SV WEHEN WIESBADEN
NEW GUIDE - OCTOBER 2023
Founded: Jan 1, 1926
Club Members: 657
Coach: Markus Kauczinski
Captain: Sascha Mockenhaupt
Oberliga Hessen: 1
Landespokal Hessen Winner: 7
The club's origins can be traced back to 1st January 1926 when a group of footballers led by Heinz Dilger gathered in the village of Taunusstein, a few miles north of Wiesbaden, to discuss forming their own club - SV Wehen 1926. The suffix 'Taunusstein' was soon added to make life easier for visiting teams and, after moving into the Stadion am Halberg in 1927, the nascent club spent their formative years in the local A-Klasse Wiesbaden championship. The make-up of the club at the time was typical of others - full of players and supporters from the socialist and communist milieu - but within weeks of their rise to power in 1933, the Nazis deemed several figures within the association to be "politically unreliable" and ordered SV to disband and form part of a more ideologically palatable club called TV 1874 Wehen.
A combination of Allied bombing and Red Army artillery around Berlin brought Hitler's 'Thousand Year Reich' to an end in 1945 and the introduction of a de-Nazification policy across occupied Germany saw all sports clubs forced to disband. As the country struggled to catch its breath after the conflict, a fan named Karl Bender, determined to see his team play competitive football again, reformed the club as SV Wehen on 20th March 1946 and they returned to action playing in local championships. After becoming B-Klasse Wiesbaden champions in 1957, the district league and cup double was won in 1960 before promotion to the A-Klasse Wiesbaden was clinched five years later on the back of a tour-de-force campaign that saw them score a record 117 goals and concede a miserly 15. With momentum building, they progressed to the fifth-tier Berzirklsliga in 1968 before performances eventually began to tail off and a despondent 1970-71 season saw them finish rock bottom of the table and return to the A-Klasse Wiesbaden.
The rest of the 1970s were spent as a mid-to-lower table side and it wasn't until water filter entrepreneur and life-long SVW fan Heinz Hankammer succeeded Helmut Kraft as club chairman in 1979 that fortunes started to turn around. Having formed the BRITA filter company in 1966, Hankammer used his considerable financial clout to sanction the signing of established players like ex-Kaiserslautern striker Bruno Hübner (who also doubled up as a sales manager for a time at BRITA) in an attempt to bring professional football to the Hessen club. Promotion back to the Bezirksliga was secured in 1983 and, as the heavy investment continued, the Landesliga Hessen title followed in 1989. A league restructure in 1994 then meant a seventh-place finish in the Oberliga Hessen was enough to secure a place in the new third-tier Regionalliga Sud and it wasn't long before the Hankammer era was being defined by consistently strong league campaigns and lucrative DFB-Pokal matches against the likes of 1.FC Kaiserslautern, Eintracht Frankfurt and Borussia Dortmund. They also found time to lift the Hessen-Pokal in 1988, 1996 and 2000. Even the heartbreak of narrowly missing out on promotion in 2005 and 2006 failed to knock them off course and a year later, this small village club finally made it big when they outpaced rising force TSG 1899 Hoffenheim to the 2006-07 Regionalliga Sud title and became a Bundesliga.2 club for the first time.
Despite the club's meteoric rise up the pyramid however, home matches were rarely played in front of more than a 1000 or so onlookers, and with the Stadion am Halberg's ramshackle and outdated facilities failing to meet the criteria needed for Bundesliga.2 stadiums, Hankammer saw the opportunity for a reboot. The "Abramovich from the Village" spent €14 million that summer building the BRITA-Arena in nearby Wiesbaden before restructuring the club by creating a new professional football department. He then addressed the impending move to the Hessian state capital by launching a rebrand that not only included a new logo, but also a new name - 'SV Wehen Wiesbaden'.
With traditional rivals SV Wiesbaden caught in a tailspin that had seen them relegated to the seventh-tier Landesliga Hessen Mitte amidst a financial crisis that threatened their very existence, the battle for local hearts and minds was soon won and, with average attendances now pushing 9,000, SVWW finished their debut Bundesliga.2 campaign in a very creditable 8th place. They even helped write the history books that year when striker Ronny Köning set a Bundesliga.2 record by netting a seven minute hat-trick against 1.FC Koln before teammate Benjamin Siegert followed up in the next match with the fastest goal in German professional football when he took just 8 seconds to open the scoring against SpVgg Greuther Fürth ! Despite the promising start however, fortunes began to drift and the club limped to relegation in 2009 despite being buoyed by a run to the DFB-Pokal quarter-finals for the first time that year.
