On Saturday, FC Bayern Munich plays the “Traumspiel”, the annual match against a fan club. And while it must be a dream come true for those lucky fans who get to take the pitch against their heroes, sometimes a dream come true comes as easily as visiting the stadium. Can you remember the thrill the first time you ever visited Allianz Arena (or the Olympiastadion?). For many overseas fans, the experience is a once in a lifetime experience. Our reader Rebecca finally got that chance a few weeks ago at the season opening at the Allianz Arena. Below, she shares her experience..
Since 1998 I have wanted to go to Germany and see Munich,its culture and of course FC Bayern. I booked a trip to Munich and a tour of the arena back in February and I had no idea about the open day but when I knew I would be in Munich at the same time as the open day, nothing would stop me from being there.
The night before, I could not sleep even though I had the most comfortable hotel anyone could wish for. But the tension filled my body, the questions raced through my mind: What would it be like? Would I see the players? Would the Allianz be as beautiful as it looks?
As soon as I stepped out of my hotel with my Olli Kahn jersey on (yes the same one I wore in 2001 when we won the Champions League), a German woman approached me. Now, I do speak a little German and I am getting better but right now they have to take it slow for me to understand! Oh how I wish I could of had a conversation with that sweet woman-as soon as she noticed it was Olli Kahn, she gave me a massive hug and a leaflet about the Allianz. She also tried to tell me where to go, but I didn’t understand,
So me and my dad left the lovely woman and went to get some breakfast. On the way, I met a lovely German Bayern fan and he told us where to go on the trams. But because it was our first time and we wanted to be there very early, so I could get close, my dad said “Let’s get a taxi.”
We went to a nice coffee shop and had some bagels and I tried sauerkraut for the first time. I wasn’t impressed, so I guess it’s only for Germans! But I could feel the tension
rising within my stomach-I couldn’t eat, I just wanted to get to the Allianz.
We got the taxi and I began to shake with excitement I was smiling with glee, as we got closer to the Allianz Arena. The nice taxi driver flew to the Allianz and I was soon there. WOW it took my breath away! I stared up at the Allianz I was finally here, a little tear crept down my face as I ran towards it. I began snapping pictures galore, and my dad took pictures of me next to the magnificent stadium-I was enthralled with it.
After the initial excitement faded a little, I finally noticed the outdoor activities while we waited for the big event to start. There was everything: trampolines for the children, a Paulaner bar (an amazing beer by the way) a giant blow up Berni the bear, a basketball
hoop and other wonderful activities. But of course I was first in line for the fan shop where I immediately bought me and my brother (who couldn’t be there) the new FC Bayern shirt and a cap.
So I walked around and then saw a booth where you could have a “picture with the team”. I couldn’t miss this opportunity, so I waited 45 minutes for the photo which was free and very good quality. When I saw it my, eyes lit up and I knew that well and truly I was at my beloved FC Bayern and it all hit me as I stared at the photo. I smiled excitedly and said to my dad ‘I’m here, I’m finally here’ and he smiled happily. He is a Wolverhampton Wanderers supporter but he loves me enough to not care. Anyway I waited round eagerly awaiting, legs aching tiredness setting in for half past three when it all kicked off.
The queues were manic but I didn’t care as I kept bumping into my friend I had met earlier (who spoke English) and tried to show me the way. Then they finally opened the gates and we all rushed to the best seats we could find (I raced faster than a cheetah in my opinion =P). When I finally sat down, the adrenaline hit me and I excitedly said ‘Wow this is unbelievable I can’t believe I’m here’, as I stared in awe at the beauty of the Allianz. It is a perfect work of art and seeing the beautiful green pitch and the big screen TV I knew I was at the greatest stadium in the world. The stadium announcer spoke only in German, but I could get parts. The camera swung around to every fan in the stadium including me and my dad I waved frantically and kissed my Bayern badge on my jersey with pride. We sat as the camera went on every fan especially the children-it stayed on them for long periods as they waved and smiled happily as they appeared on the big screen. After showing everyone in the crowd some kids came out and stood at the tunnel and they then brought out the massive Bayern flag to cover the centre circle as the announcer talked about what we would see today.
In true Bayern fashion, it was a show for everyone not just the football fan. I just couldn’t wait to see the players but even my dad enjoyed the show where you had spectacular dancers and athletes back flipping from the centre circle to the edge of the goal. It was awesome to watch, also there was a contest to see which fan would get to record the new Bayern song and they were judged as if it was a talent show.
Then with pride and such an atmosphere you had never ever seen ‘Stern des Sudens’ was played live and acoustic and we all sung along our hearts full of pride and adrenaline. I just couldn’t stop smiling-as it finished we all cheered and clapped the atmosphere was so breathtaking. The only thing that may be wrong with the Allianz is because it’s on a hill, so the wind is freezing, but I barely noticed as I awaited the arrival of the players. Then they began to announce as he said ‘die aktuell mannschaft’. I knew my boys were coming, and I jumped up out of my seat enthusiastically as he announced the first names of the players. We would scream the surname of the most famous ones like Arjen ROBBEN Franck RIBERY and my favourite Bayern player Bastian SCHWEINSTEIGER. The emotion of the moment as I saw my favourite players coming out of the tunnel and onto the field for a practice match against each other I can’t put into words.
You could see the joy the players had, everyone was chatting, laughing and slapping hands. They know playing for FC Bayern is a privilege. After they announced the players, the whole squad warmed up to get ready to play-it was White vs Red. Arjen was fouled, and he raised his arms and shouted for a free kick at one point and we all had to laugh at his seriousness and effort during the match. Eventually the Reds won after a goal scored by our capitano Philip Lahm of all people! After the match was finished the players approached the crowd and happily cheered with us and raised their arms to us. They hadn’t got time for autographs because they had to be in Trentino soon at the training camp but I didn’t mind.
To finish up, three fans were chosen to take penalties against Neuer who the people were enthralled to see finally playing for their club. One fan did score then Schweinsteiger stepped up and blastedin great penalty, then Robben stepped up charismatically tried to chip our new signing but failed as Neuer caught it.
I didn’t want to leave and I truly felt at home so I took as long as possible with as many pictures and videos as I could get and we slowly left the beautiful stadium. I kept looking back and staring at the perfection of the Allianz and I knew I would remember and adore this day for the rest of my life.
Danke FC Bayern for giving me one of the best experiences of my life