posted on: 31 March, 2021
Experience real, honest football, loyal fans, a great atmosphere, and a remnant of the good old game away from the glamour and commerce of modern football with a trip to the Home – VfL Bochum 1848 (vfl-bochum.de).
Tucked in the between some of the biggest names in German football, the mighty Borussia Dortmund, and the hugely popular FC Schalke 04, the VfL Bochum has always maintained their underdog status.
This former coal-mining region and industrial heart land is the football hotspot of Germany and worth a quick hop over the Channel for an awesome weekend break.
We start with a hair raiser moment when the teams enter the pitch to “Tief im Westen” (in the deep west) song by local favourite German superstar Herbert Groenemeyer. Listen here and get a glimpse of what to expect: Herbert Grönemeyer Bochum, VfL Bochum – YouTube.
The loyal and used to suffer fanbase roar the anthem like a battle cry. They never let their club down in times when things did not go to plan. And of which there were many. Become part of on your trip to the VfL which is a great and unique football experience.
Founded in 1848 Bochum’s time in Bundesliga 1 from the 70ties to the mid 90ties brought mid table finishes and relegation battles to the blue and white faithfuls. The gained themselves the nickname the Unabsteigbaren (The Unrelegationables).
While their illustrious neighbours, Dortmund, and Schalke, drew huge crowds and wrote headlines with relegations, titles, and big scandals, the VfL stubbornly battled their games in front of 15.000.
The media nicknamed them the “Grey Mouse”, which roughly translates as small, spiritless, timid, and nondescript. A name which sticks till today which has however galvanised the fans fighting off the massive attraction especially coming from their yellow neighbours down the road.
Times were about to change in the mid 90ties when the club eventually dropped down to Bundesliga 2, only to go back up the following year and then head down in the next season again. Ups and downs brought 5 relegations and 2 UEFA Cup qualifications in 15 years, which are the club’s biggest success till today. In 2010 the curtains came down again and since the VfL Bochum is a Bundesliga 2 team. A nightmare for the fans and a status which they are desperately hoping to change for the better soon.
The only constant are their fans. And therefore, a trip to watch a VfL Bochum match is a great experience. The Ruhrstadion at the Castroper Strasse, built in 1979 and one of the first real football stadiums, has nowadays a capacity of around 28.000 and oozes with character.
Like a typical British stadium, the 4 stands enclose the ground and let you be really close to the pitch. In fact, there is no place further than 30m away from it. The difference is that terrace behind one goal, where to home fans gather and support their team, is standing. Become part of the crowd or watch the great atmosphere created from one of the seating terraces. Either way the atmosphere catches you as the place is rocking.
But do not expect football delicacy. Remember this is not Real Madrid or Juventus. This is Bochum. Hard graft, honest emotions, and passion loads of passion.
The atmosphere is the real deal, and here you can still feel it. Grit and teeth, sausage and beer, passion, and love, suffering and joy. All those things which made football great. Show your kids what turned you into a football fan when a play station was a toy in your children’s bedroom. Or just witness a great day out at the footie where teams fight for every inch of the pitch with a beer in your hand. Oh yes, a beer. The VfL serves the local Fiege brew for a mere 4.2EUR for 0.5l. And you can still pay in cash inside the stadium too. Oh the good old days…
How to get there
The whole region is easily accessible from the UK by plane or even train. Nearby airports are Dusseldorf Intl, Cologne / Bonn, and Dortmund. And the Eurostar takes you from London to Cologne via Brussels in less than 5 hours. Once there the public transport connections are excellent. Numerous trains and trams take you around flawlessly and are easy to grasp.
Arrive at Bochum central station and WALK! It is only around 1.5m away. On arrival head to the famous Doenninghaus sausage stall come beer bar and now the place to be before kick-off. Sausage and football belong together like Pie and Mash. Properly fed it is time for some more pre match pints. Many beer stalls and pubs line the street to the stadium. Also, check out Zachers, next to the station. Either way, you won’t go thirsty.
The walk shy miss out but can jump on the underground lines 308 / 318 and get off at the Ruhrstadion. It takes around 3 minutes and trains do get packed on match days.
The Bundesliga has maintained their fan friendly ticket prices throughout the years. And the VfL Bochum is no difference here. Standing tickets start from 13EUR (around £11) and the average seat costs you 30EUR (around £28). Another big incentive here that the tickets come from with free public transport. Say you stay in Dortmund and want to watch a Bochum game, just jump on the tram or train, and do not worry about buying a ticket. But we can always to do this for you too. This makes any Bundesliga trip, especially in the western part of Germany, hugely popular and easy to do. And this takes us to our next suggestion for your trip. Combine It.
It is easy to watch multiple games when you spend a long Bundesliga weekend. Especially a visit to Dortmund’s legendary Yellow Wall, Cologne’s crazy South Stand and the Arena of former giants Schalke 04 is high on many football fan’s to-visit-list. The world’s really your oyster on the German Football Route NRW / Deutsche Fußballroute NRW (deutsche-fussballroute.de). The proximity of so many clubs in the West is staggering. And if you include former champions Rot Weiss Essen and the Zebras from the MSV Duisburg who both play in the lower divisions but still draw crowds of over 15.000, your chance to see more than one games is even bigger. Just contact us here (LINK email@example.com) for some tips, the latest fixtures list and kick off times, or if you want us to tailor your trip for you. The beauty of a football weekend trip to this region lies in the simplicity of moving around and seeing many matches. Stay in Bochum or choose Duesseldorf as base, hotels are inexpensive here and start from as little as £39 per person per night.
Things to Do
Let us set football aside for a moment. We do acknowledge that not everyone wants to squeeze in multiple games. And there are in fact great other things to do and see. Visit Bochum’s party mile called the Bermuda Dreieck (Bermuda Triangle) located right in the city centre. Three long streets form a triangle lined with over 80 pubs, bars, clubs, and restaurants. A real nightlife hotspot.
Head to the great mining museum Home – Deutsches Bergbau-Museum Bochum – Deutsches Bergbau-Museum Bochum and take a tour through a former coal mine. It is easy to spend a day or day exploring the cultural highlights of Bochum. No time to organise it? No problem, we love to do this for you. Just drop us message (firstname.lastname@example.org). We arrange the lot for you. Flights, accommodation and tickets!
Visit Bochum’s great brewery Moritz Fiege – Startseite (moritz-fiege.de). Located right behind the station you familiarise yourself with the local’s favourite brew. Let us book you on a guided brewery tour!
Now you have found out how have a great football weekend at the VfL Bochum, register your interest here.
And with the VfL currently sitting on top of Bundesliga 2, we might see the mighty Bayern Munich down there.
See you in Bochum!
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