Having succeeded his father as club president in November 2010, Markus Hankammer arrived at the helm keen for the club to become more sustainable and avoid getting caught in a self-perpetuating cycle of reliance on the Hankammer family and BRITA for funding (the club are one of the few in German football today that actually turn a profit each year). No longer able to call on their local bankroller and with big-money additions now out of the question, SVWW became an almost permanent fixture in the third-tier over the next decade as no fewer than 11 managers - among them Sandro Schwarz, Peter Vollmann and Christian Hock (three times !) - tried to win promotion on a budget. Rüdiger Rehm finally managed it in 2019 when he led SVWW back to Bundesliga.2 after negotiating a play-off against FC Ingolstadt but the stay was, once again, a brief one and a league double over VfB Stuttgart was the only highlight in a disappointing campaign that saw them join Dynamo Dresden in the drop zone. SVWW regrouped under new coach Markus Kauczinski however and ended a three year exile from Bundesliga.2 in 2023 when DSC Arminia Bielefeld were comprehensively dismantled 6-1 on aggregate in a promotion/relegation play-off.
Ground Name: BRITA-Arena
Architect: Albert Speer & Partner
Construction Costs: €14m
Year Opened: 2007
Renovations: 2019 - 2020
Capacity: 15,295 (5,800 standing)
Executive Boxes: 14
Executive Box Seats: 195
Wheelchair Spaces: 16
Undersoil Heating: Yes
Running Track: No
Floodlights: 1087 lux
LED Video Screen: Yes
Playing Surface: Natural Grass
Pitch Size: 105m x 68m
Stadion am Halberg (1927 - 2007)
BRITA-Arena (2007 - )
Mockingly referred to as a 'Tin Can' on account of its exterior metal cladding and 'The Swimming Pool' because of the blue branding of water filter giant and main club sponsor BRITA, it's fair to say that the BRITA-Arena has never enjoyed good press. Its modular structure, temporary tubular stands and the fact that it was pulled together in less than four months makes it all feel like a bit of a compromise rather than a 'dream-come-true'. It's a perception that hasn't really changed either from the day it opened and a recent fan survey ranked it dead last out of 66 selected German stadiums.
SVWW's promotion in 2007 brought with it the realisation that after 80 years, the Stadion am Halberg's days as the club's home were numbered - its modest 5,000 capacity and spartan facilities falling short of the DFL's (German Football League) criteria for Bundesliga.2 grounds. Keen to continue the march forward though, club chairman Heinz Hankammer commissioned architects with the ambitious aim of finding SVWW a new home in time for the new season. The original plan had been to bring the Halberg up-to-spec with a complete overhaul but when the club were forced into a rethink, the decision to appeal to a wider audience and move to Wiesbaden won out.
Few were initially open to the idea of SVWW relocating to the state capital and after having planning permission turned down by the Wiesbaden council, Hankammer even explored the possibility of building a stadium in nearby Mainz. Eventually though, an agreement was reached to use a derelict site adjacent to the 'Stadion an der Berliner Straße' (now known as the 'Helmut Schon Sportpark') near the city centre and work on the BRITA-Arena began on 6th June 2007.
With such a tight deadline in place, the BRITA-Arena was only ever intended as a stop-gap until a more permanent long-term home could be found and SVWW were initially given permission to use the site for five years. But with no sign of a new stadium being built in Wiesbaden anytime soon, a new long-term agreement was eventually reached with the city council in February 2018 that will see the club stay at the BRITA-Arena until at least 2047.
Thanks to its steel tubular construction, the stadium was ready in record time and just 112 days after work had started, a friendly against BVB Dortmund (1-2) on the 11th October 2007 marked its opening and, after playing their first four 'home' matches of the 2007-08 Bundesliga.2 campaign at the Commerzbank Arena in Frankfurt, SVWW took on local rivals 1.FSV Mainz (1-3) in the first league game in their new home on 21st October 2007.
With a capacity of 12,500, the ground coped easily with the demands put on it following Wiesbaden's promotion to professional football, but in 2019 the DFL announced a licensing change that required all Bundesliga.2 stadiums to have a minimum capacity of 15,000. SVWW hadn't had a full house in years and with the club having spent the best part of a decade in the third-tier after relegation in 2009, crowds had dwindled to an average 3,153 per game. Despite the paradox however, it was unlikely that SVWW would be given conditional approval for a smaller stadium and, in order to avoid scuppering a potential return to the second-tier, work began on expanding the BRITA-Arena.
In the spring of 2019, the old Westtribüne was dismantled and a new pre-fab concrete grandstand built in its place at a cost of €10 million (in 2007, the entire stadium had only cost €14 million). However, no sooner was it finished in March 2020, the DFL then decided to review the change it made a year earlier and declared that for clubs whose average attendance over the past decade had been below 7,500 per match (SVWW had averaged 4,000 over that time), the new minimum stadium capacity in Bundesliga.2 would be 12,500 - exactly what the BRITA-Arena had been able to offer before ! And not only was the work rendered redundant, the city council weren't best pleased with the amendment having committed €3.5 million of local taxpayers' money to the project.
With a design inspired by classic English grounds, it's a pure football venue with a current capacity of 15,295. It has three single-tiered covered tubular steel stands of roughly identical height but, to save costs, the roofs aren't cantilevered and their supporting pillars may hinder your view of the action. The all-seater Osttribüne can be regarded as the main stand and is distinguished by the letters 'SVWW' spelt out in white against an otherwise blue bank of seating and a row of executive boxes running part way along the back.
