Soccer is HUGE in Europe. Next to skiing in Austria, it is probably the second most popular sport. While there are pro teams here in Linz and elsewhere in Austria, nothing is as similar to the Bundesliga in Germany. We were lucky enough to get tickets just recently and catch a game.
I know nothing about soccer but I was excited to see such talented athletes play. Bayern München has won 24 national titles and 17 national cups. They are by far the most talented team in Germany.
The ride to Munich is about 2 1/2 hours. We took a fan bus with some of Andrew’s friends and made some stops along the highway to pick up other fans. When we pulled up to the stadium it was lit up in red for Bayern, and massive, and looked a bit like a space ship. The Allianz Arena holds 75,000 people. The night we went they had just over 71,000. The crazy thing was even with about 4,000 people missing, you weren’t able to tell.
Of course we stopped by the fan shop and picked up some gear. The concessions sold traditional German foods; sausages, frankfurters, pretzels, and beer (cheap beer in comparison to most North American venues!) And we took our seats for the start of the game.
The one thing I absolutely love about European sports is the cheering and crowd participation. Even at Andrew’s hockey games, the fan clubs continue to sing cheers, pound on drums, and at times have whole sections of a stadium jumping up and down. During this soccer game, it was nothing different. The Bayern fan club sat opposite of us and the entire section was cheering and jumping the ENTIRE 90 minutes.
And with that, Bayern won the game 2-0!
The other thing I love about European sports is the teams take the time after the game to thank their fans for coming. Most teams come out, as a whole, and wave to each sides of the stadium while the fans wave and cheer back. It really is something to see. And to top off the night there was a laser light show!
It was such a unique experience. It kind of made me reconsider becoming a soccer fan … The next time we are able to get tickets, we will for sure be going!