SV Waldhof Mannheim is a multi-sports club, located in Mannheim, Baden-Wurttemberg. It is most known for its association football team; however, there are also professional handball and table-tennis sides. The club today has a membership of over 2,400.
The club was founded 1907 and played in the second division of the Westkreis-Liga before the First World War. Waldhof became part of the Kreisliga Odenwald in 1919 and won this league in 1920 and 1921. In each of those seasons, the club failed to advance in the Southern German championship because it was grouped with all-powerful 1. FC Nurnberg at the time. The club took a Bezirksliga Rhein championship in 1924 before joining the Bezirksliga Rhein-Saar in 1927, where it won five out of the next six division titles without ever performing particularly well in the Southern championship.
Its enjoyed its best performances in the Gauliga Baden, one of sixteen top-flight divisions established through the 1933 re-organization of German football under the Third Reich. Waldhof dominated the division through the 1930s and into the early 1940s, capturing the title five times. They were unable, however, to translate that into success at the national level. Their best result came in 1940 when they went out in a semi-final against FC Schalke 04, the dominant side of the era, before settling for fourth place after losing a consolation round match to Rapid Vienna.
After World War II, Waldhof competed in the Oberliga Sud, where they earned mid-table results until being relegated to the 2nd Oberliga Sud in 1954. They bounced up and down between first and second division play until the formation of the Bundesliga, Germany's new professional football league, in 1963. The next season saw them in the tier II Regionalliga Sud alongside local rivals VfR Mannheim. A string of unimpressive results finally led to relegation to the Amateurliga Nordbaden (III) in 1970.
Support from a new sponsor, the snack chip maker Chio, revived the team and helped their return to the second division where they played as SV Chio Waldhof Mannheim from 1972 to 1978. They continued to play as a middling side there until they broke through to the Bundesliga in 1983. Waldhof spent seven seasons in the top flight until a 17th-place finish saw the club relegated at the end of the 1989–90 season. They played for seven seasons as a 2. Bundesliga club until slipping to the Regionalliga Sud for two seasons in 1997–99. A merger with VfR Mannheim was considered in 1998 but the club walked away from a deal at the last minute. Their return to the 2. Bundesliga in 1999 after a season-long struggle with Kickers Offenbach was cut short in 2003 when financial irregularities saw the German Football Association deny the team a licence, dropping them to the Oberliga Baden-Wurttemberg (IV). Another attempt at a merger with VfR failed that same year. The club played in the Oberliga Baden-Wurttemberg until 2007–08, when a third-place finish allowed them to qualify for the Regionalliga.
After coming fourth in the Regionalliga Sud in 2008–09, the club moved to the Regionalliga West in 2009–10 to balance out the three Regionalligas.
Waldhof again had their licence withdrawn in 2010 and were demoted back to the Oberliga Baden-Wurttemberg, now the fifth level of German football, despite having finished clear of the relegation zone with the league's smallest budget. Waldhof spent only one year in the Oberliga, winning the league in 2010–11 and advancing directly back to the Regionalliga. On 11 June 2011 they defeated FV Illertissen 6–0 in their final league match to clinch promotion and also set a new fifth division attendance record of 18,312. It surpassed the previous record, the 2009 Leipzig derby, by more than 3,000 spectators.
At the end of the 2011–12, season the club was grouped into the new Regionalliga Sudwest, which replaced the Regionalliga Sud in the region. Waldhof won the league in 2015–16 but lost to Sportfreunde Lotte in the promotion round. They also lost promotion play-offs in the following two seasons after finishing second in the Regionalliga Sudwest, to Meppen on penalties in 2017 and to KFC Uerdingen in 2018 after crowd disturbances caused the second leg to be abandoned while Waldhof were losing 3–1 on aggregate. In the 2018–19 season, the team secured the Regionalliga Sudwest championship and direct promotion to the 3. Liga on the 30th matchday with a 1–0 home win over Wormatia Worms.
This page also has a version in other languages: Вальдхоф (русский)