Ribery’s one-man show secures Bayern win

Bayern Munich star Franck Ribery reinforced Franz Beckenbauer's opinion that the German football giants rely too much on the French midfielder by setting up the only goal in Saturday's 1-0 win at title-rivals Schalke 04.

Germany striker Miroslav Klose scored his tenth Bundesliga goal to seal the win at the Veltins Arena in Gelsenkirchen as Schalke fell to their third straight league defeat leaving Bayern top with a four-point lead.

Werder Bremen stay second after their 2-0 win over Borussia Dortmund.

Since his summer switch from Marseille, Ribery has become the Bundesliga’s brightest star and was instrumental is his side’s first win at Schalke for 10 years. But in his weekly column in German tabloid Bild. Beckenbauer says Bayern rely too much on Ribery, who returned from injury to put his side in the German Cup semi-finals with a winning penalty against 1860 Munich in midweek.

“The cup win shows how much Bayern depend on Ribery and in my opinion, it is too much,” wrote Beckenbauer, who is Bayern’s president. “Without him, the team is static and shows no imagination. His return from injury gave the team an electric shock. Suddenly, the other players move more and are more motivated.”

Ribery ruled the midfield against Schalke and Bayern had several chances to improve the lead through Klose and the Bundesliga’s top-scorer Luca Toni, while Schalke offered little apart from a handful of near-misses by German national team striker Kevin Kuranyi.

The future of Royal Blues coach Mirko Slomka now hangs in the balance after three-straight league defeats, but a Champions League win at FC Porto next week would put his side in the quarter-finals.

Werder Bremen remain four points adrift of Bayern with their 2-0 win over Borussia Dortmund thanks to a double-strike from Swedish striker Markus Rosenberg.

In the days other results, Karlsruhe moved into fifth place with a 3-1 win over VfL Wolfsburg. Strugglers Hansa Rostock and Arminia Bielefeld shared a point in their 1-1 draw as they both remain just above the relegation zone.

After their humiliating German Cup quarter-final defeat at the hands of second division relegation candidates Carl Zeiss Jena, defending champions VfB Stuttgart had their game with Energie Cottbus cancelled by bad weather. Nuremberg’s misery continues as they remain locked in the bottom three after their 2-1 defeat by Hanover.

On Friday, Hertha Berlin remain in midtable after picking up three points when they beat bottom side Duisburg 2-0 at the Olympic Stadium. And on Sunday, third-placed Bayer Leverkusen are at VfL Bochum while fourth-placed Hamburg take on Eintracht Frankfurt.

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EXPLAINED: The Covid rules for attending German football matches

The German Bundesliga kicks off on Friday evening with a match in Mönchengladbach. Here's a run-down of the Covid rules for football fans itching to join the crowds at the stadium.

EXPLAINED: The Covid rules for attending German football matches
Crowds cheer at a match between FC Kaiserslautern and Borussia Mönchengladbach, on August 9th, 2021. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Uwe Anspach

All eyes will be on Mönchengladbach this evening as the Bundesliga season kicks off with a match against reigning champions Bayern Munich – and this time, a crowd will be present in the stadium.

READ ALSO: German football fans get green light to return to stadiums next season

With several states liberalising their rules for public gatherings in recent months, many football fans are looking forward to enjoying a lively atmosphere at football matches once more. 

There’s just one problem: there are different rules for different stadiums. Here’s what you need to know about the Covid rules before you book your ticket for any of the upcoming fixtures. 

How many fans are allowed in the stadiums? 

According to a recent decision by the federal and state governments, football stadiums around the country are allowed to fill half of their seats and sell up to 25,000 tickets to fans. 

Of course, how much this limit affects the overall atmosphere – and the football clubs’ bottoms lines – depends on the capacity of the stadium. In Borussia Dortmund this weekend, the full 25,000 tickets have been sold – but that only equates to 30 percent of the stadium’s full capacity.

READ ALSO: German football: Which Bundesliga club should I support?

Meanwhile, in the stadium owned by Berlin’s FC Union, selling just 11,000 tickets is enough to fill half of the available seats. 

What do I need to show to get in? 

That really depends on the stadium in question, although in general anyone over the age of six will need to show a negative test or proof of vaccination or recovery – the so-called ‘3G’ rule – to enter the grounds. But other clubs, such as FC Cologne, have decided to only permit people who are vaccinated or recovered to attend matches from August 28th onwards – with exceptions for people who can’t get vaccinated, like children and pregnant woman.

At Mönchengladbach’s Borussia Park stadium, however, unvaccinated fans can enter with a negative test, though visitors who’ve stayed in a high-risk or virus variant area over the past two weeks will be unable to enter – along with people who’ve had recent contact with someone who has Covid. 

If you want to see action like this at FC Cologne’s stadium, you’ll need to get your Covid jabs sorted first. Photo: picture alliance/dpa/dpa-Zentralbild | Robert Michael

Meanwhile, Borussia Dortmund has taken a middle ground. While the 3G rule applies in principle, only 1,000 of the available 25,000 tickets will be sold to people who are providing a negative test. The remaining 24,000 seats will only be available for those who are vaccinated against – or recently recovered from – Covid. 

If you’re not vaccinated and are keen to see a match, it’s worth checking on your local club’s website beforehand or sending them an email to double-check whether you will be allowed in. 

What else do I need to know about? 

You’ll need to bring a FPP2 mask with you to matches to wear in your seat and while heading to the bathroom or bar, and also observe social distancing rules – meaning staying 1.5 metres apart from your fellow fans.

In most states, you’ll also need to provide your contact details, which will be saved by the club and potentially passed on to local health authorities in order to monitor a potential Covid outbreak. 

Will these rules continue throughout the season?

That’s still an open question. If infection rates in Germany continue to rise or high-profile superspreading events occur at future matches, the government could potentially crack down further on sports events in autumn.

This could involve limiting the seat numbers even further, or (more controversially), introducing a ‘vaccinated-only’ rule for entering stadiums. 

READ ALSO: Should Germany bring in Covid restrictions for unvaccinated people only?

A recent outbreak of Covid in the Mainz football team has also dampened celebrations slightly in the run-up to the start of the Bundesliga – leaving club owners urgently calling for both fans and footballers to get vaccinated. 

Speaking to WDR ahead of the season’s start, FC Cologne’s managing director Alexander Wehrle said widespread vaccination was the best route back to normality – a message reiterated by Bayern Munich coach Julian Nagelsmann.