Saturday, May 19, 2012

Kenangan di Allianz Arena

Setahun sebelum Piala Dunia diadakan di Jerman pada 2006, aku antara kelompok wartawan yang bertuah dipelawa ke negara Eropah itu, hanya beberapa hari selepas Piala Konfederasi 2005. Jemputan dibuat menerusi Kedutaan Jerman. Ia adalah satu-satunya junket (lawatan yang ditanggung sepenuhnya) untuk aku sepanjang hampir dua dekad membanting tulang di bawah bumbung New Straits Times Press (NSTP) Berhad.

Selain dibawa ke pelbagai stadium atau stadion dalam bahasa Jerman di enam bandaraya yang menjadi hos Piala Dunia, kami dibawa menonton opera, melawat pejabat majalah bola sepak masyhur Kicker selain didedahkan kepada budaya bersukan Jerman.

Aku antara anak Melayu pertama menonton perlawanan bola sepak di Allianz Arena...bersama dari kiri Nguyen Van Yen dari Vietnam dan Lee Ching Chen dari Taiwan. Aku tersengeh kerana teruja...dari tempat aku duduk, menonton perlawanan di antara TSV Munich dan Bayern Munich pada 2 Jun, 2005, macam berada dalam teater...

Dari luar, ketika sampai di Allianz Arena

Cantikkan...selepas perlawanan. Pancaran cahaya biru menandakan TSV sebagai tuan rumah. Kalau merah, Bayern. Putih, bermakna Jerman tuan rumah perlawanan antarabangsa. 

Artikel ini disiarkan dalam Sunday Mail tujuh tahun lalu.

FROM the exterior, the brand new Allianz Arena, the pride of Munich and Bavaria, resembles a rubber dinghy. But on match day, it becomes a beautiful arena for the beautiful game as the entire exterior of the stadium glow to different colours to indicate which team - Bayern Munich, TSV Munich 1860 or Germany - are playing at home.

Yet the interior of the modern stadium, as Mailsport's RIZAL HASHIM discovers, has been kept intentionally plain and colourless, coming to life only with the presence of the crowd.

By the time the group of eight international journalists reached Bavaria, the Allianz Arena had opened its doors to two official football matches.

Since thousands of fans were unable to obtain tickets for the opening gala which included a match between TSV 1860 Munich and FC Nuremberg on May 31, it was decided that the first Munich derby at the modern stadium would be staged on June 2, a day after the German national team lost 4-2 to Bayern Munich.

Built to replace the ageing Olympic Stadium, which hosted the 1974 World Cup final, the 66,000-capacity Arena will stage the opening match of next year's World Cup.

All eight of us were excited at the prospect of possibly becoming the first people from our respective countries to enter the illuminated stadium, the creation of football fanatics and prize-winning Swiss architects Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron.

We left the Eden Hotel Wolff, located just outside the Munich central station, at around 7.30pm soon after our arrival from Nuremberg. It took us 30 minutes to reach the stadium using the under-ground train from Odeonsplatz and then to the north Munich district of Frottmaning, where the arena is situated.

Fans of both teams were still making their way to the stadium as well, although the match had started. The impressive gleaming exterior took our breath away. It was illuminated in blue when we were walking towards the stadium, indicating that TSV were the host team.

To avoid any argument over colour schemes between rival fans, the stadium changes hew to match the strip of which ever team is playing at home - red for Bayern, blue for 1860 and white for Germany.

The effect is created by light panels inside the 2,816 translucent diamond-shaped foil cushions that cover the stadium, giving it the appearance of a flying saucer.

While walking through the commotion, all of us agreed it was a beautiful piece of work. No wonder the locals, according to one of our accompanying guides, have dubbed it `the rubber dinghy'.

The most interesting feature is, of course, the brilliantly-realised notion that the entire exterior of the stadium should glow different colours to indicate which team are playing at home. So non-football fans using the Autobahn will also be able to tell immediately, thus making the stadium as a symbol and functional object interacting within the wider context of the city.

