Your guide to Munich and the Allianz Arena

Here on Bayern Central you can find almost everything about FC Bayern München: match reports, statistical analyses, player biographies, history and interesting stories. But how about a few tips on going to the Allianz Arena to watch Die Roten in action? Here’s a guide that covers all of the basics.

Munich

Known in German as München and in the local Bavarian dialect as Minga, the city of Munich is located in the south of the Free State of Bavaria, itself located in the south of Germany.

Munich. The Rathaus (Town Hall) on the Marienplatz
Munich. The Rathaus (Town Hall) on the Marienplatz

With a population of just under 1.5 million people, Munich is a vibrant modern city that also has a pleasant village feel. There is something for everybody – from bars and restaurants through to convivial beer gardens, markets and museums. It is not only a cultural centre, but also an industrial powerhouse.

It is with good reason that Munich is known as der Weltstadt mit Herz – the world city with a heart.

It is not all about the Fußball

OK, it is… But you know what I mean. A lot of the time, when watching a football match it is a case of getting to the ground, watching the match and then exiting as quickly as possible. Places like Dortmund, Gelsenkirchen, Liverpool and Manchester come to mind.

Not so Munich. If you are lucky enough to get a ticket to watch Bayern at the Allianz, make sure to make a weekend of it. Better still, make it a week – you will be glad you did.

Getting there

Munich has excellent connections, and while some visitors will be arriving by train or car most will be coming in by plane. The main arrival point is the Franz Josef Strauss airport just to the north of the city, with the centre just a short journey away on the suburban rail service or S-Bahn (symbolised by a white “S” in a green circle).

There are two S-Bahn lines connecting the airport to the city centre, the S1 and S8. Both connect with the main chain of larger city stations, known as the Stammstrecke – from here, you can make a connection to any point in the city using the underground rail service or U-Bahn (symbolised by a white “U” in a blue square).

S- and U-Bahn symbols... With Bayern fans in the foreground!
S- and U-Bahn symbols…with Bayern fans in the foreground!

There are many places to stay in Munich, from top class hotels such as the Hotel Vier Jahreszeiten Kempinski (where you might get to see players from opposing teams) through to an array of smaller hotels, private apartments, B&Bs and cheap hostels. There is something for every budget.

Getting to the ground

Right, this is probably the bit you have been waiting for.

The Allianz Arena is located just to the north of the centre and has its own junction off the Autobahn A9. If you are using public transport (as most people do) you will need to join the underground/metro line U6 (the blue one on the map) and make your way to the stop at Fröttmaning (You cannot miss it – there’s even a little football logo next to the name). On match days trains will be running to both Fröttmaning and Garching-Forschungszentrum, located at the end of the line.

The way to Fröttmaning...
The way to Fröttmaning…

Secret tip #1: to avoid being squeezed like a sardine in a crowded U-Bahn carriage, try catching the train at an early stop before it arrives in the city centre where most of the home fans (and nearly all of the visitors) will get on. Usually, you will get a comfortable seat if you board the train before the station Sendlinger Tor.

Secret tip #2: to avoid the U-Bahn rush altogether, you can catch a special bus that will take you straight to the stadium. You just need to head to the station at Donnersbergerbrücke in the west of the city (note that there is no return bus trip; you will have to take the U-Bahn for that).

The Ultras stalls

The first thing you will see as you head towards the station exit are a number of stalls selling a range of FC Bayern fan gear.

If you want something special that you can’t find in the official club shop, here is the place to get it. While every Bayern supporter will have their replica Trikot, those who call themselves real fans will have something from here whether it is a scarf or t-shirt celebrating the famous Südkurve, or a hoodie emblazoned with the motto Euer Hass ist unser Stolz – “your hate is our pride”.

The Ultras stalls at the top of Fröttmaning U-Bahn station
The Ultras stalls at the top of Fröttmaning U-Bahn station

Keep some cash on you as the stalls do not take credit or debit cards and make sure to get what you want before the match – everything will be long gone and packed away by the time you make your way back.

The walk

While the walk to the stadium can get a little tedious for those who have been to the ground a number of times – particularly in bad weather – it is always inspiring. As you exit the station you will be able to see the white blob shining in the distance (or a red shiny blob if you are heading there for an evening game in winter).

In the distance, a glorious sight...
In the distance, a glorious sight…

As you approach you will see just how magnificent the structure is, and what all is the fuss is about. If you have the time, I would recommend just standing back and taking it all in.

Entering the ground

As the Allianz has a wide and spacious concourse, entering the ground is a zero fuss affair. The queue is processed quickly and efficiently, and at no point do you feel that you are being herded like cattle.

After being gently frisked by the security guards at the gates (keep all bags ready to keep things flowing for everyone else) it is just a matter of scanning your ticket and making your way through the turnstiles.

The FC Bayern Megastore

Although there are a number of dedicated fan shops dotted around the city, the FC Bayern Megastore at the Allianz is the place to buy your official FC Bayern goodies.

The store is located on the third floor at the southern side of the ground just to the right of the entrance gates. To find it, the best plan is to walk around the outside of the ground until you see the sign “Bayern Megastore”. On match days, you will often see the queue of people snaking out from the bottom of the stairs that take you up to the store.

Watch out... This place will empty your wallet!
Watch out…This place will empty your wallet!

When visiting the FC Bayern Megastore, be warned: it is very, very easy to blow a whole lot of money in one hit. If you are a club member, you can get a ten percent discount on all purchases by showing your membership card.

