A BIG part of why Bayern is Bayern is its ever-present army of fans. Be it late-night Pokal games against third-tier clubs or huge, intimidating Champions League games against the best in the world, Bayern can always count on its home fan crowd at the Allianz. The club has been known to have one of the best fan-driven stadiums in Europe, with the Allianz Arena truly being a “fortress.”
The 75,000-seater den, the atmosphere created by the fans on big matchdays, the currywurst and Weissbier passed around and the whole Marienplatz-Säbener “vibe” are all integral facets of Bayern Munich’s historical tradition. The “Mia San Mia” motto reverberates in every heart of every Bayern Munich fan, and that’s what makes us proud, no matter the numerous highs and lows along the journey.
BFW writer and game-thread guru Ineednoname (who needs no introduction if you’re familiar with this blog) had the chance to be at the Allianz for Bayern’s titanic clash with Liverpool in the UEFA Champions League. In this interview, he shares his experience as a Bayern fan. We thank him for his contributions, considering he is under immense jet-lag and may pass out for a day or two.
1. How is life in Munich? Any must-visit spots you would recommend to our readers?
Both this time and the last, I didn’t spend much time in Munich. Last year, my trip went like this: Day 1, arrival. Day 2, visit the Allianz Arena, buy as much merchandise as possible at the fan store. Day 3, matchday. Spent almost the entire day at the stadium. Day 4, a visit to the Marienplatz. That’s as far as I’ve gotten so far, last year my trip didn’t have a day 5. I can’t really give anyone recommendations, I’m a very bad traveler, I usually prefer to stay at home.
2. Haha, you’re not the only one, I’m sure. Did you get to try out any local delicacies? If so, which ones?
I ate some white sausages [ed.: traditional Weißwurst] at the hotel last year, they were nice but not amazing [ed.: heresy]. But this year I ate something called a Leberkäs at the stadium and it was delicious. One thing you have to get used to as an Indian person when in Germany is that much of the food is very bland, not many spices. Not that bland is a bad thing! Just, different. I’m not much of a foodie either, so um, that’s all I can say about this one.
3. Cool! Now, to the more interesting bits. How are the facilities for the fans at the Allianz?
Okay, this is gonna be a long one. TL;DR? The Allianz Arena is AMAZING. Let me explain:
Food: There are loads and loads of food counters in the stadium, and also an Arena Bistro. All the food sold is exceptionally good, probably the best meals I had in Munich were at the Allianz Arena. One of the best parts about the bistro is that it’s pretty big and there are a few TVs inside, so you can follow other games before yours kicks off. Last year, I ended up huddled together with a bunch of German fans around one of the TVs, and we spent our time laughing at Dortmund because they were just so bad under Stöger.
Store: The FCB Megastore is massive and basically has everything you could want as a fan of Bayern Munich.
Relaxation: If you pay extra, you can get a business seat and get access to the really cushy VIP Lounge, which is huge and oh so comfortable. It’s basically a big restaurant with some amazing views of the pitch. I didn’t have a business seat, but we got to see the place in the Matchday Tour.
Comfort: Speaking of which, there’s a kind of laid-back atmosphere to the Allianz Arena that made the matchday experience so much more enjoyable to me. The staff were all nice and helpful, and there wasn’t an overbearing police presence or excessive security checking that you sometimes tend to see. This makes the stadium feel less like an airport and more like a place to go and enjoy yourself. A stadium visit isn’t something that should stress you out, and the Arena is great at achieving this.
Museum: The FC Bayern Erlebniswelt is decently big and has a ton of wonderful exhibitions that are a must to look at for any Bayern fan. There’s also a little cafe inside the museum, where you have a selection of drinks and light snacks for sale. That’s where I spent about two hours waiting for the game to start. It’s a nice little area, so if you’re done looking at the museum, you can take a seat and converse with some other match-going fans there.
Tour: There are a bunch of tours you can opt for, I went for the matchday tour. More detailed answer in the next section.
Amenities: Amenities are good, nothing to complain about. Although, it is a fact that there are so many people leaving the stadium at full time that the train system can’t keep up. Expect to spend at least half an hour standing out in the cold outside the train station if you chose to stay until full time.
4. What parts of the stadium tour did you enjoy the most?
The best part of the Matchday Tour was when we got to go down pitchside and sit in the dugouts. I actually got to sit in the manager’s chair (there’s a picture, members of BFW’s slack group will testify to this). Aside from that, if you follow Bayern closely like me, then nothing on the tour will truly awe you. There’s a little bit of novelty to seeing things you’ve only seen on TV in real life, but it’s not enough to leave a truly lasting impression. The pitchside visit is what really makes the tour worthwhile.
5. Last but far from least, how was the atmosphere at the Allianz?
The atmosphere was excellent, far better than the game itself. Sitting as a Bayern fan, you really do feel like you’re a part of the greater collective. The ultras lead the chants and the rest of the fans follow their cue.
In addition, for the Liverpool game they gave use these cards that we used to make the choreo happen. After the choreo was over, we could fold them into a fan like thing that made a huge racket when smacked against a hard surface. That clapping you heard on TV? That was the us using those fan things. They sound deafening inside the stadium, you maybe heard 5% on TV. We clapped whenever the team did something nice, and whistled or jeered whenever Liverpool did something or the ref gave a call against us.
The fans were behind the team 100% — but they let us down. We were so loud until the 84th minute. Bayern were under pressure, Liverpool were winning corners. So all of us stood up and increased the noise to spur them on ... aaaaaand Mané scored. That killed it. No one clapped or did anything after that. Only the ultras (and Liverpool fans) kept singing, but otherwise the atmosphere became a bit funereal. We really did try everything, we sang and yelled so much, it was devastating when that goal went in, made me feel everything was pointless. I wish we’d achieved a greater result, because the fans really deserved more for their performance.
Thank you so much for that input, INNN! It is a shame Bayern just didn’t give their all to try and grab a win, and I think we all can agree that the fans certainly deserved MUCH better. That said, we as Bayern Munich fans should always be proud of the values this club radiates, our amazing stadium and the wonderful facilities available to make fans feel comfortable and at home. Let’s now hope that we get the domestic double wrapped up at the very least by the end of the season. Mia San Mia, and PACKMAS!