Georg-Melches-Stadion in Essen
Visited in the summer of 2007. Rot-Weiß Essen was founded in 1907 as 'Sportverein Vogelheim. A number of mergers later the club was called Rot-Weiß Essen.
The ground at the Hafenstraße used to be a common sports ground. In 1939 the ground was finally turned into a football ground.
August 13, 1939 the first match was played here against Schalke 04. A crowd of 30.000 spectators witnessed this first match.
After World War II the ground was completely destroyed. The renovation and rebuilding of the ground, however, was soon finished and Rot-Weiß Essen started a successful period.
In 1953 Rot-Weiß Essen won the German cup by beating Alemannia Aachen 2-1.
In 1955 the club celebrated its finest moment when they won the German championship by beating top favourite 1. FC Kaiserslautern 4-3.
Rot-Weiß Essen was not one of the teams that would start in the Bundesliga in 1963. Already in 1961 the club dropped out of the Oberliga West (former 1st division).
In 1963 the former president Georg Melches died. To honour his work for the club, the stadium was given the name of the former president.
In 1966 the club finally made into the Bundesliga. 30.000 people attended the last match against FC St. Pauli. Essen lost 1-0, but was nevertheless now a Bundesliga team. This success only lasted 1 year: in 1967 the team dropped out of the Bundesliga again.
The fans didn't have to suffer that long. 1n 1969 the team made it back again into the Bundesliga.
After 1969 the team was in and out the Bundesliga twice. After the last relegation in 1977 the team became a top team in the 2nd Bundesliga. However, after 7 years of playing in the 2nd Bundesliga, the club dropped to the 3rd level.
This relegation probably started a lot of problems. In spite of returning to the 2nd Bundesliga, the club lost its license in 1991. Even after 2 championships in a row, the problems were not solved. In 1994 the club lost its license again!!!
Being an amateur-team now, Rot-Weiß Essen surprised everybody when they reached the final of the German cup in 1994. The final was lost 3-1 against Werder Bremen.
1998 the club reached rock bottom: after relegating in 1997 to the 3rd level, the team now relegated again and had to start all over (again) on the 4th level.
Still the club is in turmoil. After returning to the 2nd Bundesliga in 2004, the team relegated again in 2007.
Most famous player of Rot-Weiß Essen is certainly Helmut Rahn. He played from 1951 till 1959 in Essen. Rahn played 40 caps (21 goals) for Germany. On August 14, 2003, Rahn died in Essen. Close to the main entrance you can find his statue.