The new all-seater cantilevered Westtribüne opposite is the only permanent stand and the bold red of club colours contrasts with the cold concrete supports running through it. It's also a single-tiered affair but slightly larger than the other stands and floodlights have been mounted on five distinctive masts along its roof. The corners of the ground have been filled in with corrugated sheeting except for a block in the north-west corner that houses a police control box and the club fanshop. Three floodlight pylons and a video screen between the West and Süd Tribunes completes the look of the stadium.
Both stands behind the goals are fully terraced and away fans are welcomed on the Südtribüne (Blocks S15-S18). SVWW's most vocal support meanwhile gather on the NordTribüne (Blocks N5-N8).
2022-2023: 4,297 (3.LIga)
2021-2022: 2,287 (3.Liga) *
2020-2021: N/A *
2019-2020: 3,727 (Bundesliga.2) *
2018-2019: 3,153 (3.Liga)
* Season affected by COVID pandemic
Expected Ticket Availability
SVWW have done their best to generate some interest amongst the region's 21,000-strong American ex-pat community and have thoughtfully given their online ticket shop an English language version. Tickets bought online are delivered in MobileTicket or Print@Home formats. With a large American community in the area, the people of Hesse can speak a little English so you should also be able to secure a ticket by ringing the ticket hotline on +49 (0) 180 6991167
Tickets can also be bought at the club office during the week or on a matchday from the ticket offices around the ground which will open 90 minutes before kick-off.
Despite having one of the smallest grounds in the league, Wiesbaden have historically been a club with a small fanbase and even though the return in Bundesliga.2 will bring a few 'post promotion' fans through the gates, the gap between ticket supply and demand is likely to be healthy one. The only matches where there might be a bit of a scramble are likely to be the visits of Hamburger SV, Schalke 04 and possibly 1.FC Kaiserslautern. Keen to avoid having their ground taken over by thousands of away fans, Wiesbaden will strictly control sales for these matches and tickets are likely to be hoovered up by season ticket holders and club members. And even it it does make it to a Public/General Sale phase, it's likely this will be restricted to fans with a buying history.
Roughly speaking, full-payer tickets range from €20.50 - €40.50 for seats, and you can stand with the 'Halbergtramps' and 'Psychopathen Wehen 1999' on the terraces from €12.50. Tickets are €2 more expensive if bought from the stadium box offices on a matchday. Family tickets in the LAUER GmbH Osttribüne (Blocks O13 and O14) are also available for €9 per person up to a maximum of 2 adults and 5 children. There's usually a high demand for these so the club advise booking well in advance. Discounts are given to children (aged 6 - 14 years old), students, senior citizens, club members, the unemployed etc. Even younger fans (0 - 6 years old) can watch SVWW for free - although they're not entitled to a seat of their own and must instead sit on a parents' lap. Note that children under 14 years old aren't allowed in the stadium unless accompanied by an adult and for understandable reasons, children under 5 years old can't go in the Nordtribüne fanblock (Blocks N5, N6, N7, N8) - even with an adult in tow.
Information about visiting the BRITA-Arena for fans with disabilities can be found at:
GETTING THERE & AWAY
Berliner Straße 9
If you're coming by car, the simplest advice is to put the stadium address in your Sat-Nav and follow its guidance. Parking is available for €5 at P3 on Balthasar Neumann Straße; or at the Salzbachaue car park on Gartenfeldstraße next to the Hauptbahnhof about a 5-10 minute walk away (see 'Walking Directions' below)
Match tickets include the cost of 2nd class travel on a matchday anywhere within the Rhein-Main-Verkehrsverbund (RMV) transport area from five hours before kick-off until 3am the following morning. This includes travel from Darmstadt, Mainz, Offenbach and right from the centre of Frankfurt. Don't forget to personalise the RMV-Kombiticket though by adding your name to it during the booking process.
There isn't an easier stadium to reach in Germany than the BRITA-Arena. Come out of the Hauptbahnhof onto Gustav Stresemann Ring (B54), turn right and after a mostly uphill half-a-mile you'll find yourself at the ground. The walk should take you about 10-15 minutes.
FAN SHOP, MUSEUM & STADIUM TOURS
Fanshop at BRITA-Arena
(BRITA-Arena, Berliner Straße 9, 65189 Wiesbaden: open on matchdays 90 minutes before kick-off until 30 minutes after full-time).
FOOD & DRINK OPTIONS
With the city centre just a short wurst throw away, satisfy your hunger pangs and thirst there before heading to the ground. Recommended watering holes here include Murphy's Pub, Scotch n Soda, Irish Pub Wiesbaden and Litfaßsäule.
The usual fast food options are available inside the BRITA-Arena and everything can be paid for with contactless methods (credit/debit cards, Apple Pay, Google Pay etc).
OTHER CLUBS IN THE AREA
BUNDESLIGA: 1.FSV Mainz 05, Eintracht Frankfurt, SV Darmstadt 98
BUNDESLIGA 2: 1.FC Kaiserslautern, Karlsruher SC, SV Elversberg
3.LIGA: 1. FC Saarbrücken, SV Sandhausen, SV Waldhof Mannheim