from Allied bombing raids meant that fulfilling fixtures became increasingly difficult and many clubs folded. As football in Germany struggled to get its breath back after the conflict, in order to ensure survival, mergers were completed between clubs over the next few years including the one that saw Phönix and VfB Mühlburg agree to join forces on 16th October 1952 and form Karlsruher Sport-Club Mühlburg Phönix (KSC). It wasn't too long before the union brought dividends as the combined side lifted quickfire DFB-Pokal trophies in 1955 and 1956 before a hat-trick of Oberliga Süd titles in 1956, 1958 and 1960 were added to the trophy cabinet.
After failing to follow up the 'Miracle of Bern' World Cup triumph of 1954, the DFB replaced the regional Oberliga competitions with a pan-German professional league and KSC's consistently strong performances up to this date made them automatic choices to become one of the sixteen clubs that formed the new Bundesliga in 1963. They spent five-years in the top-flight as an unspectacular mid-table side before performances dropped away and they were relegated to Bundesliga.2 Süd in 1968 after a despondent campaign that saw them finish bottom of the pile. The Karlsruhers regrouped and by the time the 1975-76 season kicked-off, they were trading punches amongst Germany's elite again. Once again though, the stay was a brief one and the 'Elevator Club' then spent the next decade bouncing between the top two divisions as a quick revolving-door 'policy' saw no fewer than 9 managers hired and fired in as many years before the appointment of a coach who would come to define a seemingly unrepeatable era of success at the Baden-Württemberg club.
Winfried Schäfer brought an immediate upturn in the club's on-field fortunes and after guiding them to promotion in his debut campaign, propelled KSC from mid-table also rans to a side that began challenging for European competition. An unbroken eleven-year spell in the Bundesliga included sixth place finishes in 1993, 1994 and 1997. The club also marked their 'centenary year' with a fine run in the 1993-94 UEFA Cup as PSV Eindhoven, CF Valencia, Girondins Bordeaux and Boavista were bundled out of the competition before Austria Salzburg - the club that now goes by the contemporary and controversial name of Red Bull Salzburg - prevailed in the semi-final on the away goal rule courtesy of a 1-1 draw at the Wildparkstadion. KSC came close to winning their third DFB-Pokal in 1996 (losing to rising force 1.FC Kaiserslautern 1-0 in the final) but the future still looked bright for the club as they won European honours for the first time, beating Standard Liège on aggregate to lift the UEFA Intertoto Cup later that summer.
By the end of the decade however, things had started to go wrong. Weakened by the departures of Mehmet Scholl, Oliver Kahn, Jens Nowotny, Thorsten Fink and Michael Tarnat, KSC not only crashed into Bundesliga.2 but carried on into the third-tier Regionalliga Süd as overextension and mismanagement saw debts threaten to swallow the club up. Roland Schmider, who'd been the club's president for 26 years, found himself in the crossfire of criticism and was forced to resign; with his successor, Gerhard Seiler, having to draw on his contacts as mayor of Karlsruhe to walk the club back from the cliff edge. Securing the club's financial future coincided with an upturn in fortunes and with future 'Nationalelf ' coach Joachim Löw at the helm, KSC clinched the Regionalliga Süd title in 2001 and returned to the second tier.
After several seasons of middle-order ranking, KSC secured a berth in the Bundesliga in 2007 after a tour-de-force campaign that saw them become the first, and so far only, team to occupy top spot throughout an entire Bundesliga.2 season. Once again though, the stay was a brief one and relegation brought considerable financial implications as players signed on top-flight wages became a burden to a club operating on a second-tier income. With the club once again on the verge of bankruptcy, struggles off the pitch mirrored those on it as KSC took another tumble down the leagues before a gradual recovery saw them return to Bundesliga.2 when a 4-1 victory over Preußen Münster secured the 3.Liga title in 2019.
Ground Name: BBBank Wildpark
Architect: agn Niederberghaus (2018)
Year Opened: 1955
Renovations: 1957, 1968, 1978, 1986, 1993, 2018 - 2022
Capacity: 34,302 (12,325 standing)
Record Attendance: 83,000 (1956)
Executive Boxes: 24
Business Seats: 2,002
Wheelchair Spaces: 103
Construction Costs: €123m (2018)
Undersoil Heating: Yes
Running Track: No
Floodlights: 1600 lux
Playing Surface: Natural Grass
Pitch Size: 105m x 68m
Stadion Honsellstraße (1952 - 1955)
Wildparkstadion (1955 - 2021)
BBBank Wildpark (2021 - ) *
* Stadium Renamed
Built on the site of the aging Phönix Platz which had been home to predecessor club Karlsruher Fußball Club Phönix, the Wildparkstadion opened on 7th August 1955 with a 2-2 draw between KSC, who had just lifted their first DFB-Pokal, and newly crowned German champions Rot Weiß Essen. With a capacity of 50,000, it was one of the most modern stadiums in the country and changed very little over the next 20 years from its original design - an oval concrete bowl with no grandstands and a cinder running track around the pitch. A floodlight system was added in 1957 but it wasn't until Karlsruher were making regular visits to the Bundesliga that major development was carried out. In 1978, a 17,000 capacity covered stand was built along the back straight (Gegengerade) after an equivalent €1.1 million had been spent on new floodlights to comply with stadium regulations and make TV broadcasts of night matches possible. Further upgrades in 1986 saw the Wildparkstadion acquire one of the most modern electronic scoreboards in Europe.
