A few weeks ago, I was talking to a postdoc about German football and he turned out to be a huge football fan. A considerable part of his student days were spent following a couple of football teams all over Germany and he still goes to watch football games. I told him I'd love to watch a Bundesliga match sometime and he said getting tickets for a Bayern Munich match were impossible. Every game of theirs is sold out and they have a huge fan following out here in Bavaria. Anyway, after lunch he suddenly popped into my office and said he checked on the web and they were a few tickets available for a match in November. Obviously, I jumped at the chance and they weren't too expensive considering it's Bayern Munich.
We went yesterday to watch it and the stadium itself is stunning. From the outside, it looks like a spaceship. The outer skeleton is made of some weird material which can be lit up in different colours depending on the colour of the team playing on the day. Because of the world cup all the stadia were modernised but I wasn't prepared to see something like this.
Since it's a very modern stadium, the walk from the subway to the entrance to the seat were all very well planned. It was sold out (about 65 thousand people) but there was no rush, no pushing and it didn't feel like one was going to watch a soccer game. The seats weren't too bad and one feels incredibly close to the field as there's no running track in between. I walked all around the stadium and from every angle one felt close to the action.
The atmosphere somehow wasn't as crazy as I'd expected though. It's mainly because the Bayern supporters are very used to winning. Bayern's won the league almost every year for the last 10 years. It was the Hannover fans sitting in the section above us who were very loud and added to the noise. Hannover's last in the league and everyone expected a rout by Bayern, but surprisingly Hannover held on to a slim lead and won.
What surprised me was how fast the game went. Watching a football game on TV can be a bit tedious at times but this was great to watch. It wasn't the most exciting game and I got the impression Bayern took it too lightly, but watching the players pass, run and head with such ease was interesting. The only time I watched a football match in India was around 1988, when PSV Eindhoven came to play the Indian XI. We lost 8-0 in that match even though PSV was playing their second eleven. This one was reasonably evenly matched and after Bayern conceded a goal, it picked up in intensity.
Hanover had never won in Munich and after they won the fans behind me went crazy and I managed to make a few videos while I was there. Have to figure out a way to upload videos onto blogger. Any suggestions anyone?