Oktoberfest festivities over the past few weeks were truly full of fun and frivolity. The festivites for 1860 Munich's professional players began somewhat earlier, having taken place at the Hacker-Pschorr Brewery prior to opening day at the Wies'n.
In good Bavarian tradition, attending a brewery in the appropriate attire was not merely enough. The small matter of the Hacker-Pschorr Oktoberfest Championship had to be contended with. The challengers for the Bavarian representatives of 1860 were their foreign teammates, who would surely suffer for not being 'local'. The opening competition, and you can add this to your 'you cannot make this stuff up' folder, was a question of who had the sturdiest calves. In traditional Oktoberfest fashion Kathrin Goeppert, a woman whose title of 'Oktoberfest playmate' is just as seductive as it suggests, refereed proceedings. Her arduous task was to measure the width of the two calves whilst looking pretty; she did not disappoint. For the competitors, it was to be advantage Germany as Daniel Bierofka, the 33-year-old former international, seemingly using his name to his advantage, beat Spanish teammate Guillermo Vallori by half a centimetre. Naturally gifted some say.
The competition heated up when it came to the next event, the breaking of the keg tap. Having overcome the disappointment that Kathrin Goeppert wasn't involved with this event, the competitors went to work to get the beer flowing, quite literally, in as few hits of the keg-hammer as possible. Marin Tomasov, the young Croatian, was left soaking wet after succeeding in opening the flow after only two blows. 1860 captain and striking hero Benny Lauth was left with a tough task and after needing three blows, the scores were level.
The second Hacker-Pschorr championships were to be decided by the age-old battle of stamina and strength. Whoever could hold out their full litre of beer for the longest would bring victory for their side. This particular challenge had a true ancient feel to it, almost something you can imagine Robin Hood and his merry men would have done when the rich were out of town. Greek midfielder Grigoris Makos took on defender Christopher Schindler under the watchful eye of Kathrin, who was back for this one. Unlike most Greek-German European battles, the former held out for longer and the foreign teammates had clinched their unlikely victory.
It seems absurd to think that joining a football club in Bavaria, and Munich in particular, means that you get to enjoy the hilarity of off-field beer competitions. Such is the light-hearted manner of the south though, that as much as this is an afternoon of fun and games, it also holds value for their team morale and their public image. They are presented as people here and not as superstars beyond the reach of Joe Bloggs. Mind you, maybe it would work in the Premier League as well? "And you say you haven't tried this before Mr. Rooney?"