Posted: 3/17/2008


      What a wonderful day!. I look out from my hotel balcony and it's so clear I can almost touch the snow capped Bavarian Alps just 15 minutes drive away, as Spring arrives in Southern Germany.

      I am in Rosenheim and stop in at Karstadt, a big department store and there is a long line so I am curious. It's for the Candy section with row upon row and shelves stocked with chocolate and candy Easter bunnies ranging in size from my thumb to the size of a big dog, and the selection of flavours of chocolates is overwhelming. Of course it is Easter week 'Ostern Woche', and I am looking for some small presents like everyone else. There is the Leysieffer shelves, with juniper, kashmire chile, mandl, kaffe, pfeffer, mocca rum, mohn, jahrgomps, macadieme, rosa pfeffer, zitron extreme, orange, vanilla, pistazia,  capuccino, hembeere, mango, passion fruit, absinthe, rotwein, truffels, .....Other brands such as Heidel, Heilemann, Rocher, Giotto, Raffaelo, Lindt, Plantagon, Tekrum, Hachez, Feodora, Storck, De Ferrero, Peters..  more flavors such as whisky, cranberry, banana, curry.... 

    Well, thats enough to set your taste buds working. Anyway, I finish off the day with dinner at Gashof Hoehensteiger: a crisp fresh salad, pasta soup, schnitzel cordon blue with pommes frites, and finally apple strudle with fresh cream and íce cream.

    At The Allianz Arena, built jointly by FC Bayern and TSV 1860 Munich its a Bundeliga II clash between 1860 , 'Die Lowen' The Lions, and Mainz 05 who have brought about 4,000 fans and their own Ordners- security people.  The Arena was built prior to FIFA World Cup 2006, but since financial difficulties overtaking the Light Blues their 50% share was taken over by the much wealthier and successful FC Bayern (FC Hollywood), for only €11million in 2006.  For a B.II match the attendance is high, well over 40,000 and we are in the Mainz 05 section.

   Prices are suprisingly low in Germany, especially compared with England. €11 for standing behind each goal and from €22 for seats. We get a big group discount-only €160 for 35 people!!  For Die Lowen evening matches the stadium is lit up light blue, while FC Bayern play in a red lit arena, and Germany and World Cup matches it is white. A few months ago I watched FC Bayern vs CF Barcelona last August it was in a red stadium, and when I was  a guest at the FIFA 2006 semi-final it was all white.  Earlier the Lorenskog IF boys from Norway won a very high standard match against 1860 Rosenheim 3-1.with a hat-trick from Ola Kvaheim, as part of their pre season camp here.

   The field is in great condition and the fans in good voice with plenty of outlets for bier und wurste. You buy an Arena Card, a plastic card for €5,10,15 or more and use that to make it easier than using paper money. You can get a refund on unused funds after the match if you don't intend to return soon. Mainz and their fans are nicknamed Die Nullfiefers The 0-Fives, and as their city, along with Cologne and Dusseldorf are famous for their Carnivals, some of their fans in our section are dressed up as clowns.

  There are 2 Americans on show for 1860, Gregg Berhalter, a Jersey boy and Josh Wolfe from Georgia. They both wear white soccer shoes, to distinguish the lousy Americans from the lousy German players. They  struggle against the red shirted Mainz 05 guys who take the lead. It seems that the Munich forwards' tactics are to try and aim to hit an oppoing defender,instead of around them, and both teams suffer from 'the klinzi disease' imaginary fouls, falling down at will.  In fact in the 65th minute Munich gain a penalty for such a 'foul' and Berhalter slots the ball home with his left foot. It's all he uses, and maybe he even signs autographs with his left foot as well. Wolfe is inconsequential out there and a tie is perhaps more than his team deserves.

    When The Bundesliga was created from regional leagues in 1963 TSV 1860 were a founding member and won the German Cup for a second time and lost 0-2 the following season in the long gone European Cup Winners Cup Final to West Ham United at Wembley.  Bayern Munich didn't join until 3 years later and now of course are the dominant force in Munich, Bavarian and German fussball.