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Bavarian Grass Works: The sorry state of Stuttgart’s stadium pitch

I’m pretty sure there are better pitches in the Oberliga and below.

VfB Stuttgart - Bayern Munich Photo by Tom Weller/picture alliance via Getty Images

Bayern Munich’s 5-0 victory over VfB Stuttgart had a number of talking points, namely Serge Gnabry’s three-goal, two-assist-stellar performance, Marc Roca’s surprisingly good outing, and Bayern’s first five-goal haul in god knows how long. One of them, though, wasn’t related to the football, but rather the football pitch.

I’m willing to bet I’m not the only one who grimaced at the state of the Mercedes-Benz Arena’s pitch. Simply put, it was ghastly. It had very visible bits of brown mixed in with the grass, making it look like a gigantic chocolate chip cookie. Tufts of grass and mud were strewn all over the pitch, resulting in a very rough surface resembling a demolition derby track. Every time a player kicked the ball too hard, a handful of turf flew into the air. As a result, there were a ton of missed passes from both teams, and all players were lucky to escape with no injuries(well, except Kingsley Coman, but his injury wasn’t because of the pitch).

Ever get the feeling that you’ve seen better pitches around your house than on TV? I have, a fair few times. Today was one of them. Even the Seoul World Cup stadium, which is notorious for its bad grass, has to take a step back in front of what we played on today. Heck, this pitch wasn’t much better than the big sandlot behind my apartment here in Korea, and that sandlot doesn’t even have grass. It almost made me yearn for AstroTurf, and I’m no fan of AstroTurf, it took a chunk out of my arm once (long story).

Bayern coach Julian Nagelsmann explicitly came out and said that the pitch “was not Bundesliga level.” If a coach on the winning side has complaints, you know you have one bad pitch. It’s sad to see such a shameful advertisement for the Bundesliga, when it needs all the good publicity it can get. I don’t know where Stuttgart is using its sponsor money from Mercedes-Benz, but they could really do with investing in a decent pitch.

That said, props to Bayern Munich for putting in a dominant performance on such terrible terrain. Leave your complaints in the comments below!

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