VFL BOCHUM 1848
UPDATED FOR 2023-24 - AUGUST 2023
Founded: Jul 26, 1848
Club Members: 25,000
Nickname: Die Unabsteigbaren
Coach: Thomas Letsch
Captain: Anthony Losilla
Bundesliga.2 Champions: 4
Western German Cup: 1
VfL Bochum are one of the oldest sports associations in the world and their origins can be traced back to July 1848 when an article in the Märkischer Sprecher - a local newspaper - called for a gymnastics club to be created. This led to the formation of 'Turnverein zu Bochum' on 19th February 1849 before being forcibly dissolved and banned by the Prussian monarchy in December 1851. After being re-constituted in 1860, it wasn't until 1904 that the club returned to their 1848 roots when it was renamed 'Turnverein zu Bochum, gegründet 1848' and, as more and more gymnasts began jumping off their pommel horses to kick leather balls about instead, a football department was added to the association in January 1911. On 1st April 1919, the club then joined forces with 'Spiel und Sport 08 Bochum' to form 'Turn- und Sportverein Bochum 1848' before its members went their seperate ways after splitting into 'Bochumer Turnverein 1848' (gymnastics department) and 'Turn-und Sportverein Bochum 1908' (football, track and field, handball, hockey and tennis departments) five years later.
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) top-flight divisions and after winning the Bezirksliga Westfalen title in 1935, Turn-und Sportverein Bochum 1908 (TuS Bochum) joined the Gauliga Westfalen. The stay was a brief one however and they were relegated two years later.
In 1938, the NSDAP Mayor of Bochum, Otto Piclum, decided that in order to strengthen his own position within the Nazi party, he needed the city to have their own "Starken Großverein" (roughly translated as 'Big Strong Club') and challenge local rivals FC Schalke 04 - widely regarded as the best side in the whole Reich. The Nazis preferred to merge small clubs into larger ones as it was seen as a sign of great unity and easier for propaganda purposes; and so Bochumer Turnverein 1848 and Turn-und Sportverein Bochum 1908 were forced to join up with another local club, SV Germania 1906 Bochum, to form the current-day VfL Bochum on 14th April 1938. The “Bochumer Anzeiger” newspaper praised the formation of the new football club, saying that now “we have a worthy representative for our father-city”.
VfL Bochum began life in the top-flight Gauliga Westfalen having taken Germania's place in the league but as Hitler's meglomania turned the war against Germany, football in the country became increasingly difficult due to player shortages, travel problems and damage to pitches from Allied bombing raids. In order to survive, the club became part of a wartime side called 'Kriegsspielgemeinschaft VfL 1848/Preußen Bochum' alongside local outfit Preußen 07 Bochum and although they fielded competitive sides, they were unable to challenge FC Schalke 04 for Westfalen supremacy and a distant runners-up spot in 1939 marked the combined club's high-water mark in the Gauliga era.
After the war, the allied forces ordered that all sports clubs had to disband and start again from scratch as part of a post-war policy of de-Nazification in occupied Germany. VfL duly reformed as the independent VfL Bochum 1848 (Preußen 07 Bochum returned to play in the lower amateur levels) and emerged from the 'Stunde null ' (zero hour) in the second-tier 2.Oberliga West. They captured the division title in 1953 to advance to the top-flight Oberliga West for a single season cameo before returning in 1956 for another go. The transistion from second-tier champions to 1st division underdogs was handled a little better this time and VfL enjoyed a five year stint in the top-flight before another relegation in 1961 saw them tumble down to the third-tier Amatuerliga Westfalen.
After missing the cut for the new Bundesliga in 1963, Bochum, still in the Amatuerliga Westfalen, began a steady rise through the leagues and won promotion to the Regionallia West in 1965 after a drawn play-off match against SpVgg Erkenschwick was decided in their favour on the toss of a coin !
After making an appearance in the 1968 DFB-Pokal final, where 1.FC Köln denied them what would have been their greatest achievement to date with a 4-1 win, Bochum eventually reached the Bundesliga in 1971 and settled down as a perennial mid-to-lower table club. There, they established a reputation as a difficult, workman-like team to play against and their fighting spirit kept them in the top-flight for the next 22 seasons - earning them the nickname Die Unabsteigbaren (The 'Unrelegate-able' Ones). It also took them to another DFB-Pokal final in 1988 where Eintracht Frankfurt became the next to deny VfL cup glory.
