The biggest game of the European club calendar is finally upon us with tickets for the clash at the Allianz Arena like gold-dust. The UEFA Champions League final kicks off tonight at 20.45 with home heroes Bayern Munich taking on English side Chelsea from West London. It is the hottest ticket in town.
Ground capacity at the stadium built for the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany has been reduced by 3,500 for this game to only 62,500. Each club has been allocated 17,500 tickets for distribution amongst their loyal fans. A further 7,000 were sold by UEFA on the open market and the rest (20,500) were handed out to grateful sponsors and UEFA 'functionaries' and delegates.
It is inevitable that many of these will find their way onto the black market for such prestigious sporting events. Prices on various Internet auctions sites are verging on the ridiculous. No doubt the visiting ticketing touts lurking around the stadium and on the streets around tourist hot-spots are making a killing too.
It may very well transpire that your typical Bayern fan is seemingly being priced out of this bidding war. On the night when you look around the executive boxes and Category One seats in the arena, it might appear that half of Munich's exclusive Grünwald neighbourhood is in attendance, sipping champagne and enjoying their prawn sandwiches. They might pass comment on the loud, boorish drunken behaviour of the hoards of visiting 'Insel Affen' (Island Monkeys), many dressed in blue.
This could be tricky for the Bayern team on the pitch if things don't go their way on the night and they fail to receive the backing they deserve from the not-so-cheap seats. It has been hyped as the 'home final' but how will Günter and Gabi from Grünwald react if Bayern find themselves struggling to break down a resolute Chelsea side on the pitch? Will the 'Grünwald Gloryhunters' with the large disposable income but a meagre passion for FC Bayern urge the Reds onto greater efforts with even louder vocal encouragement? No. Instead they will probably return to the comfort of the box, watch the game on TV and continue to enjoy their fizzy drinks with their new-found friends Boris und Brigitte from Bogenhausen. Perhaps they will find time to comment on the lovely colour of the grass and 'oh, aren't those English fans making such a lot of noise'. But I do wish they would shut up so I can talk about the latest gossip in Hello magazine. They may notice Chelsea striker Didier Drogba spends most of his time on the floor.
But rest assured if things aren't going Bayern's way, Günter and Gabi will sneak out with ten minutes to play to beat the traffic on the way back to Grünwald.