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MARCH 2024

Founded: Nov 29, 1912
Club Members: 2,010
Nickname: SVM
Coach: Adrian Alipour
Captain: Jonas Fedl

Regionalliga Nord: 1
Landespokal Niedersachsen Winner: 2


Founded by high school students as Amisia Meppen (Amisia is the Latin name for the River Ems) on 29th November 1912, this small club from Lower Saxony certainly had its priorities 'right' from the very start. On the 8th February 1920, Amisia Meppen merged with local side MTV Meppen and a paramilitary youth group called Jungdeutschland Meppen to form TS Meppen 1912. The club's footballers weren't happy however and on 13th April 1922, their opposition to the union led to them forming their own club called Sport Verein Meppen 1912.e.V.

With their autonomy secured, the nascent club spent their early years playing in local amateur leagues and success of any sort was a long time in coming. In fact, it wasn't until 1957 that they claimed their first honours by winning the Berzirksliga Emsland title and, with it, promotion to the Amateurliga Niedersachsen division. A second title followed in 1961 when they outpaced TuS Lingen by a single point to the Amateurliga Niedersachsen title thanks largely to the goals of Gerd Sand who also helped himself to six goals in an 11-0 win over TuS Heidkrug in the subsequent promotion play-off. Sand's goals also helped Meppen establish themselves as a solid performer in the AmatuerOberliga Neidersachsen (then the highest division in local Saxony football). After progress had stalled, former German Amatuer international Hermann Michel was appointed coach and his debut campaign saw him guide Meppen to another AmatuerOberliga Neidersachsen title in 1961 although transferring success to the promotion play-offs was a greater challenge as the club missed out on a maiden berth in the Regionalliga Nord after losing out to TuS Celle. 

The disappointment didnt last long however and a league restructure in 1970 meant that a second-place finish was enough to secure a place in that season's play-off match. A 5-1 win over Polizei SV Bremen was enough to earn a second-place finish and their berth in the third tier Oberliga Nord. The additional play-off meant that Meppen had precious little time to prepare for the following season and with their rivals stealing a march on them, the stay was a brief one and a 1-9 defeat at HSV Barmbeck-Urlenhorst was the lowpoint of a despondent season that saw them finish rock bottom of the table with only 17 points. Another promotion immediately followed when ASV Bergedorf 85 were beaten 4-0 in front of 10,000 fans at the Hindenburgstadion with the legendary Gerd Sand signing off his career. Helped by the investment of eccentric textile manufacturer Hubert Niebuhr, the transistion to the Regionalliga was handled better this time and Meppen were able to establish themselves as mid-table performers. Another league restructure at the end of the 1973-74 season however saw the club miss out on the newly created Bundesliga.2 and the SVM were given a berth instead in the third-tier Amatuer Oberliga Nord. Niebuhr resigned in November 1973 and his successor Wolfgang Gersmann found financial problems. That summer however, Meppen welcomed Dutch champions (??) Ajax Amsterdam to Endsland for a friendly and a full house of 17,500 saw the likes of Johann Cruyff and Johan Neeskens turn out.

A third-place finish at the end of the 1974-75 campaign, although not enough to earn a place in bundesliga.2, was enough to see the club qualify for the German Amatuer Championship for the first time in their history, and they enjoyed a run all the way to the round of 16 until Itzehoer SV were thrown in their path. By this time however, dark clouds were gathering as Hubert Niebuhr left the club with a mountain of debt that was threatening to swallow the club up. Relegation to the Landesliga Niedersachsen was not unexpected when it finally came at the end of the 1977-78 season.


When SVM was relegated to the Landesliga in 1978, it seemed to be the end of higher-class ambitions. But it was precisely this stroke of fate that marked the starting point for the "Miracle of Meppen". Under coach Hans-Dieter Schmidt, a team was formed from the club's own junior team, which managed immediate promotion and then refused to relinquish its usual role of the "Grey Mouse". Instead, the renowned competition for Holstein Kiel, Arminia Hannover and Göttingen 05 was stirred up. Nevertheless, coach Schmidt had the laughs on his side when he spoke of "2nd Bundesliga" and called for "professionalisation". Only one person believed him: manager van Zoest. Together, the two set the course. In the early 1980s, with centre-forward Gerd Gerdes, Josef Menke, Wolfgang Rolfes and goalkeeper Hermann Rüländer, four designated top performers arrived, with whom the team around libero Hubert Hüring played their way into the hearts of the Emsland public.

