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Turf, logistics, branding

Allianz Arena all set for six matches in 15 days

More than a million visitors swarmed the Oktoberfest on the first weekend as the hugely-popular festival got off to a fairytale start. However, the fairground hosting the annual event in Munich is not the only busy location in the city, because the Allianz Arena is staging six matches in no fewer than 15 days.

The phase that started on 14 September with Bayern's Bundesliga match against Hannover is unlike anything the Arena has ever before experienced in eight years of operations. The game against the men from Lower Saxony was followed by the Champions League match against CSKA Moscow (17 September) and will continue with another game against Hannover in the DFB Cup on Wednesday (25 September). This will be followed by the Bundesliga meeting with Wolfsburg (28 September), marking Bayern’s last match of the phase. The remaining two fixtures feature TSV 1860 Munich as the home team, with FCB’s rivals having entertained Aue (21 September) and now gearing up to meet Dortmund in the cup on Tuesday (24 September).

The two DFB Cup ties (1860 v Dortmund on Tuesday, and FCB v Hannover on Wednesday) are the highlights of the ‘frantic fall’. However, Arena CEO Jürgen Muth is not concerned, as he confirmed when he spoke to “It's not the first time we’ve had two games in two days.” The last occasion was in September 2009, and this season there are two more weekends scheduled to have both 1860 and Bayern play at home (once in December, once at the end of March). “The DFL knows we’re capable of managing the heavy load.”

Intensive turf maintenance

The pitch suffers a lot during the frantic fall, but Muth is very calm. He reports that the pitch is in “world-class condition” at the moment, first because the weather has been good, and second because there are not only three groundsmen, but also up to six experienced specialists working on the pitch at any given time. “We’re using the time we have very carefully,” Muth explained.

The most important part of the pitch management is to expose the turf to UV light. This gives the grass a chance to grow, even under suboptimal weather conditions. For this reason, Muth has no worries that the turf, which was laid at the start of August, will survive both the current intense period and the rest of the upcoming cold season. Slight improvements have already been made to the goalmouth areas. “We want to start the winter with a fantastic pitch, and we want to end it with the turf just as good,” he declared.

‘Fast in, fast out’ is also the motto of the rest of the Allianz Arena's logistics operation. Acting as quickly as possible, the staff is working on keeping the stadium clean, resupplying the catering services and changing the “branding” of the Arena, depending on the competition (Bundesliga, Bundesliga 2, DFB Cup or Champions League) and which team (1860 or Bayern) is playing. “Most of the work is done at night,” Muth explains. So even with six matches in 15 days, the Arena promises a flawless setting as always.