A tour around the Munich Olympic Stadium
For the sports connoisseur, a trip to Munich is incomplete without a visit to the city’s famous Olympic Stadium.
Munich held the Olympic Games in 1972, and the Olympiastadion also hosted some of football’s 1974 World Cup matches, including the final which the then West Germany won.
There are quite a few options when arriving at the gates of the Munich Olympic Stadium. You can either take a guided tour, do your own sightseeing for €3.50 or even abseil off the roof. Needless to say I was never going to do that so stayed on terra firma with a steady bit of wandering around at my own pace.
One key aspect to note is the steepness of the stadium. It’s certainly not a tour that can be done too quickly, particularly when I did it, on a sweltering day in the midst of Europe’s summer heatwave.
The stadium was originally built to hold up to 80,000 spectators. Bayern Munich played their home football matches at the ground until switching to their sparkling Allianz Arena in 2005.
Concerts rather than sports events now feature at the stadium, which to my mind is a shame. This is a place where England thumped Germany 5-1 in a World Cup qualifier in 2001, Michael Owen scoring a hat-trick.
It is also the stage on which, in 1993, Norwich City became the only English team to beat Bayern Munich, with a 2-1 UEFA Cup win. Great theatre and English sporting memories. But now there is not even any grass and it’s difficult to imagine how it once was.
Indeed, the next Englishmen scheduled to play at the Munich Olympic Stadium are the Rolling Stones in September and it’s questionable who’s aged better – stadium or wrinkly rockers.
Stadiums no longer used for the purpose they were built look a touch sad. While I’m sure it looks great when filled with music fans, there’s something depressing about witnessing a place which used to host such great sporting occasions but no longer can. It still retains the athletics track so that’s something at least.
In respect of Bayern’s move to the Allianz, visiting the two stadiums as I did showed the stark reality of progress and modernisation. Out with the old, decaying model and in with the new, swanky affair.
But the Munich stadium’s dated look does provide some nice photo opps. So I took the chance to use my trusty little Lumix and started clicking away. Some of the results can be seen in the gallery above.