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Spring in the air

Allianz Arena in superb condition for restart

Ivica Olic has not forgotten his winters in Russia. “It was bad,” the former CSKA Moscow striker admitted, shuddering at the memory of his spell in the eastern metropolis. The icy conditions currently prevailing in Munich and the whole of Germany are child’s play by comparison. “It’s still good here,” Olic insisted. At the Allianz Arena, it’s actually very good, as a hint of spring will be in the air when Bayern face Hoffenheim on Friday evening.

The playing surface is currently showing a temperature of eight degrees Celsius, with a positively balmy 15 degrees at the roots – all thanks to the undersoil heating, which has been constantly in operation at the Allianz Arena since the autumn. However, that’s only one reason why, in mid-January and two days ahead of the Bundesliga restart fixture, the groundsman has been out with his mower. The grass has actually grown in recent weeks.

Sun studio for the turf

That’s due to a special lighting system, whereby a mobile solarium criss-crosses the pitch to optimise the light falling on the hallowed turf. For two full days, some 600 lamps rated at 1,000 watts traverse one half of the field, after which it is the other half’s turn. The method was successfully trialled last winter, and has been installed at the Allianz Arena on a permanent basis as of this season.