It has passed its final test – the new hybrid pitch is ready after the ‘Tach der Fans’ festival last weekend. It took two and a half months to sow the pitch, let it grow and to weave the synthetic fibre but the ball finally rolled between the Ostkurve and the stadium’s arches for the first time since the resurfacing during the friendly against Valencia CF.
Werder’s groundsman Sebastian Breuing is proud of his team of seven. “The boys have put in some great work, I’m really happy. It feels like we’ve done more right than wrong,” Breuing tells WERDER.DE. However, the pitch’s keeper had to fight a few setbacks during the great task.
The old pitch’s turf was torn up and removed four days after the last home game of the season against Hoffenheim; following this, the subsoil was “renaturalized”, as Breuing worded it, and the new seeds were finally sowed at the start of June. However, a small tornado blustered through the stadium on the day of the sowing. “We didn’t know which seeds would blow away or whether we had enough seeds left,” Breuing said, looking back to the ‘hurricane’, which became a small viral hit on Twitter, but he can now look back at it with a grin on his face.
And then there was the B2run corporate event, arranged long in advance, which became a worry for the greenery due to torrential rain – it was a dream come true for the citizens of Bremen coming into the stadium’s interior, but a nightmare for Werder’s groundsman. “In hindsight, we needed a few days to consider a strategy and we almost had to start all over again,” Breuing honestly admits. That was in the middle of June, when there were only seven weeks left until everything had to be completed.
While the team were in Zillertal, the groundskeeping team committed to reseeding, which was a very hands-on task. A few of the grass plants survived, but certainly not many.
The vital step from the well-trodden natural grass to the new hybrid surface only took place in the past few weeks. The synthetic fibre was stitched in approximately 18 centimetres deep in a costly process, which strengthened the pitch’s base layer. The hefty machines worked around the clock, shuffling across the pitch in slow motion. The crucial elements were “a certain coverage ratio, a specific serration and an appropriate grass length,” according to Breuing, who gave a special thanks to EST Euro Sports Turf, SIS Grass as well as Garten-Moser.
The new hybrid pitch offers visibly improved water permeability and a more even playing surface. “The players will no longer dig out big chunks of turf with their studs.” The same concept was applied to the training ground. Left back Ludwig Augustinsson offered a positive summary after the friendly against Valencia CF. “The pitch was great, it'll be perfect by the first home game of the season,” says the Swede, with a view to the second matchday and the clash with Bayern.