Saturday, 15 October 2011

Bayern Munich v Hertha Berlin. 15/10/11

"I'm Arjen Robben's brother. Can't you tell, I'm bald. Can we get a beer?"

Bayern Munich 4-0 Hertha Berlin. Allianz Arena.
Saturday 15/10/11.
Munich is one of my favourite cities in the world. It has everything the true redblooded male could want - beer in steins, a plethora of bierkellers and an aversion to any food substance that doesn't feature enough meat to clog an artery in an instant.

It also has the Allianz Arena, from the outside probably the most impressive stadium in the world. The inside doesn't quite live up to that but it is still a vast bowl and remains one of my favourite stadiums. Another reason why Munich is a popular destination.

Last time we were there it was for an absolute cracker of a 2.Bundesliga game between the cities poor relations 1860 Munich and Hansa Rostock. This time around it was to see the big boys and one of the finest teams in Europe, Bayern Munich taking on recently promoted Hertha Berlin.

Munich Town Hall - a wonderful building
Arriving at 9am with kick off not until 3pm is no problem in Bavaria as all the pubs open up for breakfast. The Hofbrauhaus is Munich's most famous establishment through it's world renowned beer and it's connections to Adolf Hitler and the early days of the NAZI party. My favourite bierkeller however is the Augustiner Keller, which is where we spent our pre-game drinking while consuming a large amount of meat, of course.

The Allianz is about a 20 minute U-Bahn journey from the city centre and is basically in the middle of what looks like a zombie wasteland. Linked into the station is a small shopping centre type place which features a couple of bars and it was here we learnt a trick that can only be considered life changing for all the wrong reasons.

Jager in a pint - ingenious from our German friends 
It's probably best described as the ultimate Jagerbomb - a small, shot bottle of Jagermeister dropped into a pint glass. I'm no Albert Einstein so I can't explain to you why the laws of physics means that the Jager stays in the bottle until you reach the end of your pint, we'll just have to accept it does. But when you do get down to the final quarter it is released creating a cocktail of strong German beer and strong German spirit. Ingenius.

Is it a giant tyre or a football stadium? The Allianz in all her glory
From the station you cross the barren wasteland beneath which there are car parks serving the stadium which looks like, depending on your frame of mind, a tyre, an inflatable boat or a huge exotic coiled up snake. It really is a fantastic sight and in an attempt to brighten up the dull location, Bayern have put a variety of activities outside the ground for fans to take part in such as a penalty shoot out and a giant inflatable bear which seemed to achieve nothing other than being a giant inflatable bear.

The former Defence Secretary Liam Fox joins the Bayern team
Everybody - that is home and away fans without any signs of trouble - enters the stadium through one vast turnstile block from which you can walk all the way around the outside exterior of the ground. Inside it's a three tiered effort that appears to be far bigger than it's 70,000 capacity . The majority of the noise comes from a terrace behind the goal which is small in comparison to the rest of the place and with the Hertha fans shoved miles away up with the Gods at the other end of the stadium, it didn't lead to much of an atmosphere given the fact that it was full on the day.

Inside the mighty Allianz
The home fans gathered on the terrace
It was a straight forward 4-0 victory for Bayern as they hammered home their title credentials as well as showing up Hertha's relegation chances. The scoresheet was a who's who of some of the worlds best players with Mario Gomez ,Franck Ribery and Bastian Schweinsteiger all on it within the first 15 minutes and Gomez adding a second half penalty. Manuel Neuer probably could have bought his bed onto the pitch and had a 90 minute nap if he wanted to.

Munich camped in Hertha's half. Pretty much the picture for the entire game
Getting away was surprisingly easy given the 69,000 fans and just one station for those using public transport and before long we were back in the city centre, joining a hen do for the evening after buying biscuits and schnaps attached to the bride-to-be's dress as is German custom, attempting to get free pints by claiming Rumble was Arjen Robben's brother due to them both being bald and ultimately drinking steins and singing songs with some locals in traditional Bavarian style in the Hofbrauhaus. That included lifting a heavy wooden table up with just two fingers from each hand with surprising ease. Must have been something in the beer - Bruce Banner needed a gamma ray to get superhuman strength, the average man can just drink three steins of Hofbrau.

Joining a hen do....
And lifting a table with our German friends in the Hofbrauhaus
Of course, it is not just the Allianz that Munich has as it's sporting venue and no trip would be complete without a visit to the Olympic Park for stunning views over the city and the nearby alps from the top of the Olympic Tower and the 1972 Olympic Stadium - scene of England's last memorable performance when even Heskey scored back in 2001.

The Olympic Stadium
Standard issue Olympic Stadium photo
In fact, it's not just those two venues either as in true/sad ground anoraks we even found time to visit Grunwalder Stadium, former home of Bayern and 1860 before the Olympic Stadium opened and currently used be the two sides reserve teams, making it former Tranmere man Dale Jennings' home ground.

Grunwalder - home of Bayern and 1860's reserves
Wonderful ticket window buying facilities
Three stadiums, Hofbrauhaus, Augustiner Keller and one of the best sides in the world smashing four goals in one of the most comprehensive top flight performances you are likely to see - thats why Ich leibe Munich.

Pint and football
The Allianz from the Olympic tower
The world famous Hofbrauhaus
Bayern Munich: Manuel Neuer, Jerome Boateng, Daniel van Buyten, Holger Badstuber, Philipp Lahm (Diego Conetento), Bastian Schweinsteiger 1, Anatoliy Tymoshchuk, Thomas Muller (David Alaba), Toni Kroos, Franck Ribery 1, Mario Gomez 2 (Ivica Olic).

Hertha Berlin: Thomas Kraft, Christian Lell, Andre Mijatovic, Roman Hubnik, Levan Kobiashvili, Andreas Ottl, Peter Niemeyer, Patrick Ebert (Fabian Lustenberger), Raffael, Anis Ben-Hatira (Alfredo Morales), Pierre-Michel Lasogga (Adrian Ramos).

Attendance: 69,000

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