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Rot-Weiss Essen
Full name Rot-Weiss Essen e. V.
Nickname(s) RWE
Founded 1 February 1907; 117 years ago (1 February 1907)
Ground Stadion an der Hafenstraße
Ground Capacity 20,650
Chairman Marcus Uhlig
Manager Christoph Dabrowski

Rot-Weiss Essen is a German association football club based in Essen, North Rhine-Westphalia. The club currently plays in the 3. Liga, at the Stadion an der Hafenstraße.

The team won the DFB-Pokal in 1953, and the German championship in 1955. The latter success qualified them to the first season of the European Cup.


Early years

The club was formed as SV Vogelheim on 1 February 1907 out of the merger of two smaller clubs: SC Preussen and Deutsche Eiche. In 1910, Vogelheim came to an arrangement with Turnerbund Bergeborbeck that allowed the two clubs to field a football side. The footballers left in 1913 to set up their own club, Spiel- und Sportverein Emscher-Vogelheim, which changed its name to Spiel und Sport 1912 after World War I. Finally, in 1923, this side turned again to Turnerbund Bergeborbeck to create Rot-Weiss Essen.

Breakthrough to the Gauliga

In 1938, RWE broke into entered top-flight football in the Gauliga Niederrhein, one of sixteen premier divisions formed in the 1933 re-organization of German football under the Third Reich, and came within a point of taking the division title in 1941. In 1943, they played with BV Altenessen as the combined wartime side KSG SC Rot-Weiß Essen/BV 06 Altenessen. The next season this club was in turn joined by BVB Essen, but played only a single match in a stillborn season as World War II overtook the country.

Rise and golden years

RW Essen Performance Chart
Historical chart of Rot-Weiss Essen league performance

The club returned to first division football in the Oberliga West in 1948, where a series of strong seasons saw them win divisional championships in 1952 and 1955, as well as finishing runners-up in 1949 and 1954 and third in 1950 and 1953. The pinnacle of the club's success came with a 2–1 win over Alemannia Aachen in the 1953 DFB-Pokal final, followed by a national championship in 1955 when it beat 1. FC Kaiserslautern 4–3. The following season, Rot-Weiss became the first German side to qualify for the European Cup.

The club remained competitive for the remainder of the 1950s, continuing to finish in the division's the top half, but 1961 saw a sharp decline leading to relegation from the Oberliga West at the end of the season. The club then played most of the 1960s as a second division side, though it did make a first appearance in the top-flight Bundesliga in 1966–67. It returned to the Bundesliga for two seasons in 1969–70, and again, for four seasons beginning in 1973–74.

Financial problems and slow decline

Between 1978 and the end of the century Rot-Weiss was a second- or third-tier club, with just one season spent in the regional Oberliga Nordrhein (IV) in 1998–99. During this period, the club was plagued by financial problems that saw it denied a licence in 1984, 1991, and 1994, leading to relegation from the 2. Bundesliga each time as a result. Bright spots during this period included winning the German amateur championship in 1992 and an appearance in the 1994 DFB-Pokal final, which they lost 1–3 to SV Werder Bremen.

RWE returned to the Regionalliga Nord (III) in 1999, but dropped to the Oberliga (IV) the next season. In 2004, they won promotion back to the 2. Bundesliga, but stumbled to a 17th-place finish and were relegated once again.

In November 2005, Pelé became an honorary club member (membership number 23101940).

The team reappeared in the 2. Bundesliga after winning the Regionalliga Nord in 2006, but narrowly missed staying up when they lost the critical final match of the 2006–07 season 3–0 to Duisburg.

Rot-Weiss became a fourth division side following the introduction of the 3. Liga in 2008 and a fifth division team after insolvency in 2010. They won the fifth level NRW-Liga in 2010–11 and returned to Regionalliga West for the 2011–12 season.


Until 2012 Rot-Weiss played in the Georg-Melches-Stadion (capacity 15,000), named in honour of a former club president. In 1956, the team's home field became the first stadium in West Germany to have floodlights.

Since August 2012, RWE has played in the new Stadion Essen (capacity 20,000). The naming rights to the stadium include RWE AG.


Rot-Weiss Essen Fans, May 2008
Rot-Weiss Essen visiting Magdeburg in May 2008


Fortuna Düsseldorf, Rot-Weiß Oberhausen and Wuppertaler SV are local rivals when they are playing in the same league (as took place in the 2007–08 season). The club's fiercest rivalry is with FC Schalke 04, from nearby Gelsenkirchen, with whom they contest the Ruhrderby.

In the past, the local derbies versus Schwarz-Weiß Essen were big events, sometimes followed by more than 30,000 fans, however since their rivals decline the rivalry has waned in importance. Although often described in political terms, with the "reds" allegedly being left-wing and the "blacks" right-wing, in reality there was no substantive distinction. The rivalry was more based on the geography of the city, a north (RWE) versus south (SWE) city divide. and with northern Essen being predominantly working class historically and the south of the city being generally regarded as a wealthier area, inhabited by the upper-middle class.


