Düren, just across the border with Belgium and The Netherlands, is considered to be one of the top touristic places to visit next to the big and known cities in Germany. That might be true, but for us, groundhoppers, there are only two reasons to visit Düren. One of them was completely closed, but the other one is pretty accessible. We are talking about the Westkampfbahn.
The stadium was first opened in 1914 for Germania Düren and after WWI the team kept expanding the stadium. In 1927 already there was a grand re-opening. To be able to afford the renovation Germania Düren worked together with Dürener SC 03. Around the 70s and around the year 2000 there were new renovations, but in 2014 it was already almost ready to be destroyed. Luckily the decision was made to completely restore it as it was and up until now it looks like the grandstand is being well maintained.
But who were all of these teams playing there? Be prepared for a story filled with mergers. It all started in 1899 when FC Germania Düren was created. Across the next couple of years other sport activities were added to the team and in 1913 they decided to change their name into SC Germania Düren due to that. In the meantime two other teams were founded as well, being Dürener FC 03 in 1903 and Dürener SC in 1912. These two decided to join forces in 1924 to become Dürener SC 03. Shortly after the next co-operation started with the redevelopment of the Westkampfbahn. In 1935 SC Germania and Dürener SC decided to take it to the next level and they merged to become SG Düren 99.
Both teams never made it to the top leagues, but they did occasionally have some very good results. While Dürener SC 03 was the most successful one most of the time, Germania Düren often competed locally with rivals Jugend Düren. After the merger it all went uphill pretty fast for the team. They even made it to the second division (while it was all still regionally split) and during the 50s they even had a couple of players who were selected for West Germany. In the decades to come SG Düren mostly played in third, fourth and fifth division, going up and down quite often.
In 2001 (it took a while) the next merger happened. SG Düren 99 melted together with Schwarz-Weiß Düren (which was on itself already a merger from 1947 between Jugend Düren (1896) and Rölsdorfer SV (1905)) and the new team name became SG Schwarz-Weiß Düren 99. This merger wasn't a success though as in 2007 both teams decided to go their own way again. Shortly after SG Düren 99 (as that was the team name again) decided to merge with yet another team. This time GFC Düren 09 (1909) was the partner in crime. SG GFC Düren 99 was the obvious new team name.
One final merger just recently happened when SG GFC Düren 99 had to cease activities (instead of merging with other teams that had financial problems) themselves and were looking for a partner to keep existing. In 2018 they found that partner in 1. FC Düren. That actually was a very young team, only founded end of 2017. Less than a year later 1. FC Düren already took over the football activities from FC Düren-Niederau (founded in 1908 as FC 08 Niederau-Krauthausen - changed into FC Düren-Niederau shortly after) and SG GFC Düren 99. 1. FC Düren moved to the Westkampfbahn and now acts as a continuation of the old and famous Germania Düren and its rich (merger) history.
Seven teams becoming one (and sometimes separating again). You'd think we have had it all in Düren. But that's not 100% true. We hope to be back for the other absolute gem there as soon as possible. But in the meantime you can already enjoy the rather charming Westkampfbahn?