Cities

Away days: 24 hours in Munich

Beer halls, classic grounds and great football make Munich a rich pilgrimage for any travelling fan

WORDS Michael Harrold

Few cities are as steeped in football culture as Munich and it was there, with a craving for Bratwurst, beer and Bayern, that Champions Journal touched down on 6 November for the Group B game against Olympiacos.

Our first stop? The Olympiastadion, for a glimpse of history. As the great stadiums of the past are razed to the ground or rebuilt, it is a treat to see this one – saved and seemingly frozen in time since Bayern moved out in 2005. Even the pitch looks freshly mowed, as if kick-off awaits.

We walk up around the back of the old west stand and peer below at the stage for so many iconic moments. Germany’s triumph in the 1974 World Cup. Marco van Basten’s magnificent volley in the 1988 European Championship final. Trevor Francis heading Nottingham Forest into European Cup legend in 1979. Marseille winning the new-fangled Champions League in 1993, and Lars Ricken’s dash from the halfway line for Dortmund against Juventus four years later.

A living museum to those landmark events, the stadium is the centrepiece of the Olympic Park. Its extraordinary translucent roof seems almost reptilian, with scales snaking across and linking the park’s main arenas to the entrance. To get a wider perspective on architect Günther Behnisch’s vision, it’s a good plan to take the lift in the nearby Olympic Tower. At 192m high, the observation deck also offers great views of the city – and even the Alps beyond.

Fans enjoy the action at Munich’s top football bar (above); the Olympiastadion (top right); for food head to the Viktualienmarkt (right)

We jump back on the U-bahn at Olympiazentrum and head for Marienplatz in the city centre, which is a good spot to get your bearings. The Neues Rathaus – the new town hall – takes up the north side of the square in all its neo-gothic glory. It is here, on the first-floor balcony, that the city’s powerhouse club show off their silverware, with around 15,000 gathering in May after another domestic double. There are no crowds when we visit, but a few tour groups and Olympiacos fans are enjoying the famous Glockenspiel show several floors up.

Following our nose, we are then lured away to the nearby Viktualienmarkt, Munich’s central food market. We keep it simple and start with a Bratwurst on bread with mustard. Across the road, a long queue draws attention to another stall. Everyone is ordering the Leberkässemmel – a sort of meatloaf sandwich – and it’s hard to resist. Verdict: wonderful.

Munich is renowned for Oktoberfest and its lively beergardens. However, we’re visiting in November so to beat the chill, we venture indoors to one of the vast Bierhalle. Perhaps the most famous of all is the Hofbräuhaus (Platzl 9; U-bahn/S-bahn stop Marienplatz), a massive maze of seven different halls plus a garden, and it’s packed when we arrive three hours ahead of kick-off.  

The rain has started to fall but the ground is aglow in red and, inside, the Bayern faithful are in full voice as kick-off approaches

Wandering through a series of rooms, we finally settle on the spacious Schwemme, which seats 1,300 people. The tables are long and designed for sharing; we sit down next to three Bayern fans who recommend Schweinshaxe and Weissbier – a huge pork knuckle accompanied by a wheat beer – swiftly followed by Dunkel (dark) and Helles (light) lagers.

The Schwemme is the main hall. Its vaulted ceiling and wood panelling reverberate to the sound of a traditional Bavarian brass band – clad, of course, in lederhosen. The Hofbräuhaus may be firmly on the tourist circuit now but it still provides excellent pre-match entertainment.

The Fußball Arena München itself is half an hour by metro from Marienplatz and we take the U6 to Fröttmaning. Leave plenty of time to get to the stadium, which is a ten-minute walk followed by security checks at the perimeter.

The rain has started to fall but the ground is aglow in red and, inside, the Bayern faithful are in full voice as kick-off approaches. Above us an impressive contingent of Olympiacos fans sing throughout, even though their team are under the cosh from the opening whistle. The stadium’s three tiers are steep and the stands close to the pitch, all of which adds to a buoyant atmosphere.

Surprisingly it takes until the 69th minute for Bayern to open the scoring, but the source is far from unexpected: Robert Lewandowski hits his 21st goal of the season. Then comes the music, Offenbach’s Galop Infernal – better known as the can-can tune – blaring out as the players celebrate. A brilliant touch, repeated when Ivan Perišić adds a late second to cap a comfortable win and send Bayern through to the round of 16.

Cities
Fußball fever

The Bayern game was one of the evening’s early kick-offs and we head back into town to watch the later matches at Stadion an der Schleißheimer Straße (Schleißheimerstraße 82; U-bahn stop Josephsplatz). This football bar is small and covered from top to bottom in shirts, scarves, pennants and pictures. The ceiling itself is decked out in astroturf, with pictures of players comprising two Germany XIs: one a line-up of all-time legends, the other a bad-boys team of rebels who have worn the famous white jersey.

