10 Nov 2015

FC Köln first German football club to opt for GreenFields MX and XtraGrass

Professional football has had many years to get used to synthetic turf and to its look and feel. Leading trainers, managers and clubs praise its many advantages, including FC Köln (Cologne). As the frontrunner, however, the club wanted to move with the times and to have the most modern pitch available. Recently two new pitches were installed, one GreenFields MX and one Evolution XQ, at its grounds together with a special pitch with XtraGrass for the professional training of goalkeepers.

FC Köln is known as a progressive football club. Immediately after the formation of the Bundesliga, in 1963, the club already had a training centre for both professional players and juniors. The Bundesliga is the highest division in professional football in Germany. The football federation requires every professional football club to have a training centre for young players and this centre must nowadays have synthetic turf. “Here too FC Köln leads the way. The club is, incidentally, also one of the first champions in the Bundesliga”, says Werner Jakobs, managing director of the GreenFields distributor in Germany.

More playing hours on synthetic turf

In the view of Jakobs – a midfielder at Fortuna Düsseldorf in the 1980s – FC Köln has limited space. “With two synthetic turf pitches the football club can both play matches and have training sessions on the turf. This is because synthetic turf makes it possible to play on the pitches more intensively and much more frequently. In this way its young players also have greater opportunities to develop.” The club used the summer recess to completely renew two pitches, whereas one pitch is installed with GreenFields MX. FC Köln became the first club in Germany to opt for GreenFields MX.

Natural appearance

Before the pitches were renewed, FC Köln had already been playing on synthetic turf from GreenFields for many years. “We were delighted with it. GreenFields material is of high quality. Moreover, its appearance very closely resembles that of natural grass”, adds Jörg Schmadtke, managing director of FC Köln. “The new generation of synthetic turf enables us to take huge steps towards bringing synthetic turf as close as possible to natural grass”, states Werner Jakobs. “And what is more, the material is fully recyclable.”

Special pitch for goalkeepers with XtraGrass

Schmadtke is known as a successful manager: in fact, several years ago he was voted Manager of the Year in the Bundesliga. Previously he had been a professional keeper. That background probably played a role in the decision to install a special pitch for the professional training of goalkeepers, with XtraGrass. XtraGrass is a natural grass turf reinforced with artificial fibres to give a winning formula of great natural grass playability and a surface that is much more resistant to wear. Developed and refined over the last 10 years, XtraGrass is a unique and patented turf reinforcement system which provides the flexibility to adapt to the unique differences that exist at every location. Hybrid turf is the perfect solution for clubs that find it difficult to maintain a natural grass pitch but do not want, or are not permitted, to play on a 100% artificial  pitch.

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