Rot-Weiss Essen
Full nameRot-Weiss Essen e. V.
Founded1 February 1907; 116 years ago (1 February 1907)
GroundStadion an der Hafenstraße
ChairmanMarcus Uhlig
ManagerChristoph Dabrowski
League3. Liga
2022–233. Liga, 15th of 20
WebsiteClub website
Current season

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 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

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 solid performances led to a divisional championship in 1952. 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.

Their performance tailed off after this and RWE became just another mid-table side before they were relegated in 1961. The club then played most of the 1960s as a second division side, but did manage its 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 solid second- or third-tier club, with just one season spent in the 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).[1][2]

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 used to play 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.[3]

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 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.[4][5] Although often clouded in political terms, the "reds" were left-wing and the "blacks" right-wing, in reality there was no real distinction. The rivalry was more based on geography of the city, a north (RWE) versus south (SWE) city divide.[6] While the reputation of northern Essen has been attached to the working class in the past decades, the south of the city is generally regarded as a wealthier area, inhabited by an upper-middle class.[7]


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 solid fan support, with an average attendance of better than 6,000 per game.

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[8] 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:



Current squad

As of 15 August 2023[9]

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

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

Out on loan

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

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

Notable players

Main category: Rot-Weiss Essen players

Former coaches


  1. ^ "RW Essen ernennt Pelé zum Ehrenmitglied" (in German). 28 October 2005. Archived from the original on 1 October 2011. Retrieved 18 October 2011.
  2. ^ "Pelé Ehrenmitglied bei RWE" (in German). 29 October 2005. Retrieved 18 October 2011.
  3. ^ "Vereinsgeschichte" (in German). 27 June 2011. Retrieved 18 October 2011.
  4. ^ "Vor dem Essen-Derby: Die goldenen Jahre von RWE und ETB: Barfuß und Lackschuh". Retrieved 7 March 2017.
  5. ^ Schmahld, Ralf. "ETB gegen RWE: Schwarz Weiss Essen gewinnt Derby und Pokalfinale". Retrieved 7 March 2017.
  6. ^ "Schwarz-Weiss Essen". Retrieved 7 March 2017.
  7. ^ Weiguny, Bettina (14 January 2013). "Armut und Reichtum: Essen: Die gespaltene Stadt". Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. Retrieved 7 March 2017.
  8. ^ "Regionalliga West 2013/2014 » Zuschauer » Heimspiele" (in German). Retrieved 23 August 2014.
  9. ^ "Team" (in German). Rot-Weiss Essen. Retrieved 6 November 2022.