After Martin van der Pütten, Dietmar Sulman, Robert Thoben and Werner Rusche had come from the region and the long-time youth coach Rainer Persike had replaced coach Schmidt, the second division visions became reality. In 1986/87, SVM were unstoppable, beating Arminia Hannover in the title race and achieving their goal with a 4-2 promotion round win in Erkenschwick. "A dream came true," wrote the "Meppener Tagespost" after the transfer to the 2nd Bundesliga: "The Emsland has probably never experienced such enthusiasm."

The whole of Germany was astonished by the cheeky provincial club. 19 of the 22 players were genuine Emslanders - nowhere else was there such an intimate connection between club and region. And Meppen's fans reminded us of today's Mainz audience. "I'm thrilled with the mentality of the spectators, who didn't insult us or boo us. A great atmosphere," enthused Jürgen Sundermann, coach of promotion round opponents Hertha BSC Berlin. At that time, a Kolping band from the neighbouring Dutch municipality of Emmen became very famous.

The special atmosphere also carried the SVM through the Stahlbad 2nd League. Nobody believed that the club would be able to stay in the league - in the end they finished in 14th place. And so it went on. After the gnarled Saarlander Horst Ehrmanntraut replaced Rainer Persike in 1990, SVM even stormed towards the Bundesliga. "Keep August 3, 1991 in good memory. This is a memorable day for SV Meppen," said manager van Zoest after the 1-0 win over Fortuna Cologne, with which SVM took the lead in the 2nd division for the first time.

But the end of the "Miracle of Meppen" was near. In 1991/92, the team, which had been in a promotion position for months, ran out of steam in the final spurt and Meppen's Bundesliga dream was shattered. It was even more tragic in 1994/95, when the team led by striker Rainer Rauffmann was comfortably at the top until a few weeks before the end of the season - and in the end only finished sixth.

The idyll of Meppen had long since been tarnished. The club management was criticized because they had invested in the stadium rather than in the team, coach Ehrmanntraut had to leave in 1997, when only one year after the near-promotion the relegation to League 3 was threatened, and in 1998 it was suddenly over, it went back to the amateur camp.

After two insolvencies, the Blue and Whites then fell to the fifth tier and suddenly became a "giant" in the circle of competitors such as Drochtersen-Assel and Heeslingen. In 2011, at least the club managed to return to the regional league, and Meppen is now hoping for a renaissance of the SVM.

before finally making the jump into the professional game by winning promotion to Bundesliga.2 in 1987.

Despite having a dwarfish budget compared to the other teams in the division, Meppen overcame the odds and established themselves with a number of strong campaigns including a 6th place finish in 1995.  Incredibly they reached the quarter-finals of the 1997 DFB-Pokal on a memorable run that included a scarcely believable 6-1 thumping of Eintracht Frankfurt. By this point, the club's standing was such that even when they ran out of gas and were relegated in 1998, many people expected Meppen to bounce straight back up. Some grim days lay ahead for SVM however and they began a slide down the leagues ending up in the 5th tier amateur Niedersachsenliga division as recently as 2011.

After regaining their football composure, Meppen rose back up the pyramid and, in 2017, they overcame the challenge of SV Waldhof Mannheim in a play-off to secure promotion to the 3.Liga. Unfortunately, after enjoying an unbroken six year spell in professional football they were relegated back to the Regionalliga in 2023.



