The Jinan Olympic Sports Center Stadium commonly referred to locally as Xiliu which translates as “West Willow” is a multi-purpose sports stadium which opened in 2009 to hold the 11th annual National Games of the People’s Republic of China.
Jinan Olympic Stadium is a multi-purpose arena which was specifically built for the 11th National Games of The People’s Republic of China. After the Shandong Province successfully earned the right to host the games construction began on 28th May 2006 and finished around three years later in 2009 just in time for the games.
Reportedly costing 2.5 billion yuan which equates to around $400 million USD the stadium is certainly an impressive construction, and it successfully hosted over 33 different sports across 43 disciplines including football during the tournament. In total the host region Shandong won overall after hosting earning the most medals across the 263 events.
Commonly known as Xiliu (Literally translated as West Willow) amongst the local populace, the name like The Teardrop Stadium is derived from the stadium’s external design and form factor. The external frame is comprised of numerous thin columns which supposedly has a passing resemblance to Willow Leaves.
The local football team Shandong Luneng Taishan moved into the stadium at the start of the 2013 season having previously used the Shandong Provincial Stadium for the past 19 seasons. The move to West Willow stadium has certainly proved fruitful with the club recording a second place finish in their inaugural season at the new ground, followed up by winning the FA Cup in 2014.
The highest level of football held at Jinan Stadium to date has undoubtedly been group matches of the 2014 AFC Champions League. Shandong were drawn against Pohang Steelers, Cerezo Osaka and Burriram United but failed to progress to the knock-out stages.