Following relegation in 1993, Bochum were forced to ditch their idiosyncratic nickname as they became a classic example of what is known in Germany as a "Fahrstuhlmannschaft" (elevator team) and have bounced between the top two divisions ever since. Unable to step out of the shadow cast by Ruhrpott giants Dortmund and Schalke, Bochum have never really challenged for major honours although a couple of fifth-place Bundesliga finishes in 1997 and 2004 brought UEFA Cup football to the Ruhrstadion for the first time. In 2021, the Ruhr Valley club returned to the Bundesliga for the first time since 2010 after securing the Bundesliga.2 title for the fourth time in their history.
Ground Name: Vonovia Ruhrstadion
Year Opened: 1911
Renovations: 1921, 1976 - 1979
Capacity: 26,000 (11,600 standing)
Record Attendance: 50,000 (1979)
Wheelchair Spaces: 60
Undersoil Heating: Yes
Running Track: No
Playing Surface: Natural Grass
Pitch Size: 105m x 68m
Castroper Straße (1911 - 1979)
Ruhrstadion (1979 - 2006) *
rewirpowerSTADION (2006 - 2016) *
Vonovia Ruhrstadion (2016 - ) *
* Stadium Renamed
The origins of the Vonovia Ruhrstadion go back to 1911 when one of VfL's predecessor clubs, Spiel und Sport 08 Bochum, leased a meadow from a local farmer and opened the first sports field on the site of the current ground. It was given its first major overhaul just after World War 1 and as a result it became one of the most modern and biggest grounds in the country with a capacity of 50,000. A new main stand followed in the 1950s but generally speaking there wasn't much in the way of development after that for the next couple of decades.
New stadiums elsewhere however meant that the Ruhrstadion was no longer the elite ground it once was and with only 2,700 seats it was woefully short of being up to the standard required to host Bundesliga football. With this in mind the club set about a programme of renovation, and between 1976 and 1979 the stands were all rebuilt forcing Bochum to play some of their home matches at Borussia Dortmund's Westfalenstadion for a short time. Reopened as the Ruhrstadion in July 1979 with a friendly against SG Wattenscheid 09, the ground had a capacity of 49,522 although only relatively minor work has been carried out since.
Today the stadium is, in the words of local musician and celebrity fan Herbert Grönemeyer, "no beauty, all grey from work". It is however a football-only venue offering a superb view of the action thanks mainly to the cantilever roof construction that gives the stadium its distinctive look from the outside along with the iconic floodlights standing sentry in each corner. It's a fully covered, single tiered affair with closed corners which helps generate the brilliant atmosphere that Bochum fans are known for. The East Stand (Osttribüne) is fully terraced and apart from a small area given over to away fans in blocks E1-2 and F of the West Stand (Westtribüne), the rest of the stadium is all seating.
2022-2023: 25,318 (Bundesliga)
2021-2022: 15,618 (Bundesliga) *
2020-2021: N/A *
2019-2020: 13,256 (Bundesliga.2) *
2018-2019: 17,750 (Bundesliga.2)
* Season affected by COVID pandemic
The club website and online ticket shop offers a version in English and through Bochum's ticketing partner Eventim you can have your tickets either posted to you, sent to your smartphone or provided as a Print@Home option. You can also buy tickets from the ticket offices at the stadium which open a couple of hours before kick-off or in the Ruhr Park Shopping Centre (Am Einkaufszentrum 1, 44791 Bochum; 10am-8pm, Mon-Sat; tel: +49 (0) 234 9518131).
The last time they were in the Bundesliga, Bochum occasionally sold-out their home matches but several seasons as a second division club saw the marquee match glory-hunters drift back to Dortmund and Schalke leaving the Ruhrstadion to the 'real' Bochum supporters.
Now that they're back in the Bundesliga though, the gap between supply and demand isn't going to be a particularly healthy one and from what we understand, tickets rarely go on general sale with Bochum preferring to leave all tickets available for club members. If they do go on general sale, then it's likely to be at very short notice (a week at most) and you'll have to move fast if you want to join the home fans for a loud and proud rendition of Herbert Grönemeyer's hit 'Bochum' (Click here for the lyrics) on the East Stand (Osttribüne) terrace before kick-off.
