Football Commentator & Columnist
Bayern Munich: Martin Tyler shares his memories of the Olympic Stadium and Allianz Arena
Last Updated: 11/05/20 7:11am
At a time when football grounds have closed their doors, we've asked Martin Tyler to share some of his favourite facts and memories of the homes of clubs around the world.
This week, Sky Sports' Voice of Football is looking at some grounds across Europe. Today, he takes us on a trip to Bayern Munich with stories of both the Olympic Stadium and the Allianz Arena.
Keep an eye on The Football Show on Sky Sports News and @SkySportsPL for some special Tyler's Teasers from Martin.
How I travel there
For my generation, which fell in love with football in the 1950s, it is impossible to fly to Munich without recalling the Manchester United air tragedy. It is no longer the same airport as on that fateful day in 1958 but there are memorials at the old site and you do not have to be of a United persuasion to visit and pay respects.
What it's like to commentate there
It was a great day for football commentators when in 2005 Bayern Munich moved out of the Olympic Stadium into the purpose-built Allianz Arena.
The commentary positions in the old ground, and I have broadcast from both sides of it, would rank as the worst at a major venue in my experience. It was the old chestnut of an athletics track, plus a low sweep of the stands to take the gantry even further away from the near touchline.
The problem was insurmountable when Spurs played there in 1982 in a Cup Winners Cup tie. Poor visibility became no visibility because of fog. On the pitch it was just about playable and during the game we tried to get down to the touchline to continue the broadcast, but in vain. Spurs lost 4-1 so they were probably very grateful for the murkiness of television pictures with no commentary which did make their way on to British screens later that evening.
By contrast, the Allianz Arena has a fantastic vantage point for broadcasters.
- Emirates Stadium | Villa Park | Vitality Stadium | Amex Stadium | Turf Moor | Stamford Bridge | Selhurst Park | Goodison Park | King Power Stadium | Anfield | Etihad Stadium | Old Trafford | St James' Park | Carrow Road | Bramall Lane | St Mary's | Tottenham Hotspur Stadium | Vicarage Road | London Stadium | Molineux
Did you know?
The Olympic Stadium was built for the 1972 Games and two years later staged the World Cup final. Ironically it lost its football prestige when Germany was awarded the 2006 World Cup. The new ground was part of the upgrade for those Finals and staged six matches, including the opening game and a semi-final, but the final itself was awarded to Berlin.
My memories of the ground
I have covered many games at both venues, but there is one stand-out in both. England's 5-1 victory at the Olympic Stadium in September 2001 was sensational. Germany had a fantastic record in World Cup qualifiers, particularly in Munich. They had already won in England, in the last international at the old Wembley a year earlier. They even took an early lead and it seemed for Sven-Goran Eriksson and his players the writing was on the wall.
The response was electrifying. Michael Owen's hat-trick wrote the headlines. Emile Heskey had the honour of hammering in the humiliating fifth goal, but the key moment came just on half-time when Steven Gerrard turned a likely 1-1 half-time score into a 2-1 lead, with his first England goal.
My Allianz Arena number one memory came over a decade later and extraordinarily it featured one player who had started and starred in England's 5-1 triumph across the city. Ashley Cole was also a key member of the Chelsea team which beat Bayern Munich in their own back yard to win the Champions League in 2012, scoring in the penalty shoot-out which decided that dramatic final after a 1-1 draw.
"It is written in the stars," our homespun astrologer Gary Neville had been proclaiming during Chelsea's unlikely campaign. It might well have been written by the banners the Chelsea players saw all over Munich when they arrived for the game. The implication was that the result was a formality for a side playing this huge fixture on their own ground. The Chelsea lads were not having that.
Gary also questioned the wisdom of manager Jupp Heynckes taking off Thomas Muller who had just given Bayern the lead, to bring on an extra defender. Immediately Didier Drogba headed Chelsea level and Bayern, in trying to avoid extra-time, now had to play it without a key forward.
Drogba then gave away a penalty which was saved by Petr Cech from a former Blues colleague Arjen Robben, a prelude to the goalkeeper's acrobatics in the shoot-out which gave Chelsea, and London, a first victory in Europe's elite competition.
What I like about this ground
The Allianz Arena is everything that the Olympic Stadium was not. A game in Munich which used to be a dread is now a delight.