On a wall dedicated to famous derbies are a pair of Bayern and 1860 München denim jackets complete with sewn-on patches – a unique symbol of German fan culture. In fact, this is one of the few pieces of Bayern memorabilia on display in a bar where the ethos is friendship and equality, so no club is given preferential treatment. Along another wall, an improvised stand with VIP stadium seating offers an uninterrupted view over proceedings. There are comedy and quiz nights, plus Q&As with famous names, and bookings are recommended on match nights – this place gets busy.

As in the beer halls, the tables are shared and we’re soon chatting to the Leverkusen fans across from us. Well, for as long as they can keep their eyes off the TV screen, their team holding on to beat Atlético Madrid and complete a successful night for Germany’s clubs.

Adress: Schleißheimer Straße 82, 80797 München
www.sadss.de

Club scene

Bayern dominate the Bavarian football scene, having won the European Cup five times and appeared in ten finals. They weren’t, however, the first team from the Bavarian capital to participate in the competition. That honour went to 1860 München, the 1965/66 Bundesliga champions. The Lions already had European pedigree by then, having reached the 1965 Cup Winners’ Cup final, only to lose to West Ham at Wembley. They opened their 1966/67 European Cup campaign with a resounding 8-0 win against Omonia Nicosia, advancing 10-1 on aggregate. They even gave Real Madrid a scare in the second round, winning 1-0 at their Grünwalder Stadion before losing the second leg 3-1, despite Rudolf Brunnenmeier giving them an early lead. It’s been all Bayern in Munich since then.

Few cities are as steeped in football culture as Munich and it was there, with a craving for Bratwurst, beer and Bayern, that Champions Journal touched down on 6 November for the Group B game against Olympiacos.

Our first stop? The Olympiastadion, for a glimpse of history. As the great stadiums of the past are razed to the ground or rebuilt, it is a treat to see this one – saved and seemingly frozen in time since Bayern moved out in 2005. Even the pitch looks freshly mowed, as if kick-off awaits.

We walk up around the back of the old west stand and peer below at the stage for so many iconic moments. Germany’s triumph in the 1974 World Cup. Marco van Basten’s magnificent volley in the 1988 European Championship final. Trevor Francis heading Nottingham Forest into European Cup legend in 1979. Marseille winning the new-fangled Champions League in 1993, and Lars Ricken’s dash from the halfway line for Dortmund against Juventus four years later.

A living museum to those landmark events, the stadium is the centrepiece of the Olympic Park. Its extraordinary translucent roof seems almost reptilian, with scales snaking across and linking the park’s main arenas to the entrance. To get a wider perspective on architect Günther Behnisch’s vision, it’s a good plan to take the lift in the nearby Olympic Tower. At 192m high, the observation deck also offers great views of the city – and even the Alps beyond.

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Fans enjoy the action at Munich’s top football bar (above); the Olympiastadion (top right); for food head to the Viktualienmarkt (right)

We jump back on the U-bahn at Olympiazentrum and head for Marienplatz in the city centre, which is a good spot to get your bearings. The Neues Rathaus – the new town hall – takes up the north side of the square in all its neo-gothic glory. It is here, on the first-floor balcony, that the city’s powerhouse club show off their silverware, with around 15,000 gathering in May after another domestic double. There are no crowds when we visit, but a few tour groups and Olympiacos fans are enjoying the famous Glockenspiel show several floors up.

Following our nose, we are then lured away to the nearby Viktualienmarkt, Munich’s central food market. We keep it simple and start with a Bratwurst on bread with mustard. Across the road, a long queue draws attention to another stall. Everyone is ordering the Leberkässemmel – a sort of meatloaf sandwich – and it’s hard to resist. Verdict: wonderful.

Munich is renowned for Oktoberfest and its lively beergardens. However, we’re visiting in November so to beat the chill, we venture indoors to one of the vast Bierhalle. Perhaps the most famous of all is the Hofbräuhaus (Platzl 9; U-bahn/S-bahn stop Marienplatz), a massive maze of seven different halls plus a garden, and it’s packed when we arrive three hours ahead of kick-off.  

The rain has started to fall but the ground is aglow in red and, inside, the Bayern faithful are in full voice as kick-off approaches

Wandering through a series of rooms, we finally settle on the spacious Schwemme, which seats 1,300 people. The tables are long and designed for sharing; we sit down next to three Bayern fans who recommend Schweinshaxe and Weissbier – a huge pork knuckle accompanied by a wheat beer – swiftly followed by Dunkel (dark) and Helles (light) lagers.

