TSV 1860 München – FC Hansa Rostock

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Allianz-Arena, München

Visited 13/05/2007
2nd Bundesliga: TSV 1860 München – FC Hansa Rostock 1-2
Attendance: 36.100

Maybe the name of the 2nd club of Munich is a bit misleading: the more than 20,000 members of the “TSV 1860 von München” will claim it has existed for over 150 years, but football only became a part of this in 1899. The colors of the governing bodies of the Sport Association 1860 Munich are green and gold but nearly everyone associates the club with the (light) blue and white silks of the football team. “Die Löwen” are originally a workers club from the district of Giesing in the Southeast of the city centre and in contrast to the neighbors of FC Bayern 1860 recrutes its fans mainly in the city of Munich and surrounding villages. Despite the fact that the club now has been playing for 3 seasons in the 2nd Bundesliga (2007) she still ranks among the top 4 of the most popular clubs in Germany with 50,000 registered fans .
Their biggest successes “the Lions” celebrated in the 1960’s. The team, which in 1964 won the German Cup for the 2nd time in club history, played the final of the European Cup winners’ Cup against West Ham United the following season. Another year later, in 1966, their first (and last) championship of Germany was celebrated. The strongest period in the club’s history did not only affect 1860 but also had consequences for the neighbours of FC Bayern. At the time that “Die Löwen” dominated the football in Munich the Bundesliga was christened and because the German Football Association did not want to have 2 clubs of the same city at the highest level, FC Bayern had to start a division lower. Unfortunately the people at the Grünwalder Straße would not enjoy their status as number 1 in Bavaria for very long. Things went from bad to worse for 1860 and after she was refused a Bundesliga license in 1982, the club returned to the Bayern League. As the ultimate antithesis of the mundane FC Bayern TSV 1860 Munich acquired a status as “Kultverein” in Germany and the matches in the cozy Stadium in Giesing often drew more spectators than some games in the Bundesliga.

It would take till the mid-1990s before the Lions would roar again in the Bundesliga. President Karl-Heinz Wildmoser was ambitious and wanted his club back into Europe. However a mandatory move to the often only half-filled Olympic Stadium and the overconfident ambitions of President did the image of the former people’s club no good. Nevertheless, 1860 did obtain a 4th place finish in the millennium season but did not manage to qualify for the Champions League being eliminated by Leeds United. When a few years later the club was named in a corruption scandal the “Löwen” were relegated once more. The German football fan turned its back on 1860. Only in their home town the club could still count on some support. City rival Bayern Munich offered the “Sechzigers” even a loan of 11 million euros to keep their heads above water.

As usual in Germany it is a piece of cake get to the Stadium from the city centre by public transport. The information boards in the U-Bahn (underground) station leave no doubt what line goes towards the Allianz-Arena and even if you missed it the white and blue tsunami from the city centre in the direction of Fröttmaning is easy to follow. The famous light blue of 1860 and the slightly darker blue hue of the shirts of Hansa Rostock in our carriage is almost uniform. I easily notice some Austrian fans from Salzburg who wear the yellow black colors of a, unknown to me, club.

From the metro stop in Fröttmaning it is approximately a 10-minute walk to the Allianz-Arena which is waiting for us under a steel blue sky. The walk is unfortunately not a very scenic one. The stadium is bordered on one side by the Autobahn while the other three sides have 3 artificial tumuli. Below the lowest of the three hills where the esplanade towards the stadium is located, lurks with 9,800 place the largest parking garage in Europe. Under the second hill are decades of domestic waste pressed while the third hill forms a buffer between the Allianz-Arena and the current urban landfill. In stark contrast with so much household waste, stands the stylish and luxurious Allianz-Arena itself. The outside façade of this modern construction work is unique and the 2,874 inflatable pillows of UV-permeable foil soon gave the football temple the nicknames “Schwimmreifen” (swimming band) and “Gummi ship” (rubber boot). Because the lowest pillows are 4 meters above the ground, it gives the stadium, especially when it is illuminated at night, the impression to float. For once, I think it is a pity that, from a photograph perspective, the game is played during the day and not at night. Otherwise I would have been welcomed by a blue colored Stadium as depending on the occupant of the arena 8,448 red (FC Bayern), 8,448 blue (1860) or 8,448 white (neutral) lamps illuminate the facade on matchday. Unfortunately, on a beautiful clear summer day like today the unique lighting would miss the intended effect so it is switched off.

The story of the Allianz-Arena begins with a referendum in October 2001. As a host city for the 2006 World Cup Munich had two possibilities: either adapt the beautiful 30 year old Olympiastadion to the needs of the 21st century, or build a new stadium North of the city. Because 2/3 of the consulted population chose a new stadium, an international architecture competition was held which was won by the Swiss duo Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron with their original air cushion design. The stadium was built between October 2002 and May 2005 for no less than 340 million euros. In order to limit the construction work in height the playing field and the lowest of the 3 rings are below the ground floor level. Nevertheless, the total height of the Allianz-Arena is still around 50 meters.

The closer I get to the Allianz-Arena, the more impressive it is. What particularly stands out are the sober and neutral tones. Especially now that that the outside lighting is off you’d have to search for the typical light blue of “Löwen”. In the end I find a plaque with the sponsor names in blue but even that is probably removed after the match. I also notice a special women entrance. Beyond the fact that only female stewards are frisking the female fans I detect no typical female characteristics. No mirrors to see if their hair is still ok or gossip mags to make the waiting more agreeable. I decide to take the Male Chauvinist Pig entrance.

