Visiting Allianz Arena, home of Bayern Munich
Germany’s biggest football club, Bayern Munich, has a legion of loyal fans all over the world. If you’re visiting Munich, it’s definitely worth squeezing in a visit to their state-of-the-art Allianz Arena.
Bayern Munich has a fanbase that stretches far beyond the borders of Bavaria. Officially accredited fan clubs have sprung up across the globe: in London, the largest group is called the Red Dragons. The Red Dragons first launched in 2013, and today the club has over a hundred members who regularly fly to Munich to attend matches – when they’re not watching in their local pub, of course.
Thorsten Lamberty, the Red Dragons’ chairman, describes Bayern Munich as “one of the few clubs who actually have a real identity. It’s not just a bunch of bought-together guys, it’s a real grown-together team. Obviously we do transfers, but we always ensure that they integrate well, and we always have that German/Bavarian core. People can relate to that.”
Clearly, people can. Lamberty expects an impressive 350-400 supporters to attend their next London meetup; if nothing else, that’s a lot of Bavarian beer.
No one can claim to be a true fan of the team without doing the arena tour, and Lamberty has done it twice. He reckons Sunday is the best day to go: “It’s a lot quieter, much more relaxed, and you have space – you can look at everything. You can also go to the fan shop, whereas on match day, it can be too crowded.’
The arena tour costs €10 for adults, €6.50 for children aged 6-13, and €9 for concessions (students, senior citizens, schoolchildren, trainees, and people with disabilities). As you journey around the stadium, friendly and knowledgeable guides give you a thorough grounding in Bayern Munich’s history and home turf.
“They show you the stadium, and they explain why the sound is so good, how far it is from the furthest seat to the pitch, how they take care of the grounds – all these kinds of things,” says Lamberty. After, the guides take you to visit the team dressing rooms before leading you down the famous arena tunnel, “You actually walk through the tunnel onto the pitch – you are not allowed to go on the playing area, but you walk down that tunnel which you always see on TV. Every Bayern fan has to do it!”
After the tour, Lamberty recommends spending another hour exploring the club museum. With inside information on players, both past and present, and the opportunity to view everything from replica trophies to gifts awarded to the team over the years, the museum is sure to offer something new to even the most dedicated Bayern fan.
Planning for match days
If you’re flying to Munich on match day, book an early flight and give yourself plenty of time. The journey from the airport to the arena can be time-consuming, as Lamberty explains: “It’s a massive airport, and (the train) takes 45 minutes.” Our Park Inn by Radisson Munich Frankfurter Ring is a great base for your visit, just 45 minutes away from the arena by bus and U-bahn train.
Testament to the strong identity which unites the club’s global fanbase, Lamberty speaks highly of his fellow fans’ welcoming demeanour on match days: “Even when you are coming from far away, it is so easy to talk to people and to meet new friends. That’s probably the most enjoyable thing about going to the arena – well, that, and seeing the squad, and if Bayern win, of course!”