The Schwemme is the main hall. Its vaulted ceiling and wood panelling reverberate to the sound of a traditional Bavarian brass band – clad, of course, in lederhosen. The Hofbräuhaus may be firmly on the tourist circuit now but it still provides excellent pre-match entertainment.

The Fußball Arena München itself is half an hour by metro from Marienplatz and we take the U6 to Fröttmaning. Leave plenty of time to get to the stadium, which is a ten-minute walk followed by security checks at the perimeter.

The rain has started to fall but the ground is aglow in red and, inside, the Bayern faithful are in full voice as kick-off approaches. Above us an impressive contingent of Olympiacos fans sing throughout, even though their team are under the cosh from the opening whistle. The stadium’s three tiers are steep and the stands close to the pitch, all of which adds to a buoyant atmosphere.

Surprisingly it takes until the 69th minute for Bayern to open the scoring, but the source is far from unexpected: Robert Lewandowski hits his 21st goal of the season. Then comes the music, Offenbach’s Galop Infernal – better known as the can-can tune – blaring out as the players celebrate. A brilliant touch, repeated when Ivan Perišić adds a late second to cap a comfortable win and send Bayern through to the round of 16.

Cities
Fußball fever

The Bayern game was one of the evening’s early kick-offs and we head back into town to watch the later matches at Stadion an der Schleißheimer Straße (Schleißheimerstraße 82; U-bahn stop Josephsplatz). This football bar is small and covered from top to bottom in shirts, scarves, pennants and pictures. The ceiling itself is decked out in astroturf, with pictures of players comprising two Germany XIs: one a line-up of all-time legends, the other a bad-boys team of rebels who have worn the famous white jersey.

On a wall dedicated to famous derbies are a pair of Bayern and 1860 München denim jackets complete with sewn-on patches – a unique symbol of German fan culture. In fact, this is one of the few pieces of Bayern memorabilia on display in a bar where the ethos is friendship and equality, so no club is given preferential treatment. Along another wall, an improvised stand with VIP stadium seating offers an uninterrupted view over proceedings. There are comedy and quiz nights, plus Q&As with famous names, and bookings are recommended on match nights – this place gets busy.

As in the beer halls, the tables are shared and we’re soon chatting to the Leverkusen fans across from us. Well, for as long as they can keep their eyes off the TV screen, their team holding on to beat Atlético Madrid and complete a successful night for Germany’s clubs.

Adress: Schleißheimer Straße 82, 80797 München
www.sadss.de

Club scene

Bayern dominate the Bavarian football scene, having won the European Cup five times and appeared in ten finals. They weren’t, however, the first team from the Bavarian capital to participate in the competition. That honour went to 1860 München, the 1965/66 Bundesliga champions. The Lions already had European pedigree by then, having reached the 1965 Cup Winners’ Cup final, only to lose to West Ham at Wembley. They opened their 1966/67 European Cup campaign with a resounding 8-0 win against Omonia Nicosia, advancing 10-1 on aggregate. They even gave Real Madrid a scare in the second round, winning 1-0 at their Grünwalder Stadion before losing the second leg 3-1, despite Rudolf Brunnenmeier giving them an early lead. It’s been all Bayern in Munich since then.

Few cities are as steeped in football culture as Munich and it was there, with a craving for Bratwurst, beer and Bayern, that Champions Journal touched down on 6 November for the Group B game against Olympiacos.

Our first stop? The Olympiastadion, for a glimpse of history. As the great stadiums of the past are razed to the ground or rebuilt, it is a treat to see this one – saved and seemingly frozen in time since Bayern moved out in 2005. Even the pitch looks freshly mowed, as if kick-off awaits.

We walk up around the back of the old west stand and peer below at the stage for so many iconic moments. Germany’s triumph in the 1974 World Cup. Marco van Basten’s magnificent volley in the 1988 European Championship final. Trevor Francis heading Nottingham Forest into European Cup legend in 1979. Marseille winning the new-fangled Champions League in 1993, and Lars Ricken’s dash from the halfway line for Dortmund against Juventus four years later.

A living museum to those landmark events, the stadium is the centrepiece of the Olympic Park. Its extraordinary translucent roof seems almost reptilian, with scales snaking across and linking the park’s main arenas to the entrance. To get a wider perspective on architect Günther Behnisch’s vision, it’s a good plan to take the lift in the nearby Olympic Tower. At 192m high, the observation deck also offers great views of the city – and even the Alps beyond.

