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New playing surface

Allianz Arena poised for 70,000 capacity

Saturday's highlight clash between Bayern and Werder Bremen had hardly come to an end before the Allianz Arena authorities swung into action. Taking advantage of a break in the German first and second division fixture programme for the next two weeks, stadium operator Munich Stadion GmbH has seized the opportunity to replace the playing surface.

Specialist equipment was moved into the towering temple of football on Monday morning to begin the mammoth task. The current pitch is scheduled for complete removal by Thursday, when work starts on laying pristine new turf. The total cost comes to approximately €100,000.

New surface should hold till end of term

The investment appears sound as the relaid pitch should now remain in good order until the end of the season. "That'll be it on the subject until then," Arena managing director Peter Kerspe declared. From now until late May 2006, the authorities expect 34 matches at the ground in Fröttmaning. The stadium has hosted 22 games since coming into operation, as well as a string of opening events which placed a huge strain on the current turf.

The players will be delighted at the prospect of a fresh surface, but the operating company also had good news for spectators. The authorities are planning to lodge an application with the relevant district council sub-committee this week requesting an increase in capacity from 66,000 to 70,000.

Work already underway

"Demand for tickets is enormous, especially for Bayern home games which have all sold out so far, and we'd like more fans to enjoy the chance of admission," Kerspe explained. All the Reds' home fixtures until Christmas are sold out, and the club has said it could have placed 150,000 tickets for the matches against Juventus and Bremen.

The potential increase has been made possible by alterations to specific seating and standing areas. Business seats in a stand previously reserved for sponsors in the West lower tier have already been replaced with standard seats, providing a further 1,000 seats in that area.

Kerspe: no reason to object

For Bundesliga matches, a further 3,000 places will be made available by removing seating from the north and south stands and converting the areas into standing terraces. The district council now has to examine whether transportation, security and logistical systems can cope satisfactorily with an extra 4,000 spectators. "But we've checked this out, and I can see no reason to object or problems we couldn't solve," Kerspe declared.