Ah, the British football fan makes friends wherever he goes, does he not?
I was living in Japan for the 2002 World Cup, and recall how the city of Sapporo behaved as it hosted the England/Argentina match. Car dealers removed display models from their forecourts. Teachers made children play indoors. Bars posted signs proclaiming No Foreigners Aloud. Some closed entirely, and others even boarded up their doors and windows.
The City of Munich, like Sapporo, has imposed a public drinking ban for this weekend, as Bayern Munich hosts British team Chelsea for the final of the European Champions League. Many publicans have shown some distatste for English visitors. Ugo Crocamo, proprietor of trendy H'ugo's bar and nightclub said, “I will have 500 Bayern fans, I don’t want Chelsea fans here.”
Chelsea supporters who wish to test his resolve should note that you'll find H'ugo's at Promenadeplatz 1 in the Altstadt, accessible from the Karlsplatz transport exchange via tram #19. That's across the street from the Bayerischer Hof, Munich's swankest hotel, who might also appreciate your custom, as would the Mandarin Oriental (Neuturmstraße 1, also on tram route #19), where your team is staying. You're welcome.
Munich police have adopted a relatively gemütlich approach to potential troublemakers. The Polizei Präesidium reached out to Chelsea fans via their club, and will hold a chummy "Fan-Talk" in the bleachers behind their block of seats, fifteen minutes before the game begins. "Conflict situations will also be resolved primarily by means of communication", says the aptly-named Deputy Commissioner Robert Kopp, "though troublemakers and offenders will be red-carded timely and consistently." Trust me, you don't want to get a taste of their consistency.
From our perch across the river in genteel Bogenhausen, the game won't affect us much. Except to notice that it has generated a flurry of English language in the public media.
Adidas took over the cement seats on which Müncheners cool themselves by the Stachus fountain. Banners invited fans, in English, to sit amongst each other in harmony.
Note this rotating sign on the Prinzregentenstraße. First, an English beer ad, aimed at Chelsea supporters, which reminds us that beer fuels your screams—screams of passion, screams of rage, screams of pain, screams of sorrow. I doubt that such a sentiment would be allowed in a jurisdiction where its English meaning would matter, given the restrictions on what alcohol advertising can say.
And next, the local version. Münchener Hell, under the Heavens of Bavaria. Beer drinkers here seem to behave a little like the wine drinkers our British football supporters sneer at.
Chelsea fans, take a leaf out of the Bayern München playbook. Relax a little. It's only a game.