The Ernst Happel Stadium ( Ernst-Happel-Stadion ) (Praterstadion until 1992, sometimes also called Wiener Stadion) in Leopoldstadt, the 2nd district of Austria's capital Vienna, is the largest stadium in Austria. It was built between 1929 and 1931 for the second Workers' Olympiad to the design of German architect Otto Ernst Schweizer. The stadium was renamed in honour of Ernst Happel following his death in 1992. The stadium was host to seven games in UEFA Euro 2008, including the final which saw Spain triumph over Germany.
The stadium is owned by the City of Vienna (Municipal Department 51 - Sports of the City of Vienna). It is managed by the Wiener Stadthalle Betriebs und Veranstaltungsgesellschaft m.b.H., a subsidiary of Wien Holding.
The foundation stone was made in November 1928 to the 10-year celebration of the still young Republic of Austria. The stadium was constructed in 23 months from 1929 to 1931 after the plans of the Tübingen architect Otto Ernst Schweizer and the second Workers' Olympiad. Schweizer also built the adjacent Stadionbad (with 400,000 sq m of Europe's largest swimming pool). According to its location in Vienna's Prater said the plant initially Prater Stadium. It was at the time a modern stadium in Europe, particularly because of its short discharge time of only 7 to 8 minutes. Initially the stadium had a capacity of approximately 60,000 people. After its inauguration took place here in addition to sporting events is always political spectacle instead.
At the time of the National Socialism Era (1938–1945) the stadium was used for military purposes (as a barracks and planning) and as a temporary prison and a collection point for the deportation of Jewish citizens abused on the verge of WWII. Between September 11 and 13, 1939, after the attack on Poland, there were over a thousand Polish-born Viennese Jews on the orders Reinhard Heydrich in detention. They were in the corridors of Section B imprisoned beneath the grandstands. At 440 detainees were from the Natural History Museum in Vienna between September 25 t and 30 racial investigation. On September 30, 1,038 prisoners in concentration camp Buchenwald camps. On the next day, it was back to being used as a football stadium. 44 men were released in early 1940, 26 were freed in 1945, the rest were murdered in the camps. In 1988, one of the surviving victims, Fritz Klein, by the Austrian government for the detention in the stadium a compensation equivalent to 62,50 euros. In the VIP area is reminiscent of 2003 to a private initiative created a memorial plaque to the incidents. In 1944, the stadium was severely damaged in the bomb attacks on the planning of the Wehrmarcht.
After the war and the reconstruction of the stadium, it was again sporting its original use. In 1956, the stadium's capacity was expanded to 92,708 people by Theodor Schull, but in 1965 the capacity was reduced. The attendance record was 91,000 spectators set on October 30, 1960 at the football match between Spain and Austria (0-3).
In the mid-1980s, the stands were covered and fully equipped with seats. At its reopening a friendly match against archrivals Germany was organised. Austria won the match 4-1. After the death of former Austrian top player and coach Ernst Happel, the Prater Stadium was renamed after him in 1992.
In 1964, 1987, 1990, and 1995, the Ernst Happel Stadium was the venue of the European Cup/UEFA Champions League final.
In 1970, the stadium was the venue of the 1970 European Cup Winners' Cup Final which saw Manchester City F.C. squeeze past Górnik Zabrze. This final was played under heavy rain, which restricted the attendance for the event to 7,968.
During the UEFA Euro 2008 tournament, the Ernst Happel Stadium was the venue for the Final match. Previously, the three group matches of the Austrian National Team, two quarter finals and a semifinal match took place in the stadium. In preparation for the tournament, the first and second place additional rows of seats increased the stadium's capacity to 53,000 seats.
Leading up to the tournament, it was fitted with a heated pitch in the summer of 2005. In May 2008, a connection to the Vienna U-Bahn was established, easing access from all over the city. The cost of the rebuilding was €39,600,000.
The following games were played at the stadium during the UEFA Euro 2008:
The Ernst Happel Stadium is the largest football stadium in Austria. It is the home of the Austrian national football team. Club football matches are generally limited to the domestic cup final and international competitions featuring one of Vienna's top clubs, FK Austria Wien and SK Rapid Wien, as their regular stadiums are too small to host UEFA Champions League and UEFA Cup matches. Vienna derby matches between FK Austria and SK Rapid have also been played in the stadium.
The stadium is rated one of UEFA's Five Star Stadiums permitting it to host the UEFA Champions League final. The seating capacity was temporarily expanded to 53,008 for the UEFA Euro 2008 championship, with the final played in the stadium. The stadium also hosted 3 group games, 2 quarter-final matches, a semi-final and final. The attendance record of 92,706 for the match against the Soviet Union was in 1960. The capacity has since been reduced.UEFA Euro 2008 Final: Spain 1 – 0 Germany
1995 UEFA Champions League Final: Ajax 1 – 0 Milan
1994 UEFA Cup Final: Internazionale 1– 0 Austria Salzburg
1990 European Cup Final: Milan 1 – 0 Benfica
1987 European Cup Final: Porto 2 – 1 Bayern Munich
1970 European Cup Winners' Cup Final: Manchester City 2 – 1 Górnik Zabrze
1964 European Cup Final: Internazionale 3 – 1 Real Madrid
Other sporting events are held in the stadium, including athletics, cycling and tennis. In 1950, 35,000 watched Austrian Josef Weidinger win the European Heavyweight crown against Stefan Olek (of France), and in 1995, a temporary pool in the stadium was the venue for the European LC Championships.
On July 16, 2011, the 4th World Championship of American Football final took place where USA defeated rivals Canada with a score of 50-7 in front of 20,000 spectators.
In June 6 and 7, 2014, the three game of the final stage of the 13th European Championship of American Football took place in this stadium.
The stadium has hosted concerts by many famous artists, including Madonna, Michael Jackson, AC/DC, Metallica, Bon Jovi, David Bowie, Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band, Guns N' Roses, Paul McCartney, Pink Floyd, The Rolling Stones, The Three Tenors, Tina Turner, U2, Coldplay, Robbie Williams, One Direction and among others.