With a retractable roof, glass windows and situated in a heady mix of green parkland and industrial heritage the Arena AufSchalke is a modern marvel of football fandom.

The Schalke stadium, or as it’s known for sponsorship reasons the VELTINS Arena, is going to be a venue at this year’s Euros. Below, we look into its past, present and future ahead of the tournament and what to look out for if you’re lucky enough to get tickets.

History of the Arena AufSchalke

A millennium baby in comparison to other storied stadiums in Germany and across Europe, the €191 million Arena AufSchalke was given the go-ahead thanks to a combination of FC Schalke’s 1997 UEFA Cup triumph, the club’s centenary season coming up in 2004 and the fact its old ground, the Parkstadion, was declining. Work on the Arena AufSchalke was completed by 2001.

The stadium boasts a state-of-the-art slide-out pitch – similar to the Sapporo Dome in Japan, the State Farm Stadium and Allegiant Stadium in the US and the GelreDome in the Netherlands.

Arena AufSchalke is the fourth-biggest stadium in the Bundesliga, which makes for a sparkling atmosphere. Indeed it has been adjudged to be the loudest stadium in Germany, reaching up to 122 decibels in some instances.

If ever there was a structural clue as to a stadium’s heritage it’s the 5km beer pipeline that runs from the stadium to its supplying brewery; it remains one of the most distinctive features of any stadium in the world.

Among the most famous sporting events to be held in the stadium are:

  • 2004: Champions League final
  • 2006: World Cup quarter-final
  • 2009: World heavyweight championship boxing match between Wladimir Klitschko and Ruslan Chagaev in 2009
  • 2010: Ice Hockey World Championship with an attendance of 77,803, which was then a world record capacity for an ice hockey contest
  • 2018: German Darts Masters

What games will be played at the Arena Aufchalke

There are three Arena AufSchalke group stage fixtures – including a clash between two old foes – and one knockout game. Here’s who is set to play there:

  • Serbia vs England (Group C, 16th June)
  • Spain vs Italy (Group B, 20th June)
  • Georgia vs Portugal (Group F, 26th June)
  • Winner of Group C vs 3rd Place in Group D/E/F (Round of 16, 30th June)

The juiciest tie of the group games has to be Spain vs Italy. The Spaniards have won three of the last four games against the Azzurri – and each of the previous two matches 2-1.

One match between these two stands out in the memory. In 2012, arguably the greatest international team of the past 50 years demolished Italy 4-0 in the final of the European Championships thanks to goals from David Silva, Jordi Alba, Fernando Torres and Juan Mata.

They became the first team to win two consecutive European Championships (2008 and 2012), and the first team to win three consecutive major tournaments (the 2010 World Cup sandwiched between the two European crowns in 2008 and 2012).

But Italy have won the tournament twice and are the defending champions after winning on penalties against England at the last iteration. They will surely fancy an upset of sorts here.

Another eye-catching group stage game sees Serbia take on pre-tournament favourites England.

The two have only played each other once before – a 2003 friendly that resulted in a 2-1 victory for the Three Lions after goals from Steven Gerrard and Joe Cole. Nenad Jestrović got the goal for Serbia.

England have an attacking unit comprising some of Europe’s most exciting talents, including Jude Bellingham, Phil Foden and Harry Kane. They are anchored by the endlessly impressive Declan Rice in midfield.

Serbia, meanwhile, are a hard team to predict. They have some familiar names to English audiences – most notably ex-Fulham and Newcastle forward Aleksandar Mitrovic.

Location of the Arena Aufchalke

The Arena AufSchalke is located at Rudi-Assauer-Platz 1, 45891 in Gelsenkirchen.

By Car If you're road-tripping across Germany, you need to take Exit 6 (Gelsenkirchen-Buer) on the A2 autobahn and Exit 17 (Gelsenkirchen-Schalke) on the A42. This route will get you directly to the VELTINS-Arena. There are also signs for the VELTINS-Arena when leaving the motorway and there are 14,000 parking spots available around the ground.

By Train Those travelling by public transport can take the tram to the VELTINS-Arena from Gelsenkirchen central station. Line 302 of the tramway will take you to the stadium from here. It takes about 20 minutes, giving fans ample time to sample the sights and sounds around the North Rhine-Westphalia city.

Capacity of Arena AufSchalke

The capacity of the Arena AufSchalke stands at 62,271 for domestic matches and a reduced 54,740 for international clashes due to FIFA regulations.


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