The RWE followers have a strong fan friendship with SV Werder Bremen, while another with Borussia Dortmund ended.


Although mostly playing in lower divisions, the club enjoys strong fan support, with an average attendance of better than 7,000 per game in the Regional Liga West and over 16,000 since returning to the 3Liga according to statistics compiled by Transfermarkt.

Season Average crowd Division
2019–20 10.742 Regionalliga West (IV)
2018–19 7.275 Regionalliga West (IV)
2017–18 6.951 Regionalliga West (IV)
2016–17 7.863 Regionalliga West (IV)
2015–16 7.349 Regionalliga West (IV)
2014–15 8.208 Regionalliga West (IV)
2013–14 7.684 Regionalliga West (IV)
2012–13 8.008 Regionalliga West (IV)
2011–12 6.815 Regionalliga West (IV)
2010–11 7.008 NRW-Liga (V)
2009–10 5.956 Regionalliga West (IV)
2008–09 7.077 Regionalliga West (IV)
2007–08 10.021 Regionalliga Nord (III)
2006–07 13.436 2. Bundesliga (II)
2005–06 12.290 Regionalliga Nord (III)
2004–05 14.176 2. Bundesliga (II)


The club's honours:


  • German championship
    • Champions: 1955
  • German amateur championship
    • Champions: 1992
  • Oberliga West
    • Champions: 1952, 1955
  • Regionalliga West (II)
    • Champions: 1973
  • Regionalliga Nord (III)
    • Champions: 2004, 2006
  • Oberliga Nordrhein (IV)
    • Champions: 1985, 1986, 1993, 1999
  • Regionalliga West (IV)
    • Champions: 2022
  • NRW-Liga (V)
    • Champions: 2011


  • DFB-Pokal
    • Winners: 1952–53
  • Lower Rhine Cup (Tiers 3–5)
    • Winners: (10) 1995, 2002, 2004, 2008, 2011, 2012, 2015, 2016, 2020, 2023

Current squad

No. Position Player
1 Germany GK Jakob Golz
2 Germany DF Sascha Voelcke
3 Germany DF Aaron Manu
6 Germany MF Björn Rother
7 Germany DF Andreas Wiegel
8 Germany MF Cedric Harenbrock
9 Germany FW Ron Berlinski
10 Germany MF Thomas Eisfeld
11 Germany FW Marvin Obuz (on loan from 1. FC Köln)
14 Germany MF Lucas Brumme
16 Germany DF Mustafa Kourouma
17 Germany DF Ekin Çelebi
18 Germany MF Nils Kaiser
No. Position Player
19 Germany DF Eric Voufack
20 Germany FW Leonardo Vonić
21 Germany DF Sandro Plechaty
23 Germany DF José-Enrique Ríos Alonso
24 Germany MF Felix Götze
26 Germany FW Torben Müsel
27 Germany MF Vinko Šapina
29 Guinea FW Moussa Doumbouya
30 United States FW Isaiah Young
31 Germany GK Ole Springer
35 Germany GK Felix Wienand
37 Germany DF Fabian Rüth

Out on loan

No. Position Player
Switzerland MF Ben Heuser (at FC Cosmos Koblenz until 30 June 2024)

Notable players

Former coaches

  • Elek Schwartz (1955–1957)
  • Fritz Pliska (1965–1967)
  • Erich Ribbeck (1967–1968)
  • Herbert Burdenski (1969–1971)
  • Janos Bedl (1971–1972)
  • Horst Witzler (1973)
  • Ivica Horvath (1975–1976)
  • Diethelm Ferner (1978–1979)
  • Rolf Schafstall (1979–1981)
  • Rolf Bock (1982–1983)
  • Janos Bedl (1983–1984)
  • Siegfried Melzig (1984)
  • Horst Hrubesch (1986–1987)
  • Peter Neururer (1987)
  • Horst Franz (1987–1988)
  • Siegfried Melzig (1988)
  • Hans-Werner Moors (1989–1991)
  • Jürgen Röber (1991–1993)
  • Wolfgang Frank (1994–1995)
  • Rudi Gores (1995–1997)
  • Klaus Berge (1998–1999)
  • Fritz Fuchs (1999)
  • Klaus Berge (1999–2001)
  • Harry Pleß (2001–2003)
  • Holger Fach (2003)
  • Jürgen Gelsdorf (2003–2005)
  • Uwe Neuhaus (2005–2006)
  • Lorenz-Günther Köstner (2006–2007)
  • Heiko Bonan (2007–2008)
  • Michael Kulm (2008–2009)
  • Ralf Aussem (2009)
  • Ernst Middendorp (2009)
  • Ralf Aussem (2009–2010)
  • Uwe Erkenbrecher (2009–2010)
  • Waldemar Wrobel (2010–2014)
  • Marc Fascher (2014–2015)
  • Jürgen Lucas (2015)
  • Markus Reiter (2015)
  • Jan Siewert (2015–2016)
  • Sven Demandt (2016–2017)
  • Argirios Giannikis (2017–2018)

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Rot-Weiss Essen para niños

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