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Esprit Arena
ESPRIT arena in Duesseldorf-Stockum, von Sueden.jpg
Full name Esprit Arena
Former names LTU Arena
Location Düsseldorf, Germany
Built 2002-2004
Opened 2004
Owner City of Düsseldorf
Surface grass
Construction cost 240 million
Architect JSK Architekten[1]
Capacity 51,500
Tenants
Fortuna Düsseldorf (2. Fußball-Bundesliga)
2004-present (with exceptions)
Bayer Leverkusen (Bundesliga)
2009 (January - May)

The Esprit arena is a multifunctional football stadium in Düsseldorf, Germany. The stadium holds 51,500 and has a closable roof. The special heating system allows comfortable events at the height of winter.

It was built from 2002 to 2004 to replace the former Rheinstadion at the same site near the river Rhine. It hosts association football team Fortuna Düsseldorf (currently in the second division - 2. Fußball-Bundesliga), and also hosted the American football team Rhein Fire of NFL Europa until its disbanding in 2007.

Contents

German League Cup

The Esprit Arena during a Fortuna Düsseldorf game in 2005

The stadium regularly hosted both first-round matches of the German League Cup every July between 2005 and 2007.

The first round of the 2005 German League Cup was held in the Arena on 23 July 2005. In the first match of the day, Werder Bremen recorded a 1-0 win over Bayer Leverkusen, with Ivan Klasnić scoring the only goal after 18 minutes of the game had passed. The second match of the day was contested between Hertha BSC and Stuttgart, with Stuttgart winning 4-3 in penalty shootout after a goalless 90 minutes.

The second time the first round of the German League Cup was held in the Arena was on 29 July 2006, with Hamburger SV playing Hertha BSC in the first match of the day and Schalke 04 playing Bayer Leverkusen in the second match of the day. Hamburg won their match against Hertha 1-0, with the only goal scored by Vincent Kompany in the 52nd minute. In the second match of the day, Schalke beat Leverkusen 9-8 in a lengthy penalty shootout that followed as a result of a 1-1 draw in the 90 minutes of normal time. Schalke's Darío Rodríguez fired Leverkusen into a 1-0 lead with his own goal just before the half-hour mark, with Marcelo Bordon equalising for Schalke shortly thereafter.

The first round of the 2007 German League Cup took place in the Arena on 21 July 2007. The first match of the day featured Schalke and Karlsruher SC, who won the 2nd Bundesliga for the 2006-07 season. It was the first time the champions of the 2nd Bundesliga took part in the competition. In the match, Tamás Hajnal missed an early penalty for Karlsruhe and Schalke eventually won 1-0, with Halil Altintop scoring the only goal in the 35th minute. The second match of the day featured Bundesliga title contenders Werder Bremen and Bayern Munich. Tim Borowski fired Bremen into an early 1-0 lead, but Bayern eventually came back to win the match 4-1, with first-half goals from Bastian Schweinsteiger, Hamit Altintop and Franck Ribéry followed by another Ribéry goal from a penalty early in the second half.

Bayer Leverkusen

During the second half of the 2008-09 Bundesliga season, the Arena temporarily served as the home ground of Bayer Leverkusen, due to redevelopment of their regular home ground, the BayArena. Leverkusen hosted a total of 11 competitive games in the Arena, 8 in the Bundesliga and 3 in the German Cup.

International matches

The Arena was not one of the venues for the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany, but it hosted several international matches since it opened.

The first international match in the Arena was an international friendly between Germany and Argentina on 9 February 2005, ending in a 2-2 draw. On 7 February 2007, Germany played their second international friendly in the Arena, beating Switzerland 3-1. In their third international friendly in the Arena, on 11 February 2009, Germany suffered a 1-0 defeat to Norway.

The Arena also hosted two international friendlies of the Portuguese national football team. In Portugal's first international friendly in the Arena, on 1 March 2006, they recorded a 3-0 win over Saudi Arabia. On 26 March 2008, Portugal played their second international friendly in the Arena, suffering a 2-1 defeat to Greece national football team.

Concerts

On New Year's Eve 2008, the dance music event Sensation was held with expectedly over 15,000 attendees in the arena. Other concerts were held by Phil Collins, Genesis, Coldplay, Depeche Mode, Bon Jovi, Bruce Springsteen, Madonna, Rolling Stones, Linkin Park and german acts Herbert Grönemeyer and Die Toten Hosen.

Naming rights

The naming rights to the stadium are currently held by clothing manufacturer Esprit.[2]

Prior to July 2009, the German airline LTU held the naming rights.

References

External links

Coordinates: 51°15′41.72″N 6°43′59.53″E / 51.2615889°N 6.7332028°E / 51.2615889; 6.7332028

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