"There's hardly any grass left on the pitch"

The extreme weather conditions have had an impact on the pitch at the WIRSOL Rhein-Neckar-Arena. Before the friendly against SD Eibar (Saturday 11 August 2018, 15.30 CET) we spoke to TSG groundsman Maik Grimm.

Germany is currently experiencing a summer of very high temperatures and low rainfall, and the pitch at the WIRSOL Rhein-Neckar-Arena has suffered considerably as a result. What's the current situation with the "TSG carpet"?

MG"Unfortunately it's not looking good - basically, there's hardly any grass left. The heat has not helped the subsoil at all. Those coming to the friendly on Saturday will see for themselves just how bad it is, though it's not just the heat that's caused it, as the Grey Leaf Spot fungus has also infested the pitch. The high temperatures mean it has spread more quickly and made regeneration impossible."

So there's nothing you can do about the fungus?

"It's completely resistant to all the fungicides we're allowed to use, so there's no way to stop it. There's nothing us groundsmen can do at the moment. This fungus has infested a number of Bundesliga pitches in the past, and it spreads extremely quickly and aggressively."

Will this have any impact on the players?

"It won't have any direct impact on the players, but of course it will affect the game, because the playing surface is not in the condition they want or are used to. There's no danger to the players' health from this fungus."

What can you do in future?

"After the friendly against SD Eibar we'll lay new turf, which we haven't been able to do yet due to the ongoing heatwave and the rapid deterioration over the past few days. Our main aim is to produce the best possible pitch for the Bundesliga and Champions League games, as well as for the upcoming Germany game here. At some point in the future we'll change the type of grass we use - the industry is constantly researching and testing new things, so it's definitely possible that in a few years' time there will be a grass which is resistant to Grey Leaf Spot." 

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