Generally speaking, for adult ticket prices range from €27 - €49 for seats, and you can stand on the terraces from €16. When Bayern München and local Ruhr rivals Borussia Dortmund come to Castroper Straße however, prices jump to €37 - 59 for seats and it's €19 to watch the action from the terraces.
Information about visiting the Vonovia Ruhrstadion for fans with disabilities can be found at:
Expected Ticket Availability
GETTING THERE & AWAY
Castroper Straße 145
You can reach the ground by car via the A43 Münster - Wuppertal autobahn. Come off at the Bochumer Kreuz exit, join the A40 towards Essen and then follow the Bochum Stadion signs. There isn't any parking when you get there though, so it's a case of parking up where you can and making your way on foot the rest of the way. We recommend heading for the 2000-space Stadionring car park (Stadionring, 44791 Bochum; €5 flat-rate) which is on your left as you come off the A40 and it's an easy 10-minute stroll to the ground from here. Just head down Stadionring and then left onto Castropher Straße.
You might get lucky and find a space on the Ruhr Congress car park further down Stadionring (€1 per hour) or better still try the Kirmesplatz car park at the junction with Stadionring and Castroper Straße (€4 flat-rate).
Match ticket holders can travel to and from the stadium throughout the day until 3am the following morning in the Verkehrsverbund Rhein-Ruhr (VRR) region. Arriving into Bochum at the Hauptbahnhof, just jump on U308 or U318 (both Direction: Schürbankstraße) for the three-minute ride to the Vonovia Ruhrstadion stop. Easy.
The stadium is just shy of a mile from the city centre and can be easily reached on foot. Come out of the Hauptbahnhof towards the city centre and turn right onto Ostring. Follow it as it bends round to the left until you come to the junction with Castoper Straße. Turn right here onto Castroper Straße, head under the railway bridge and the ground will be on your left after three quarters of a mile.
Cyclists haven't been forgotten either and there's free and secure bike parking spaces available behind the Ruhr Congress & Hotel complex on Stadionring (44791, Bochum). More information regarding arrival and parking can be found on Bochum's website here.
FAN SHOP, MUSEUM & STADIUM TOURS
The main fan shop Fanshop Stadioncenter underwent a complete renovation during the Corona shutdown and has reopened at the Ruhrstadion itself (Ruhrstadion, Castroper Straße 145, 44791 Bochum; 9am-5pm, Mon-Fri; 90 mins before kick-off - one hour after full-time on matchdays; tel: +49 (0) 234 9518150).
There's also a branch at:
Ruhr Park Shopping Centre (Am Einkaufszentrum 1, 44791 Bochum; 10am-8pm, Mon-Sat; tel: +49 (0) 234 9518131).
Due to the cramped nature of the Vonovia Ruhrstadion and the fact that the stadium is often booked out for events on non-matchdays, Bochum have stopped offering tours.
FOOD & DRINK OPTIONS
If you haven't got lost in Bochum's Bermudadreieck district of bars, clubs and restaurants; then on the walk to the stadium along Castoper Straße, you'll pass Freins Event Location and Zum Stadion Grill (right in front of the Kirmesplatz car park) - both great places for combining that need for food and a few pre-match pints. If you want to join the locals and turn up to the match with a bag of clinking beer bottles, then there are also a few places along the route where you can stock up.
At the ground itself, fast food is on offer from the kiosks that set up on matchdays and you can pay for your half-time wurst and pint of Moritz Fiege (official stadium beer) with cash and not have to worry about the queue behind you tutting and sighing because you're holding everyone up having run out of credit on your stadium card.
OTHER CLUBS IN THE AREA
BUNDESLIGA: 1.FC Köln, Bayer 04 Leverkusen, Borussia Dortmund, Borussia Mönchengladbach
BUNDESLIGA 2: FC Schalke 04, Fortuna Düsseldorf, SC Paderborn 07, VfL Osnabrück
3.LIGA: Borussia Dortmund II, DSC Arminia Bielefeld, FC Viktoria Köln, MSV Duisburg, Preußen Münster, Rot Weiss Essen, SC Verl