Secret tip #3: the FC Bayern Megastore is open for a couple of hours before the match, but also for an hour after. If you visit the store after the match the queues will be considerably shorter, you won’t have to stuff that massive bag containing Trikots, scarves and the custom FCB Waffle-maker between your feet during the game, and you will also avoid the mass exodus towards the U-Bahn station.

Food and drink

Food at football grounds generally is not that good – think of the overpriced and not at all fantastic Aberdeen Angus burgers at Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium – but at the Allianz it is actually pretty decent, with plenty of choice.

There are no fewer than twenty-eight kiosks on the second floor of the stadium, serving a good range of snacks from traditional grilled sausages and Brez’n (Pretzels) through to pizza and chips. All of the kiosks serve a range of drinks, including chilled and freshly-tapped Paulaner beer. Natürlich.

One of the many kiosks on the second floor
One of the many kiosks on the second floor

Note that the kiosks do not accept cash payments; to buy food or drink, you will need an ArenaCard (see below).

The ArenaCard

The Allianz Arena operates using a cashless payment system, called the ArenaCard. All you do is load the card with cash, allowing you to make all food and drink purchases quickly and easily. You can buy an ArenaCard from booths both outside the the main gates and inside the stadium complex and also top them up at the automatic pay stations located close to the kiosks.

If you have parked at the ground you will need at least ten Euros on your ArenaCard, with the amount paid at the barrier when exiting the car park.

Finding your seat

As the Allianz is a modern ground, finding your seat is easy and all of the blocks are clearly marked. There are no pillars or columns in the way to impede your view and the sight of the well-manicured pitch is simply magnificent. Once you have done the rounds, visited the club shop and found your seat, it is worth it just taking in the atmosphere.

The stands are filling up, and the atmosphere is building...
The stands are filling up, and the atmosphere is building…

Before every Bayern game you will hear a number of famous club songs being played over the loudspeaker system, which just adds to the atmosphere.

Watching the match

I do not think anybody really needs a guide for this bit. If you know some of the songs and chants, be sure to join in. It is pretty infectious and even in relatively quiet stands all it needs are a couple of people to stand up to get the whole place rocking. If you are in the seats in the Südtribune, just take your cue from the Südkurve in front of you!

The Bayern players celebrate Robert Lewandowski's second goal against Schalke 04!
The Bayern players celebrate Robert Lewandowski’s second goal against Schalke 04!

You will also see the drinks seller making his way through the stands with a large tray of chilled Paulaner, meaning that you do not have to leave your seat at half-time to get a beer. All you need to do is signal to him, ask for a beer and hand him your ArenaCard which he will simply tap against a little hand-held device.

Nach dem Spiel*

After the game*, you will find that everybody files out in a pretty orderly fashion before heading back to the U-Bahn station. While some people try to beat the rush by leaving early (why would you do this, when you know that Thomas Müller is going to score in the last minute?) I prefer to hang around for a bit and let everybody make their way out first.

The walk back is not particularly pleasant after a defeat – it really does drag on – but everybody is well-ordered and away supporters can feel comfortable in the crowd. Unlike at many English grounds, there are no phalanxes of police officers on horses lining the route. (Ok, I have never seen this even at big Bundesliga games, but that is not to say that the Polizei will not be there in force if Chelsea or Feyenoord are visiting).

The red glow of victory!
The red glow of victory!

The U-Bahn back into the city runs every ten minutes or so, and it is a good tip to let everybody onto the first train and make your way to the opposite platform to catch the next one. By waiting at the front, you should be able to get yourself a seat and avoid having to stand.

Secret tip #4: stay back at the ground for a while and avoid the crowd. See secret tip #3 above.

Back in the city

Munich is not a city where you will be wanting to head straight back to the airport, main train station or your hotel room. The U6 takes you straight into the city centre, with the most popular spot being the Marienplatz and the famous Rathaus (town hall). There are bars and Bierkellers aplenty with plenty of Munich’s finest beer on offer.

My personal spring and summer-time tip is to take the short walk to the Viktualienmarkt just around the corner and grab a seat at one of the tables – it is usually heaving, but if you see some spaces you can just ask Entschuldigung, ist dieser Platz noch frei? – “Excuse me, is this seat free?”

The traditional Maypole at the Viktualienmarkt
The traditional Maypole at the Viktualienmarkt

If you are wearing an FC Bayern München shirt, you are sure to spark off some conversation. One time, I intended to sit down for one beer and a snack before heading off for an evening walk, but ended up sitting there for the best part of four hours as a number of people from places as diverse as Canada, Switzerland, Dresden and Garching came and left.

In winter there are plenty of choices, but mine would be Augustinerkeller (Arnulfstraße 52) or Wirtshaus in der Au (Lilienstraße 51), while closer to Marienplatz are the zum Spöckmeier (Rosenstraße 9) and the recently re-opened Donisl (Weinstraße 1). You can of course step into the famous Hofbräuhaus (Platzl 9), but be warned that it is pretty much a tourist trap.

The next day

Unless you really have pressing engagements, try to stay an extra couple of days in Munich. There are places to suit everybody, and the city is dotted with fantastic attractions and museums that are well worth a visit.

Of course, no true FC Bayern fan can spend any length of time Munich without visiting the wonderful Olympiapark and the old Olympiastadion, and checking out the tour of the Allianz Arena and the magnificent Erlebniswelt which showcases the glorious history of Germany’s most famous football club.

The three European Cup trophies from the 1970s at the FC Bayern Erlebniswelt
The three European Cup trophies from the 1970s at the FC Bayern Erlebniswelt

Once you have been to Munich, you will immediately want to go back. In fact, you may never want to leave!