In all its grandeur, the National Stadium at Bukit Jalil pales in comparison to the Arena which boasts of three day-care centres, a few fans shops and restaurants on a total area of about 6,500 m2. We were told next to the stadium was the biggest parking garage of Europe which has a capacity of 10,500 cars.

The Allianz group, a large financial services provider, paid a huge sum to acquire the rights to attach their name to the Arena for the next 30 years. We took our seats in an already packed stadium, and we were immediately surprised by the clear view and proximity of the match.

The front row seats, we were told, offer spectators the chance to sit within touching distance of Michael Ballack, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Co.

The rest are stacked tightly in three tiers, ensuring a clear view from anywhere inside the arena. And we were seated at the second tier. It was very tight, giving one the impression that he is in a theatre. The most noticeable aspect of the stadium was the sea of people.

There was very little architecture that you see inside. The seats have been arranged in such a way that once the stadium is crowded, what matters is the people, rather than the architecture.

Even the weakened Bayern side did not dampen our spirits because we knew that we were at the centre of arguably the most modern football stadium in the world.

The big names from Bayern - such as Oliver Kahn, Ballack, Schweinsteiger and Roy Makaay - were missing from the line-up.

The newly-crowned Bundesliga and German Cup champions were captained by a Frenchman, Willy Sagnol, whom I had the privilege of meeting in person when he was a member of Gerard Houllier's Under-20 side in the World Youth Cup in 1997.

A few familiar figures like Owen Hargreaves, Jens Jeremies and Bixente Lizarazu were the few pros in Felix Magath's team, which was filled with reserves and youth players.

Bayern's second stringers played a good match against the Lions, but conceded a late goal by Australian Paul Agostino in the 85th minute.

The stadium has won the approval of legends such as Franz Beckenbauer and Karl-Heinz Rummenigge. Rummenigge who starred in so many epic battles at the old ground at the Olympic Stadium, said it was "the coolest stadium in the world".

Beckenbauer, the man who lifted the World Cup for the hosts the last time the tournament was staged in Germany, shared Rummenigge's sentiments.

"I've seen pretty much every stadium in the world, but I've never seen anything as good as this," said Beckenbauer. "We can all be very proud. It's a quantum leap forward. We're playing in a true football stadium at last."

 Allianz Arena is certainly a venue that will star alongside the stars next year.

Aku terpanggil menyiarkan semula artikel ini sebagai mengingati final Liga Juara-juara Eropah awal pagi esok, yang mempertemukan Bayern Munich dengan Chelsea.

Rasanya, Bayern akan menang, jika benteng pertahanan Jupp Heynckes dapat menghalang Didier Drogba.

Bukan mudah untuk pasukan gergasi seperti Bayern mendapat peluang menjulang piala di depan penyokong sendiri, sebagaimana Real Madrid pada 1957 dan Inter Milan pada 1965.

Penyokong Chelsea tentunya akan menikmati pengalaman di Allianz Arena, tanpa mengira sama ada the Blues menang atau kalah pada kesudahannya.


Lot 1766 said...

Inilah stadium yang menjadi impianku untuk dijejaki. Untung bro Rizal dah ke sana.

Anonymous said...

Ehhh jgn senyum la...gigimu ada longkang di tengah.....

Anonymous said...

Kepingin utk melihat di M'sia ada stadium b/sepak begini. Saya pernah ke sana ketika kunjungan awal sempena world cup 2006 ketika itu mereka sdg meletakkan rumput di Arena. Fisilitasnya utk penonton, media dsb mmg 1st class dan mrk pastikan tiada minuman (botol) atau apa jenis objek dibawa masuk ke tempat duduk yang bernombor. Bayangkan jarak antara tempat duduk dgn padang hanya 10meter. Stesen kretapi jaraknya lebih kurang 800m dr Arena dan penggunaan public transport amat-amat digalakkan. Sesuatu yg pasti tidak akan kita perolehi di M'sia ini sekiranya kita tidak berdisiplin ketika hendak atau sedang menonton. KBS pernah menyuarakan hasrat membina stadium bola sepak, so pandangan saya...buat kajian menyeluruh utuk keselesaan smua.