GERMAN BUNDESLIGA 2013-2014

BERLIN OLYMPIC STADIUM

MATCHDAY 27

25.03.2014

ATTENDANCE: 72,000

On the 1st of August 1936, the Olympics game were officially inaugurated by the head of state Adolf Hitler.  High above the track below where the athletic events would take place the Olympic flame was lit by the athlete Fritz Schilgen.

Around the world millions would listen in and watch on.

This was the first Olympics with integrated telecommunications available.  Television audiences and live radio transmissions across 28 languages looked on at the sporting events. 

These days a different more advanced form of media entertainment brings football into all our lives. 

Televised football coverage has been revolutionized with leagues such as the English Premier League and the German Bundesliga becoming the place for media companies and corporate partners to push and position themselves inside the domestic household.

Stadia since the 1936 Olympics have become re-positioned not for the fan but more for media company messages.  The multi-viewer entertainment fashions of today from laptops, to HD media, integrated TV’s through to mobile apps mean many Saturday afternoon kickoffs have gone.

Matches involving FC Bayern Munchen are naturally a foremost product of choice for many football fans. 

The club often find themselves at the main table when silverware is being dished out.

With its worldwide recognized brand and global corporate partners the German giants inevitably find themselves at the forefront of global football watching especially so when the fixture (as it v Hertha) involves the potential for the Championship title or the Bundesliga to be secured in record fashion.

It was estimated that millions of people worldwide watched this fixture through a variety of online and television platforms.

Bayern Munich wrapped up its 24th Bundesliga title with a comfortable 3-1 victory in the German capital.

Even with it being a cold Tuesday night goals from Toni Kroos, Mario Gotze and Frank Ribery saw Bayern win the fastest Bundesliga championship title in history.

Despite this modern spectre of football entertainment looming over every game, if stadiums these days were built with the intention of creating a more intimate atmosphere then this concept has largely been forgotten where the Olympic Stadium is concerned. 

Outside the stadium, the old stone entry points remain as does the Jesse-Owens-Allee.

When redevelopment was embarked upon for the 2006 FIFA World Cup the overriding intention was for the stadium to retain the original outer architectural feel – essentially its not intimate.

That is not to say that modernization left the stadium out in the cold when compared to other football stadia.  

A new roof was extended over the terracing and seating was lowered significantly nearer the athletics track which was colored blue to mirror the colors of Hertha.   The western portion of the stadium near the Marathon Arch is also open to reveal the Bell Tower to the spectators giving the place a unique feel.

In total €242m was spent equipping an ageing stadium with the latest technology in artificial illuminations, media technology capability and sound amplification.

The years since the upgrade have seen the Olympic Stadium’s stock as a football only theater increase in no small part thanks to it being the stage for the biggest game in football; the 2006 FIFA World Cup final.

For so long this was a place only remembered for its infamous role in Nazi propaganda; a crumbling outpost during the years of East/West cold war division.  

Now each year the final of the DFB Pokal is held here.

With the standing of the Olympic Stadium increasing, so the esteem of Hertha BSC has grown.  If the 1970’s were a time of promise the 1980’s saw a club on the decline.  It was not until the wall came down and the 1990’s progressed that the club found a way back to the top table of the Bundesliga.

That is not to say things since then have been plain sailing for Hertha. 

Relegations continue to be suffered but the 2013-2014 season saw the club top the table as the fixtures began to unfold.

Bayern, however, were defending their title.  

The strength of the Bavarian giants was indicated further by the fact that the previous season’s title had been won by a 25 point margin under manager Jupp Heynckes.

Bayern controlled this game with a swaggering arrogance for which they have become noted.  Gpotze in the false nine role was excellent.

Hertha Berlin’s tall striker Adrian Ramos did find the net by scoring a second-half penalty for the hosts but a late delightful chip by Frank Ribery wrapped up a 3-1 win that nobody watching on could deny they deserved.

Under new manager, the Spaniard Guardiola, Bayern has taken on a new look and they have left second-placed Borussia Dortmund well off the pace. In short, if the title was not to be won in Berlin it would be secured elsewhere soon whether at the Allianz or in Stuttgart.

HT: (0-2)

The strength of Bayern was highlighted thanks to the half-time introduction of French winger Ribery and the Croatian striker Mandzukic.  Both subs took the pressure off an increasingly leg weary side who had an equally important game against Manchester United ahead in the Champions League.

The celebrations at the end of the game (which included Bayern displaying a mock Bundesliga trophy) went on for some time and revealed that thousands of Bayern fans were located around the ground including a number in the home end.

With its progressive business model and huge turnover the German Bundesliga is a perfect example of modern media broadcast income streams meeting fan orientated match-day revenues.

It is one of the only European football league where clubs collectively make a profit and continues to have the highest average attendance out of Europe’s five major leagues.  

FT: 1-3

This originally appeared in voices in football and was among a number of reports that appeared during early 2014.