Ernst Happel Stadion is the national football stadium of Austria, located in Vienna. It is the largest football stadium in Austria with a current capacity of 58500.
It has been named after the most successful manager Austria has produced- Ernst Happel. Before it's recent renaming in 1992, the stadium was previously called Prater Stadion.
The stadium is not affiliated to any club. However, since the home stadiums of Austria’s premier clubs Austria Wien and Rapid Wien do not meet the UEFA criteria, home games of these clubs in the Champions League and Europa League are played here.
The construction process of the Stadion started in 1928 and was completed in 1931. Otto Ernst Schweizer is credited as the chief architect of the Stadion. He not only designed the sports arena, but also a multifunctional sports center with bathing facilities, cycle track, gymnasiums and library.
After 23 months of construction, the Vienna Stadium was ceremoniously opened with the Second Workers' Olympics. More than 100,000 people from all over Europe and overseas to Vienna for this mass sports event.
Ernst Happel Stadion hosted the final of the 2008 UEFA Euro Cup. Apart from that, it had hosted the finals of European Cup in 1964, 1987 and 1990 and Champions League in 1995.
It also hosted the finals of UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup in 1970. The Stadion witnessed a record attendance of 92000 in a match between Spain and Austria which the hosts won 3-1.
The Stadion has its share of murky past. It was used as a prison during the times of Holocaust in Austria and Jews were detained and kept inside the stadium before deporting them to concentration camps in 1939.
Home team Rapid Wien were severely criticised by UEFA when the fans flung out hateful banners with profanities directed to the visiting team Valencia in the second leg of Europa League round of 32 encounter.
Valencia went on to trounce the home team 4-0 on the night and 10-0 on aggregate. UEFA went on to look into the matter and directed Rapid Wien to remove the banner.