Located at the heart of the Ruhr valley in western Germany, Bochum's origins go as far back as the Stone Age.

In the 1800s, Bochum became a key producer of coal. The last working mine was closed in 1973, and the city shifted its commercial focus elsewhere, most notably automobile production and the service sector.

Bochum also suffered major damage at the hands of the Allied Forces during World War Two, and saw the city's Jewish citizens transported to Nazi concentration camps.

Population: 374,000

Sightseeing: Bochum is known for its parks and zoos (Ruhr University Botanical Gardens), religious structures (Propsteikirche St. Peter und Paul, built by Charlemagne) and unique architecture (Altes Brauhaus Rietkötter, one of the city's oldest houses).

World Cup stadium: Completed in 1979, the Ruhrstadion is the home of German Bundesliga team VfL Bochum and has a seating capacity of 20, 556. The stadium has staged several German women's national team matches, as well as games at last year's FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup.

2011 World Cup matches: Japan vs. New Zealand on June 27, Canada vs. France on June 30, Australia vs. Equatorial Guinea on July 3, North Korea vs. Colombia on July 6, quarter-final match-up on July 9.