Some may remember Bayern’s dramatic 2012 Champions League final, the last time Allianz Arena hosted the big match.
Bayern had managed only second in the Bundesliga, but they had the chance to end the season on a successful note if they managed to get past Roberto Di Matteo’s Chelsea side. What added some extra spice to the occasion was the fact that the German record champions were playing in front of their own fans.
Fittingly the final was dubbed “Finale dahoam”(Bavarian dialect for “final at home”) by the fans. Bayern’s players churned out a rather decent performance. When Thomas Müller got the first goal of the match, it seemed like a good day for Bayern.
As fate would have it, Chelsea equalized from their first corner of the match only five minutes later. Extra time didn’t bring about a decision, either. In the end, Bayern failed miserably during the penalty shootout. Ask a Bayern fan about the experience, and they will tell you that this final was among the most painful defeats in club history. Not only had the team not managed to convert their many brilliant chances, but they were also playing against a team that simply defended and did so rather foolishly at times.
Three years from now FCB are going to have the chance to redeem themselves in front of their own if everything goes to plan. The Allianz Arena has been given the go ahead for the 2022 final by Uefa. This is the fourth time in the last 30 years that Munich is going to host a Champions League final. The Bavarian capital was also host for the finals back in 1993 and 1997. If one wants to add some further pain to a Bayern’s fans memories of that 2012, one only needs to point out that Borussia Dortmund won one of those other two finals(back in 1997).
But why not Dortmund?
In addition to Munich, there have been two other German host cities for Champions League finals in the last 30 years. Back in 2015, the final was hosted in Berlin. In 2004, Gelsenkirchen was the scene of FC Porto’s 3-0 win over Monaco.
The biggest German stadium of them all, Signal Iduna Park, has never been picked by UEFA, however. This might seem surprising, given that the stadium has been voted by The Telegraph’s readers as the best in all of Europe. Add to that it has recently been voted to be the best football stadium in Germany by fans, and you wonder why there’s never been a final in Dortmund.
The stadium provides a great atmosphere and is a rather charming place despite its massive capacity.
It turns out that UEFA guidelines prevent Dortmund from being considered. The city’s airport is too small, and there aren’t enough hotel beds in close proximity to the stadium. Furthermore, the space provided for the media is too small in regards of UEFA’s criteria.
Gelsenkirchen to apply for a Europa League final
There might a European final close to Dortmund in the not too distant future, however. WAZ reports that the Black-and-Yellow’s arch-rivals FC Schalke 04 have decided to ask UEFA to host a coming Europa League final. This could be 2022, 2023, or 2024.
Veltins Arena is going to be modernized ahead of the upcoming 2024 EUROs being played in Germany. Schalke thinks that their stadium is likely to meet UEFA’s criteria. If the city of Gelsenkirchen were to host the Europa League final, it would be the second time that the UEFA Cup or Europa League final would be played in Schalke’s stadium. Back in 1997, Schalke played the UEFA Cup final against Inter in the Parkstadion. Back then, the final was still played over two legs.
Whether the Europa League final is going to be played in Gelsenkirchen stands to be seen. As things stand, Veltins Arena won’t host another Champions League final. UEFA demands host cities provide a stadium with a capacity larger than 60,000 spectators. Schalke’s stadium has only space for an attendance 54,740.
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