I have always had a soft spot for Bayern Munich FC ever since I was a kid. Kids like success and Bayern Munich had it in spades. They were immensely successful in the European Championship. They had players like Beckenbauer, Rumenigge and Breitner who were the backbone of the German national team. They were exciting and clinical but also gentlemanly and well-behaved.
Plus they have eliminated that Arsenal four times while they have never drawn with Tottenham – bliss.
So when I was last in Munich, I took the U6 metro line to Fröttmaning tube which is about a mile away from the Allianz Arena officially opened on 30 May 2005. Interestingly, as Allianz who have paid for the name to be used until 2035 isn’t a sponsor of the Champions League, the name must be covered in every CL game and football supporters cannot see it on TV or inside the stadium itself.
The museum, inside the arena, was opened on Sunday, 20 May 2012. It was the day after the Champions League final between Bayern and Chelsea. As the final was being played in the Allianz Arena, the museum was supposed to crown Bayern’s expected win.
Of course, Chelsea wasn’t party in this dream scenario. They won and the museum opening felt more like a wake. Shadenfreude is a German word, yes, but I was supporting Bayern that day. If Chelsea won, they would nick the final Champions League spot from Tottenham, too, and they did.
As Bayern is one of the most successful teams of all time, the museum inside the arena is a must for any football fan. Their silverware (or, rather goldware) is super-impressive and includes some rather obscure trophies.
Pride of show goes to Bayern’s incredible hat-trick when they won the European Championship in three successive years 1975, ’76 and ’77. The larger cup on the left is the original, weighing 8.5kg while the other two are smaller replicas in line with UEFA policy.
The museum items display details from Bayern’s footballing history and from that of the German national team.
There are some interesting anecdotes both around the origins of the team and German football itself. For instance, during World War II Marshall Göring ordered all sports clubs to ‘donate’ their silver and gold trophies to aid the war, but Bayern refused and displayed them until 1942 when the Allied raids started bombing Munich. Magda Heidcamp, the wife of the then Bayern captain arranged for all the trophies to be secretly buried in a farm near Scholding where she spent her holidays as a child. The trophies lay buried until 1967 when Magdalena returned them to the startled Bayern officials in their HQ at Säbener Straße.
Along with these, there are trivia about football in general. For instance did you know that numbers at the back of football shirts were first worn in 1928? Indeed, the first time numbers were used was in two league matches: Arsenal v Sheffield Wednesday and Chelsea v Swansea. In Germany Bayern first wore shirt numbers on 11 September 1948.
Finally: who said that the Germans have no sense of humour?
The Bayern museum operates inside the building and it’s open daily 10am–6pm, except on match days. A combi ticket with the Arena tour costs £19 and an audio guide £3.