Everything you need to know about Town in Germany
Town are taking part in the Interwetten Cup in Meppen on Sunday, July 14 at the Hänsch Arena.
Blues face Fortuna Düsseldorf at 2pm with the other two teams, SV Meppen and FC Utrecht, playing at 3pm.
The two losing teams will meet at 4pm in a third place play-off while the final will kick-off at 5pm. Games will be played over 45 minutes duration, with penalties to decide a winner if needed.
This short guide provides some information about the town of Meppen, the Hänsch Arena, ticket details and various travel options available to Town fans.
The travel details are mostly based on options that we know Town fans have already booked. Note that the Düsseldorf option includes the opportunity to join the Fortuna Blues on coaches that they are arranging for the game, provided you book with them and pay in advance, and subject to space, of course. Details towards the end of this guide.
If you require more information please email supporter liaison officer, Elizabeth Edwards, on firstname.lastname@example.org or message her on @ITFC_SLO.
The town of Meppen is in North-Western Germany, just a few miles from the Dutch border. It’s a small town of around 35,000, quite historic, with several hotels, bars and restaurants. There is a main line railway station with frequent local trains to the city of Münster, and hourly inter-city services from Düsseldorf and various other towns and cities. The best source for rail information is the German rail website, www.bahn.co.uk. For buying tickets, though, you may find www.loco2.com more user-friendly.
Hänsch Arena (pronounced ‘Hensh’)
Lathener Straße 15a, 49716 Meppen, Germany
The stadium is roughly a 20 minute walk from the station and just a bit further from the town centre. It has a capacity of around 16,500, a mix of seating and standing. SV Meppen play in the third tier of German football.
Tickets for the Interwetten Cup can be purchased at www.tickets-svmeppen.reservix.de/events.
Town supporters are advised to purchase standing tickets in the ExxonMobil grandstand and seating in the KiKxxl grandstand in blocks K and L. Standing tickets are 10 Euros with seats at 22 Euros.
There is no international airport close to Meppen, but there are several that are close enough to consider.
Fly to Düsseldorf. It is a short train ride into the centre of the city, taking just a few minutes. Note that Ryanair do not fly to the main airport (see option 3 below). It is a two to three hour rail journey to Meppen (direct trains take a bit over two hours), but note the option below to join the Fortuna Blues coaches for a cheaper trip.
Fly to Cologne. Typically for Germany, it is part of the main rail network. So there are some direct express trains to Düsseldorf (take 30 mins or so), and very frequent local services with a simple change at Cologne Messe-Deutz. Inter-City Express (ICE) trains must be reserved, so you’ll likely find it easier to use local trains. It is then a three hour rail journey to Meppen, with a change in Münster.
Fly to Weeze, the airport that Ryanair call ‘Düsseldorf’ is actually 60 miles away from Düsseldorf, around 90 minutes by bus or about the same by train. If you are taking this option, then make sure you book your bus from and to Weeze airport – especially if you are on an early morning flight back.
Fly to Bremen. The airport is only 4km out of town, and is linked by a frequent tram service. Bremen is a historic port city, well worth spending some time in (not just because it is the home of Becks Brewery!). It is a two-and-a-half hour train journey to Meppen, with a change in Münster.
Boat - Harwich – Hook of Holland, then onwards by train. This is probably the cheapest option, as you can get from Harwich to the Dutch town of Emmen, just over the border for £55, using the Rail Sail option (which takes you to ‘any station in the Netherlands’). It is more expensive if you take the night boat, as you must buy some kind of cabin. It is easy to get from Emmen to Meppen, as there are several buses a day, taking just over half an hour.
Boat and car. Harwich - Hook of Holland plus three hour drive is the comfortable way, but expensive as it is a busy time of year.
Eurotunnel from Folkestone to Calais or P&O or DFDS ferries from Dover to Calais + five hour drive may well work out quite a bit cheaper.
DFDS ferries to Dunkirk plus four hour drive.
WHERE TO STAY
Major booking websites such as www.booking.com and www.expedia.co.uk have hotel options in every town and city mentioned above, including Meppen. Note though that some of their hotels ‘in Meppen’ are a few miles out, which may provide some inconvenience or added cost by way of taxis.
As it is summer holidays, the major cities currently have good hotel availability at very reasonable prices. In Germany, it is often better value to stay a few tram stops away from the very centre of your chosen city.
Many Town fans are looking to stay in Düsseldorf. The main bar action in town is along Bolkerstrasse, with a huge number of pubs and bars along and just off that street. The local speciality beer, ‘Altbier’, is a kind of brown ale, which is unique to the city and absolutely drinkable, albeit weighing in at a bit over 5 per cent abv. They tend to serve it in deceptively small measures of around 20cl (about a third of a pint), but just keep bringing it as you empty your glass, so it gets increasingly difficult to work out how much you have had.
Being Germany, most pubs will offer a substantial menu of local specialities – great if you like pork meat, including in some kind of sausage form. Not quite so varied for vegetarians, vegans or anyone needing a gluten-free option – though it isn’t quite as difficult as you might fear.
FORTUNA BLUES ORGANISIED TRANSPORT FROM DUSSELDORF
Town fans are very welcome to join the Fortuna Blues coaches on matchday, to travel directly to the stadium in Meppen, and back after the game. Coaches will depart from Bar95, Paul-Janes-Stadion – Flinger Broich, Düsseldorf from 9.45am and will arrive in Meppen at 1pm. Departure back will be at about 6pm and arrival in Düsseldorf at approximately 9pm.
To book send a registration email to email@example.com with your full name, date of birth and residence. You will then receive an email with Fortuna Blues’ bank link in order for you to transfer the price for the bus ticket.
Fortuna Blues will accept your bus reservation until Friday, June 21 (so hurry!) and you have until June 28 to pay for your seat.
If you are using their coach, then admission to the Meppen Stadium will be organised by Fortuna Düsseldorf. Stadium tickets will be handed out by Fortuna club officials and have to be paid in cash outside the Meppen stadium at the adjacent car park, where buses will drop off passengers and wait until the tournament is finished. Check by email to make sure your ticket is reserved for you. If you already bought a ticket online, then please let them know when you book the coach.
Ticket prices are seating: 22 Euros, standing 10 Euros. Price for the coach travel will be 35 Euros per seat.
Please note that the coaches organised by Fortuna are completely independent of Ipswich Town Football Club.
Join the Fortuna Blues facebook page for updates on the coach travel.
THE PADERBORN GAME
Town are also in action against SC Paderborn 07 on Saturday, July 6, kick-off 3pm. The venue for the game has still to be confirmed.
Please email supporter liaison officer Elizabeth Edwards on firstname.lastname@example.org or message her on @ITFC_SLO if you require further details regarding the games.