Having already been the venue for the DFB-Pokal Final for 35 years, many people may already view the Olympiastadion in Berlin as the 'German Wembley', but partners at German architecture firm GMP have made the suggestion that it could become just that should Hertha Berlin end up leaving the historic venue.
The Olympiastadion is a double tier, all-seater stadium holding just under 75,000, making it the second largest in terms of overall capacity in Germany after Dortmund's Signal Iduna Park. However, this is just one of the reasons the stadium has it's detractors amongst football fans. They say it's simply too big for a club of Hertha's stature, leading to poor atmospheres echoing around the vast bowl which on an average matchday is only 60% full. Complaints are also made about the lack of terracing, poor sightlines from the deep lower tier and the running track which sets the stands too far back from the action. Hertha have listened and announced in November 2018 that they are looking into the possibility of building a new stadium to move into once their tenancy at the Olympiastadion expires in 2025. As well as Hertha's home matches, the 'Big O' has played host to the DFB-Pokal Final every year since 1985, and in 2006 it was the venue for the World Cup Final when French maestro Zinedine Zidane objected to something Italy's Marco Materazzi said to him. It's also a concert venue, playing host to The Rolling Stones, Madonna, U2 et al on their world tours; and it occasionally reverts back to it's original athletics purpose as it did for the 2009 World Championships when Usain Bolt smashed two world records. GMP partner Hubert Nienhoff has proposed that the venue could become the national team’s sole venue if Hertha do choose to build a new stadium and move on. In an interview with German news website t-online, Nienhoff said: “What I think is a shame is that the Berlin Olympic Stadium is increasingly being presented as unsuitable for football games. I just can’t understand it, especially because I’ve seen football games in the Olympic Stadium from so many different positions – be it upper or lower tier, east stand or main grandstand. I was always impressed by the volume. I always had a lot of fun in the Olympic Stadium.”
Nienhoff isn't in favour of Hertha moving out of the Olympiastadion but believes the venue could be repurposed if the Bundesliga club did leave. He said: “Before it is completely fallow, why don’t we finally use it as a national stadium?” Nienhoff’s colleague Hans Joachim Pap added: “If the Olympic Stadium were to be converted into a pure football stadium without affecting the historical structure, the complete modernisation since the commitment for the 2006 World Cup would have cost less than half what the new Wembley building would have cost in England. Germany would finally have its ‘German Wembley’, which does not have to fear comparisons with the original.”