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 60's as a second division side, but did manage its first appearance in the Bundesliga in 1966-67. It returned to the Bundesliga for two seasons in 1969-70, and again, for four seasons beginning in 1973-74. Since then Rot-Weiss has been a solid second or third tier club, with just one season spent in the Oberliga Nordrhein (IV) in 1998-99.
The club has been plagued by financial problems that saw it denied a license in 1984, 1991, and 1994, leading to demotion 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 German Cup final, which they lost 1:3 to Werder Bremen.
|2006/2007||13,620||2. Bundesliga (II)|
|2005/2006||12,287||Regionalliga Nord (III)|
|2004/2005||14,400||2. Bundesliga (II)|
Fortuna Düsseldorf, Rot-Weiß Oberhausen and Wuppertaler SV are hated rivals when they are playing in the same league (as it is actually [2007/2008] taking place). In the past, the local derbies vs SW Essen were big events, sometimes followed by more than 30,000 fans, but with SW Essen now vegetating in the Oberliga Nordrhein (IV), they are not taken seriously by the RWE-supporters. The most detested rivals are Schalke 04, resident in the city of Gelsenkirchen, only 15 train minutes away from the city of Essen. When RWE is playing Schalke, it is called the Ruhrderby (named by the near River Ruhr). It is an event of great interest, even among neutral football fans, and it is also - unfortunately - an occurrence of automatic riots and endless work for the police.
The RWE-followers foster a strong fan friendship with Werder Bremen, and a declining one with Borussia Dortmund. Due to the general improvement in German football, a trip to the Georg-Melches-Stadion in Essen is not as threatening as it once was. However, it is hardly a relaxing day out and sometimes it can be quite intimidating, although the police shows large presence. It is advised to exercise caution around the ground and not to wear the colours of the foreign club, at least when travelling alone.
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