Sunday 22nd February 2015 – FC Bayern Frauen 0 – 0 VFL Wolfsburg Women
Frauen Bundesliga @ Grünwalder Stadion, München
And so onto day 2 of Munich. Not that it was noticed whilst sampling the delights Munich had to offer, but it snowed overnight,so I was naturally concerned that the scheduled ground tick at the Grünwalder Stadion would be postponed – a quick Tweet to the club confirmed this was not the case.
Situated in the south of the city, the Grünwalder is the former home of both Bayern and 1860 men’s teams (Bayern vacating in the 70s, 1860 last playing there in 2005). It has also hosted two other smaller Munich clubs, who until this trip I had never heard of, including FC Wacker München and SV Türk Gücü München. But it was FC Bayern Frauen (“FCBF”) we were to see that day, against VFL Wolfsburg Women. This was to be a top of the table clash, 1st vs 2nd, Wolfsburg it is noted the reigning European champions.
The Grünwalder is c. 10 minutes tram ride away from central Munich, in quite a leafy suburban part of town. It was extremely cold, grey and snowy that day, so the pictures probably don’t do it much justice. It reminded me however, in terms of location at least, of Selhurst Park, sitting nicely alongside houses and businesses, very much part of the community.
One great feature to note upfront is the floodlights – you don’t see many like this anymore!
Unlike the Allianz the day before, its location meant that we could at least hit a pub beforehand. There isn’t loads of choice in the area, but we found a Croatian owned bar across the road from the ground that day. A proper football pub, its name I sadly forget! Great set of guys though, who kept the beer flowing.
How to describe the Grünwalder? An old fashioned football ground, and without sounding like I am stereotyping, it reminded me of the former Eastern Bloc ground you sometimes see on the TV (in places like Minsk and Rostov), which is strange, as Munich was not part of the Eastern Bloc….
In simple terms, from the outside it probably reminds me more of a concrete athletics stadium than a football ground. Which I think is what it is supposed to be! Again, probably not helped by the grey weather, but it is pretty grey!
This does not change inside, where it is very basic, but quite welcoming all the same. We were in the main stand that day, were there was a small food and beer kiosk. The crowd must have been about 4,000 (split between our stand and the stand opposite) with a nicely sized Wolfsburg contingent also. Most people seemed to be sat down; we stood at the back, and nobody seemed to mind.
The match itself was one of those entertaining 0-0 draws. There is nothing of note to mention, it was 0-0, and reflecting, a point each was probably the correct outcome. Whilst increasing in popularity in England exponentially in recent years, women’s football in Germany is already very popular, and the standard on the pitch very high. And in Munich at least you can see why. €8 to get in, and a real family atmosphere. Lots of kids out with Mum and Dad on a day out, mixed with geeks like myself who just want to see a game.
The Grünwalder has two uncovered terraces behind each goal, which sadly were closed that day (and covered in snow…). The Grünwalder feels like a stadium that has seen better days, not from a structural point of view, but you sense some big matches were once played here and that there are a few stories to be told. Going back to my previous blog entry, I have heard 1860 have considered moving back here, but that Bundesliga does not deem it fit for purpose. A real shame, as I imagine full some real noise can be made (not that the fans of FCBF and Wolfsburg that day were at all quiet!).
Post match it was back to the Croatian bar to hand over our remaining Euros. The Grünwalder was a random and unexpected ground tick. And one of my favourites. Great views around the stadium and in a nice part of town. Decent game of football too. Well worthy of a visit if you are in town and FCBF are playing.
A massive thanks to FCBF for their updates and answering questions on Twitter prior to the match – wishing you success for the remainder of the season!