Changes for the 2017/18 season
FC Bayern contest the official opening fixture of the 2017/18 Bundesliga season against Bayer 04 Leverkusen on Friday, and besides the new players a number of things have changed regarding the Allianz Arena and the schedule. fcbayern.com has summarised the changes.
Allianz Arena refit
The brand new video walls installed in the summer are the most impressive and salient change at the Allianz Arena. At 200 square metres, twice as large as the old ones, the screens are among the biggest in Europe. Besides, the floodlights have been modernised and a new turf was set up last week. But there have been improvements outside the stadium too. New guideposts for better orientation have been set up throughout the area. Security bollards have been installed to the north and south of the stadium to prevent unauthorised vehicles from entering the esplanade.
As usual Bundesliga matches will kick off on Fridays at 20.30 CEST, on Saturdays at 15.30 and 18.30 and on Sundays at 15.30. However, the Sunday evening match will begin at 18.00 instead of 17.30. Besides, a total of five matches will be staged on Sundays at 13.30 CEST and another five on Mondays at 20.30.
Bayern's recent arrivals are not the only new faces the fans will see in the 2017/18 season as there will be new referees too. The most interesting name is Bibiana Steinhaus, the first woman to take charge of Bundesliga matches. The 38-year-old boasts ten years of experience in the second division and most recently oversaw Bayern's cup encounter with Chemnitz. Besides Steinhaus, Martin Petersen, Sven Jablonski and Sören Storks have been promoted to the Bundesliga, whereas seasoned match officials Wolfgang Stark, Günter Perl and Joachim Drees have hung up their boots.
The match officials will be supported by the video assistant referee system for the first time. The assistant referee will be at a studio in Cologne during every match and point out incorrect decisions to the main referee. Decisions regarding goals, penalties, red cards and mistaken identities can be remedied. The main referee, who will be able to watch the footage on a screen on the sidelines, will make the final decision. Besides, the fourth official will be supported. The clubs will prepare the substitution boards themselves so that the officials will be able to focus on the happenings on the pitch.