Fans enjoy the action at Munich’s top football bar (above); the Olympiastadion (top right); for food head to the Viktualienmarkt (right)

We jump back on the U-bahn at Olympiazentrum and head for Marienplatz in the city centre, which is a good spot to get your bearings. The Neues Rathaus – the new town hall – takes up the north side of the square in all its neo-gothic glory. It is here, on the first-floor balcony, that the city’s powerhouse club show off their silverware, with around 15,000 gathering in May after another domestic double. There are no crowds when we visit, but a few tour groups and Olympiacos fans are enjoying the famous Glockenspiel show several floors up.

Following our nose, we are then lured away to the nearby Viktualienmarkt, Munich’s central food market. We keep it simple and start with a Bratwurst on bread with mustard. Across the road, a long queue draws attention to another stall. Everyone is ordering the Leberkässemmel – a sort of meatloaf sandwich – and it’s hard to resist. Verdict: wonderful.

Munich is renowned for Oktoberfest and its lively beergardens. However, we’re visiting in November so to beat the chill, we venture indoors to one of the vast Bierhalle. Perhaps the most famous of all is the Hofbräuhaus (Platzl 9; U-bahn/S-bahn stop Marienplatz), a massive maze of seven different halls plus a garden, and it’s packed when we arrive three hours ahead of kick-off.  

The rain has started to fall but the ground is aglow in red and, inside, the Bayern faithful are in full voice as kick-off approaches

Wandering through a series of rooms, we finally settle on the spacious Schwemme, which seats 1,300 people. The tables are long and designed for sharing; we sit down next to three Bayern fans who recommend Schweinshaxe and Weissbier – a huge pork knuckle accompanied by a wheat beer – swiftly followed by Dunkel (dark) and Helles (light) lagers.

The Schwemme is the main hall. Its vaulted ceiling and wood panelling reverberate to the sound of a traditional Bavarian brass band – clad, of course, in lederhosen. The Hofbräuhaus may be firmly on the tourist circuit now but it still provides excellent pre-match entertainment.

The Fußball Arena München itself is half an hour by metro from Marienplatz and we take the U6 to Fröttmaning. Leave plenty of time to get to the stadium, which is a ten-minute walk followed by security checks at the perimeter.

The rain has started to fall but the ground is aglow in red and, inside, the Bayern faithful are in full voice as kick-off approaches. Above us an impressive contingent of Olympiacos fans sing throughout, even though their team are under the cosh from the opening whistle. The stadium’s three tiers are steep and the stands close to the pitch, all of which adds to a buoyant atmosphere.

Surprisingly it takes until the 69th minute for Bayern to open the scoring, but the source is far from unexpected: Robert Lewandowski hits his 21st goal of the season. Then comes the music, Offenbach’s Galop Infernal – better known as the can-can tune – blaring out as the players celebrate. A brilliant touch, repeated when Ivan Perišić adds a late second to cap a comfortable win and send Bayern through to the round of 16.

Cities
Fußball fever

The Bayern game was one of the evening’s early kick-offs and we head back into town to watch the later matches at Stadion an der Schleißheimer Straße (Schleißheimerstraße 82; U-bahn stop Josephsplatz). This football bar is small and covered from top to bottom in shirts, scarves, pennants and pictures. The ceiling itself is decked out in astroturf, with pictures of players comprising two Germany XIs: one a line-up of all-time legends, the other a bad-boys team of rebels who have worn the famous white jersey.

On a wall dedicated to famous derbies are a pair of Bayern and 1860 München denim jackets complete with sewn-on patches – a unique symbol of German fan culture. In fact, this is one of the few pieces of Bayern memorabilia on display in a bar where the ethos is friendship and equality, so no club is given preferential treatment. Along another wall, an improvised stand with VIP stadium seating offers an uninterrupted view over proceedings. There are comedy and quiz nights, plus Q&As with famous names, and bookings are recommended on match nights – this place gets busy.

As in the beer halls, the tables are shared and we’re soon chatting to the Leverkusen fans across from us. Well, for as long as they can keep their eyes off the TV screen, their team holding on to beat Atlético Madrid and complete a successful night for Germany’s clubs.

Adress: Schleißheimer Straße 82, 80797 München
www.sadss.de

Club scene

Bayern dominate the Bavarian football scene, having won the European Cup five times and appeared in ten finals. They weren’t, however, the first team from the Bavarian capital to participate in the competition. That honour went to 1860 München, the 1965/66 Bundesliga champions. The Lions already had European pedigree by then, having reached the 1965 Cup Winners’ Cup final, only to lose to West Ham at Wembley. They opened their 1966/67 European Cup campaign with a resounding 8-0 win against Omonia Nicosia, advancing 10-1 on aggregate. They even gave Real Madrid a scare in the second round, winning 1-0 at their Grünwalder Stadion before losing the second leg 3-1, despite Rudolf Brunnenmeier giving them an early lead. It’s been all Bayern in Munich since then.

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