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Robust and 'incredibly flat'

Hybrid turf for training ground and Arena

There is certainly a buzz at the Säbener Strasse training ground ahead of the new campaign. Three huge tents have been erected on long tracks on training ground number one for the past ten days. They inch forward with a hiss, rattle and a hum. When the work is completed the FCB training ground will have one of the most innovative playing surfaces in the world: Desso GrassMaster hybrid turf.

This consists of a combination of natural grass and plastic fibres with the artificial grass making up just three percent of the overall surface area. Work at Säbener Strasse is now in the closing stages and has already been completed at the Allianz Arena. “These hybrid turf systems are proving to be a big hit in England. They’re used in 50 percent of the grounds,” explained Allianz Arena München Stadion GmbH CEO Jürgen Muth.

The new turf will be more durable, permeable and provide a consistent playing surface over the course of the whole season. It also has “sporting benefits” as it is “incredibly level” as Muth explained. “This flat surface is really helpful for the technically demanding game played by FC Bayern.” The balls travel in a straight line and there is hardly any deviation as chunks of turf do not get kicked out of the ground.

Champions League win on hybrid turf

Bayern have clocked up a lot of positive experiences on hybrid turf in the recent past. The Champions League triumph at Wembley Stadium in 2013, and last season’s victories at Arsenal (2-0), Manchester City (3-1) and Wolfsburg (6-1) were all achieved on the new playing surface. The Volkswagen Arena at Wolfsburg was the only Bundesliga stadium with hybrid turf and now the Allianz Arena has followed suit.

“We’re firmly convinced the surface will last five, six or even eight to ten years,” said Muth. “The key factor is to allow the natural grass to completely recover each year and that means taking up the old grass and reseeding it.” The artificial fibres stay in place. The natural grass on the number one pitch at Säbener Strasse will be renewed at the end of each season in the future.

Giant sewing machines

The hybrid turf is currently being installed. Since the end of May diggers, bulldozers and tractors have removed the old turf, laid down a new layer of earth and sown the new turf. When the first grass emerged three computer-controlled tents were brought in. Each one contained a giant sewing machine that planted the green plastic fibres in two centimetre squares at a depth of 18 to 20 centimetres. 15 to 20 millimetres stand above the surface of the soil. The natural grass will be cut to two or three millimetres above it.

Approximately 20 million artificial fibres will be planted by next week. The ground will then remain unused for three weeks to allow the grass roots to intermingle with the artificial stalks. Philipp Lahm, Arjen Robben & Co will then be able to play their first passes on the new turf.