Does this shed light on Dortmund's success 'Artificial sun' repair lamps pitch them above rivals in Bundesliga
13:25 GMT, 8 January 2013
15:58 GMT, 8 January 2013
Bathed in an eerie yellow glow in keeping with the club's colours, the pitch at Borussia Dortmund's Signal Iduna Park receives some tender loving care ahead of the resumption of the Bundesliga season.
The strange light, made all the more pronounced by the darkened stands, is the result of a hi-tech 'artificial sun' lighting system used by the German champions to keep their pitch in pristine condition.
With the stadium capacity a massive 80,645 for league matches – including nearly 25,000 on the famous Sudtribune terrace – the tall stands block out natural sunlight, meaning the pitch can easily become dry and patchy.
Eerie: Borussia Dortmund's Signal Iduna Park is bathed in a yellow glow as artificial lighting keeps the pitch in pristine condition during the Bundesliga winter break
So for the past two years, Dortmund have hired Dutch company Stadium Grow Lighting (SGL) to construct a portable grid of powerful lamps above the turf in between matches to ensure the grass gets all the necessary nutrients.
It has created a pristine surface which perfectly suits Dortmund's free-flowing style of play and has helped deliver the last two Bundesliga titles.
With German football pausing for a winter break, and natural sunlight at a premium, the lights have been warming the pitch round the clock in recent weeks.
It's a similar situation at many of the 80-odd football clubs across Europe that use SGL's technology, with pitches today representing a vast improvement on a decade or two ago.
Yellow wall: The tall stands at the 80,000 capacity Signal Iduna Park mean natural sunlight is at a premium
Success: The pristine pitch created by the lights has been a factor in Dortmund's recent success, including two consecutive Bundesliga titles
Dortmund resume their defence of the title with a trip to Werder Bremen on January 19, with the first game back at the Signal Iduna on January 25 against Nuremberg.
But they have plenty to do if they're to overhaul runaway leaders Bayern Munich, who have a nine point lead over Bayer Leverkusen and 12 over Dortmund.
Pitches have come a long way from the days of Harris, Hunter and Best…
Mudbath: Manchester United's George Best gets a shot away under challenge from Chelsea's Ron 'Chopper' Harris on a less-than-pristine playing surface in 1971
Night of misery: A despondent Norman Hunter of England on a very cut up pitch in Chorzow after losing to Poland in the 1974 World Cup qualifiers