The name “Allianz-Arena” refers to the “Allianz AG” insurance company who are headquartered in Munich. They have the name rights the stadium until 2021. A more romantic statement of the concept of “Allianz” would refer to the friendly side by side of FC Bayern and TSV 1860 Munich. That both clubs live next to each other explains the 2 separate restaurants and the 2 separate club shops. Big brother FC Bayern also has its own museum but on days when 1860 is playing at home all Bayern establishments are closed. Those who fear that this means they will perish of hunger or thirst during a game of one of the two Munich clubs I can reassure: in addition to the 2 club restaurants the Allianz Arena still a family restaurant, a coffee shop, 28 food stalls and a cafeteria for the press. Furthermore, there are also 3 childcare centers, a showroom of Audi and a Deutsche Telekom center. I pass by the “Allianz-Arena shop” where I buy a cardboard model of the stadium and a series of postcards before joining the mass to the “1860 shop” to find a pin.

Before finding my seat I pass by one of the kiosks for a beer and a bretzel.
Since 1860 Munich shares their logo and colors with a well-known brewery in Munich, I had expected half a litre of Löwenbräu. The House brand of the club however is Hacker-Pschorr, another beer magnate from the Bavarian capital. You can only pay with an Arena Card which you have to top up separately. The card itself however, is free.

My seat behind the goal and above the kop of 1860 is one of the 24,000 seats on the center ring. The lower ring holds 20,000 seats while the upper ring, which today is only used for some mega flags, can seat up to 22,000 spectators. With 106 boxes “the swimming band” is the German League-leader in the field of watching football in luxury. On top of this record number of luxury boxes the stadium has an additional 2,200 business seats. All 66.000 seats in the arena are unambiguous grey. Not the most exciting color but I understand the idea of the designers trying to emphasize the green playing field. The stadium in the mean time is filling up nicely and after counting up to (18)60 several times with the club anthem of “die Löwen” both teams enter the playing field.

Despite 4 straight losses Rostock is still in 2nd place in the 2nd Bundesliga ranking with two games left in the season. Especially the 0-3 home loss last week against a modest Koblenz came as a shock. If they want to return to the Bundesliga a victory today is a must for the Hanseaten. That is why more than 7,000 fans traveled with their team to the Allianz-Arena to shout them to victory. To put this into perspective, a single journey from the Baltic Sea to the Bavarian capital by car takes more than 7 hours to complete.
Although there’s nothing more at stake for 1860 the Löwen-fans still flock to the stadium. Their last major game of the season the boys from Munich played last week at home against Unterhaching. 1860 Munich won the derby with the smallest difference and it gave it a little color to a disappointing season. Today, the home fans bid farewell to the 2006-2007 season but also to their Australian idol Paul Agostino who, after a long European career, says goodbye and returns to the other side of the globe. Agostino is unfortunately injured meaning he can only join the celebrations before and after the match and not on the pitch as he would have wanted. For me Agostino is an old acquaintance. Almost 14 years ago I saw him with his first European club, Young Boys Bern, at FC Sion. How much rounder can a circle be?

The Australian is not the only big name missing on the team sheet of the home club. It is also missing Czech international Roman Tyce and the Austrian Harald Cerny. American international Gregg Berhalter unfortunately is on the sheet. He is by far the weakest player on the pitch. It seems as if today’s game is not meant for big names as the visitors from Rostock are also missing Michael Hartmann and Stefan Beinlich. Fortunately I recognize with René Rydlewicz and goalkeeper Mathias Schober some familiar-sounding names in the first 11 of Frank Pagelsdorf.

Both teams have a rather timid start to the match but that does not take long as after about 10 minutes Hansa player Rahn scores. The very active 7,000 Rostockers fans go crazy as after weeks of losses the tide finally seems to be turning. The game however is not over, 1860 fulfills its duty and starts looking for the equalizer. The key moment of the match is in the 24th minute when home player Göktan misses a one-on-one against goalkeeper Schober but the resulting counter attack is successful, Hanseaat Core scores the comfortable 0-2. A few minutes later the score is almost 0-3 but fortunately for the Lions and for the tension in the game Cabrera misses the unique opportunity for a safe lead. It keeps raining opportunities on both sides and when Baier just before half time hits the post after a nice piece of skill it starts to dawn on the 36,000 spectators that the football gods have put their money today on FC Hansa.

After several tactical substitutions during half time 1860 keeps the pressure on the Rostockers during the 2nd half.  Göktan scores the 1-2 10 minutes from the end with a beautiful free kick and now Frank Pagelsdorf and his friends face a nail-biting finish to the game. When the final whistle echoes through the stadium the whole Rostock-family heaves one big sigh of relief. The realization with players and fans that with one game left in the season promotion is still not a fact slowly sinks in. FC Hansa Rostock might have gained three points in Munich, convincing it was not.

On the way back to the U-Bahn, myself and a few dozen other fans are entertained by a running Rostock fan. The man’s trousers are clearly bought a few sizes too large and in full euphoria he seems to have given up the fight to keep his trousers up. When he finally reaches the car park they’re almost on his knees. It is an interesting image to remember my first visit to the Allianz-Arena by.
Europese Voetbalstadions. HEATLEY Michael, Atrium

Fussball Derbys: die 75 Fußball-verrücktesten Städte der Welt. GISLER Omar, Copress Sport

Kicker Sonderheft Bundesliga 06/07

“Lichtgestalt am Rande der Stadt”. NEY Matthias in Stadionwelt N° 15, nov. 2005

“Mehr Stadion geht nicht”. NEY Matthias in Stadionwelt N° 18 juni/juli 2006

“Rostock bleibt auf zwei”.  www.kicker.de

“Tempel der Erleuchtung”, DIENER Stefan in Stadionwelt N° 3 aug. 2004

“Voetbal Tempels”. SPAMPINATO Angelo, Tectum