Ground Name: Hänsch Arena

Year Opened: 1924
Renovations: 1962, 1969, 1985, 1993, 1996, 2017, 2018, 2021

Capacity: 13,241 (9,331 standing)
Record Attendance: 18,000 (1982)
Wheelchair Spaces: 25

Undersoil Heating: Yes

Running Track: No
Floodlights: 750 lux
LED Video Screen: 24m²

Playing Surface: Natural Grass


Schülerwiese (1922 - 1924)
Meppener Sportplatz (1924 - 1927)

Hindenburgstadion (1927 - 1992) *
Emslandtsadion (1992 - 2005) *
Vivaris Arena Emsland (2005 - 2011) *
MEP Arena (2011 - 2013) *
Hänsch Arena (2014 - ) *

* Stadium Renamed

The Hänsch Arena has been a sports ground since the 1920s and has undergone a number of modernisations over the last century.


It’s biggest claim to fame is hosting the first ever appearance on European soil of Diego Maradona after he had joined Barcelona in 1982 and took part in a pre-season friendly against Meppen. Nine years previously Johan Cruyff and his Ajax team had appeared in a similar fixture. So that’s two of the best players ever to pull on a pair of boots who have turned out at the Hänsch Arena.


When SV Meppen were unexpectedly promoted to the Bundesliga.2 in 1987, the ground underwent an extensive programme of renovation, including the removal of the running track.


The ground is now one with plenty of character and a little bit mismatched, very similar to the grounds of SV Sandhausen and TSV 1860 München. The 3,100 seater, pitch-roofed, two-tiered KIKXXL Tribüne built in 1993 is a focal part of the ground with seating at the back and a terraced paddock for up to 1,400 fans at the front. The Augustin Tribüne opposite acts as the main stand  which is where you'll find the dressing rooms, press facilities, dugouts and club offices. The remainder of the ground is all-standing leading to the generation of an excellent atmosphere.


Ticket Office:
Telephone: +49 (0) 593 193010


Average Attendance:
2022-2023: 7,629 (3.Liga)
2021-2022: 6,208 (3.Liga) *
2020-2021: N/A *

2019-2020: 5,282 (3.Liga) *
2018-2019: 7,638 (3.Liga)
* 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. Through the club's ticketing partner 'Reservix' you can have your tickets sent to your smartphone or made available as a standard Print@Home option. Actual match tickets can also be bought at the box offices which open up 90 minutes before kick-off or from any of the sales outlets Meppen list on their website here.

SV Meppen's matches very rarely sell out and so apart from possible plum ties against Bundesliga opposition in the DFB-Pokal, getting hold of a ticket for anywhere in the ground on any matchday generally isn't an issue.

Roughly speaking, and not including the €2 online service charge, full paying adult tickets range from €19 - €24 for seats, and it's €10.00 for a place on the terraces. Discounts for seniors, students, disabled people etc are available and children (aged 6 and under) are welcomed in free of charge but this doesn't entitle them to a seat of their own.


Stadium Address:

Lathener Straße 15A

49716 Meppen

If you're coming in your car, the simplest advice is to put the stadium address (see left) in your Sat-Nav and follow it's guidance. Note though that Jahnstraße is closed to traffic (and pedestrians !) a couple of hours before kick-off. Information about parking options can be found on Meppen's website here.


The stadium is in a residential area about a mile from the centre of Meppen and is an easy 20-minute walk. From the rail station, head along Bahnhofstraße and bear right onto Isaak Visser Weg. Go through the subway under the rail tracks and then turn left onto Köningstraße. Follow this road as it bears right and becomes Herzog Arenberg Straße. At the next junction, turn left to stay on Herzog Arenberg Straße and continue onto Lathener Straße. After quarter of mile turn right on Am Stadion and the ground is on your right. Alternatively, Google Maps will help you plan a route.



It seems that Meppen can no longer justify the cost the running the fan shop which was open at the Hänsch Arena, and they've taken the decision to sell all their merchandise online here.

There may be a 'pop-up' shop on a matchday - let us know if you've been to Meppen recently !


Many fans take advantage of the wider choice of options available in the centre of Meppen or even Münster before making their way to the Hänsch Arena. There are however food and drink outlets in and around the stadium offering the usual German football fayre of beer, chips, rostbratwurst etc and you can pay for everything with cash.


BUNDESLIGA: SV Werder Bremen

BUNDESLIGA 2: VfL Osnabrück

3.LIGA: SC Verl, DSC
 Arminia Bielefeld, Preußen Münster

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