At the beginning of the 1990s, the city council commissioned architects Thomas Großmann and Lucy Hillebrand to design a main stand at the municipal-owned stadium. The result was an impressive looking, all-seater, double-tiered affair with a sweeping cantilevered roof weighing nearly 1,200 tonnes. The roof wasn't the only thing that weighed heavy though with the construction bill having doubled to DM45 million and a council not best pleased with the mammoth overspend. The new grandstand opened for the visit of Borussia Dortmund on 6th May 1993 and Karlsruhe's mayor - Gerhard Seiler - put the financial issues aside to declare "Karlsruhe football now has a modern, comfortable facility that is architecturally and functionally above the average of the Bundesliga".
Despite expensive renovations over the years however, the Wildparkstadion was beginning to show its age and plans to completely redevelop the ground were drawn up around the turn of the millennium. Pitching the idea to a city council with its fingers still burning from the last time it got involved with a Wildparkstadion revamp however meant that on this occasion, funding was limited to renewing seating in both Kurves during the 2004-05 winter break. The spectre of rising stadium maintenance costs becoming a burden to local taxpayers however saw the council eventually relent and in 2006, the city of Karlsruhe and KSC announced a complete overhaul of the stadium which would see it converted into a football-only venue with a 35,000 capacity.
It wasn't long however before the council were regretting their decision when in August of that year KSC officials admitted at a press conference that they were unable to stump up their share of the cost. It also transpired that feasibility studies regarding redevelopment of the Wildparkstadion had actually been commissioned in 1996 and that the club still owed money to architects for work done. After protracted negotiations regarding funding, during which the council agreed to pick up the majority of the tab, approval was given for the stadium to be gradually demolished and rebuilt - all without disruption to KSC who would continue to play their home matches here. In 2007, to prepare for the work that lay ahead, the pitch was moved closer to the main stand, undersoil heating was installed for the first time and, nearly 40 years after the stadium had last hosted an athletics event, part of the running track was removed.
The project then became engulfed in disputes about finances before work on the €123 million project finally began on the 5th November 2018. In June 2021, keen to recoup some of its costs, the city council sold naming rights to the Wildparkstadion for the first time, and it will be known as the 'BBBank Wildpark' until 2026.
The 34,302 capacity stadium is a fully enclosed, single-tiered affair with all the stands being of the same height and similar in appearance - save for the Westtribüne (main stand) which, instead of welcoming football fans, is given over exclusively to the press and corporate hospitality guests who watch the action from two banks of exrcutive boxes at the back of the stand. The dugouts, dressing rooms and club offices are also found on this side. Karlsruher's home end is the Südtribüne terrace (Blocks S1-S5) and away followers are given a section of terracing at the north end of the stadium (Block NO - standing area / Block N4 - seating).
74 Y-shaped branched columns running along the outer perimeter gives the Wildpark its distinctive appearance and another row of reinforced concrete columns inside the stadium form a colonnade to support the roof structure.The surroundings of the stadium include training pitches and tennis courts, as well as car parking and bicycle parking spaces.
2022-2023: 18,840 (Bundesliga.2)
2021-2022: 11,591 (Bundesliga.2) ^*
2020-2021: N/A *
2019-2020: 9,288 (Bundesliga.2) ^*
2018-2019: 13,218 (3.Liga) ^
^ Reduced capacity due to stadium renovation
* Season affected by COVID pandemic
Expected Ticket Availability
The club website and online ticket shop are both in German only but fortunately for non-German speakers, Google Chrome’s translation feature makes booking tickets a very straightforward process.You can have your tickets sent by email to your smartphone in both Mobile Ticket and Print@Home variants. Keep an eye out for the blue 'Personalisierung ' button at the bottom left of the shopping cart which will let you add your name to the ticket for use on public transport.
For an extra €2, tickets are also available from the box offices outside the ground, with the surcharge used to help fund fan projects.
