In the late 1980s, Denmark's biggest team IF Brondby floated on the stock exchange and controversially acquired a bank, leaving themselves in debt. Meanwhile, another huge threat was forming over the other side of the city. In 1992 a “super merger” took place between 15-time champions KB and B1903, with the new club FC Copenhagen (known as FCK) using the latter’s licence to take a place in the top division from day one.
In addition, the new club were allowed to play their home games in the newly constructed 38,000-seat national stadium, Parken (six years later, FCK bought the stadium). As you can imagine, these developments didn't go down too well in Brøndby, and the resultant fierce rivalry has often boiled over into violence between the two when they meet each season.
Click to read a European Football Weekends account of an FCK-Brondby clash
Success followed almost immediately for FCK, as they won the Danish First Division in 1993. Whilst Brøndby won a trio of titles in the mid-1990’s it has been FCK who have dominated the domestic game ever since, winning seven titles to Brøndby’s two since 1998.
But it's in recent years that the gap between the two on and off the pitch has widened to a point where it's hard to imagine parity ever happening again. In 2008/09 FCK won the league by five points, with Brøndby also-rans in third place; the next season FCK finished nine points clear of second-placed OB. By the winter break in 2010/11 FCK were 19 points clear, still unbeaten and averaging nearly three goals a game.
However, it isn’t all about the domestic game. After a few “near misses” in Europe it seems this season FCK have got the formula right as they finished runners-up to Barcelona in the Champions League group stages, interestingly enough in the only group featuring four champions. Their reward for such performance was a draw against Chelsea in the first knockout round.
The Parken has been the home of the national stadium since the end of the Second World War. The ground went through significant redevelopment work in the early 1990s and then again in 2008/09 when a retractable roof was added allowing it to host concerts and other non-football events.
Now housing 38,050 seats, Parken is built on similar lines to a number of English grounds, with three separate box-type two-tier stands and the new single-tier stand behind one goal, which has offices and executive boxes in place of the upper tier. All of the stands offer unobstructed views of the action.
Parken has a UEFA 4-star rating and hosted the Cup Winners Cup Final in 1994 when Arsenal beat Parma. The Gunners came back again in 2000 for the UEFA Cup final, which they lost to Galatasaray on penalties. Its sub-50,000 capacity means it can’t be used for a Champions League final, but they've had plenty of big-name visitors: the retractable roof allows for concerts, such as the U2 in 2005 and the 2001 Eurovision Song Contest.
The best way to reach the Parken from the city centre is to catch bus 15 from Østerport Station. Alternatively the stadium is just a 15-minute walk from the station. If you're coming from the central station, then Bus 1A runs to Trianglen, which is a two-minute walk from the station. The stadium is also easily walkable from the Nyhavn area of the city centre. Just head back towards the city and turn right and follow the main road – the stadium will be a 25-minute walk away.
Crowds in Danish football are not known to be too high, and for most games buying tickets in advanced for the Parken are not necessary. The biggest game in Danish football is the Copenhagen derby when Brøndby come visiting. For tickets to see FC Copenhagen log onto http://www.billetlugen.dk or http://www.billetnet.dk . Tickets for mid-range matches range from 110Kr to 250Kr, ranging to 240Kr to 400Kr for the derby games.
AROUND THE STADIUM
The Parken is located in the north west of the city, not too far from the sea front. It is also located in the middle of a pleasant shopping area, and so you will find bars, restaurants and shops galore within a five minute walk from the ground. Get off at Østerport Station and turn right and within 5 minutes you will be walking past loads of places to stop to drink and eat.
Explore Copenhagen with our interactive map – click, drag and zoom
Guide written by Stuart Fuller, editor of The Ball Is Round football travel website
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