KSC rarely come close to selling out matches and so, unless they're settling Baden-Württemberg scores against the likes of VfB Stuttgart or SC Freiburg, you shouldn't have any worries getting hold of tickets
Despite increased operating costs now that the Wildpark's redevelopment is almost complete, ticket prices remain largely unchanged from last season and only the matches against Hamburger SV, FC Schalke 04 and Hertha BSC will carry a surcharge (20% standing, 30% seats). For the 2023-24 campaign therefore, it will cost full-payers €31-37 to sit in the Osttribüne, €26 in the Nordtribüne and €15 to watch the action from the Südtribüne terrace. Under-14s set their parents back €7-9 and concessions for registered disabled people were also available. Children under-6 are let in free of charge - you don't have to get an extra ticket for them but so-called 'Lap Children' aren't entitled to a seat of their own and, as the name suggests, they'll have to sit on someone's knee.
Family tickets (NW Familienblock) are also available with adults paying €31 and an additional €5 per child (under-14) after that.
Information about visiting the BBBank Wildpark for fans with disabilities can be found at:
GETTING THERE & AWAY
There are a number of different directions you can come so the simplest advice is to put the address in your Sat-Nav and follow its guidance before picking up signs for the stadium. Arriving by car is a bit of a nightmare however as the city centre is in the process of being dug up in order to run tramways underground - a €1.5 billion project called Kombilösung (Combined Solution) - so be prepared for traffic snarls and route diversions. At the Wildpark itself, there are 700 spaces at the Birkenparkplatz car park (Adenauerring 19, 76131 Karlsruhe) right across the street from the ground. The Adenauerring ring road is closed off to all traffic 90 minutes before the match between here and Theodor Heuss Allee though, so arrive early and don't be looking to get away quickly at full time either.
Karlsruhe's S-Bahn and Tram network doesn't run all the way to the BBBank Wildpark and the nearest stop is Durlacher Tor/KIT - a mile from the ground and a 20-25 minute walk along Adenauerring. If you fancy heading to the Wildpark through the Schlossgarten instead, then jump out at either Marktplatz or Kronenplatz - it's also a 20-25 minute stroll to the turnstiles from here.
If walking isn't your thing, a special bus service (free if you have a match ticket) runs from Durlacher Tor to the stadium starting 90 minutes before kick-off. The whole point of providing public transport though is to reduce congestion on the roads by encouraging people to leave their car at home. Unfortunately, it's a point seemingly lost on the Karlsruhe authorities who don't operate the shuttle service after matches ... because of heavy traffic around the ground !
Public transport is included in the cost of your match ticket anywhere within the Karlsruher Verkehrsverbund Transport Area (KVV) on the day of the match until 6am the following morning.
Getting to Karlsruher's ground is going to involve some walking anyway so why not save yourself the hassle of squeezing onto packed trams or shelling out for a taxi by strolling from the station towards the city centre and continuing to the stadium on foot?
From the Hauptbahnhof, follow the tram tracks north along Ettlinger Straße and Karl-Friedrich-Straße before crossing the grand neoclassical Marktplatz onto Platz d.Grundrechte towards Schloß Karlsruhe. Bear right across the Schlossplatz parterre and walk along Lärchenallee. There's a number of different paths you can take through the park at this point - in which case just follow the blue-shirted KSC fans making the same journey or the signs directing you to the ground. Otherwise, walk along Lärchenallee until you reach the junction with Adenauerring and the BBBank Wildpark will hove into view on your left. The whole walk from train station to turnstile should take about 45 minutes - longer if you break the journey for some pre-match pub grub in the city centre.
FAN SHOP, MUSEUM & STADIUM TOURS
Fanshop at BBBank Wildpark
(BBBank Wildpark, Adenauerring 17, 76131 Karlsruhe; 3pm-6pm, Mon-Tue; 11am-6pm, Wed-Fri; 11am-3pm, Sat except on matchdays when the shop opens 120 minutes before kick-off until 90 minutes after full-time; tel: +49 (0) 721 9643450)
Fanshop at Rondellplatz
(Karl-Friedrich-Straße 22, 76133 Karlsruhe; 11-6pm, Mon-Sat)
Unfortunately, while KSC put the final touches to the BBBank Wildlife Park, stadium tours are currently suspended. The good news however is that there are plans to run them again from September 2023 and so, with not long to wait until they resume, information about what to expect can be found here.
FOOD & DRINK OPTIONS
Many fans satisfy their hunger pangs and quench their thirst in the bars and restaurants of Karlsruhe but the usual fast food options (chips, bratwurst, popcorn, brezel etc) are sold around the stadium and settling the bill for your beer and bratwurst pairing is done using contactless payment (credit/debit card, Apple Pay, Google Pay etc). Back towards the city centre on Kapellenstraße, Vogelbräu is a popular meeting point for the KSC support and you can grab a bite to eat here if the beer sharpens your appetite.
OTHER CLUBS IN THE AREA
BUNDESLIGA: 1.FC Heidenheim 1846, SC Freiburg, TSG 1899 Hoffenheim, VfB Stuttgart
BUNDESLIGA 2: SV Elversberg
3.LIGA: SC Freiburg II, SSV Ulm, SV Sandhausen