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Football: Bayern splash the cash to buy Bundesliga title

While the duo of Luca Toni and Franck Ribery played a big part in helping Bayern Munich win the Bundesliga title, the German giant's financial firepower was the real key to their success.

Football: Bayern splash the cash to buy Bundesliga title
Ribery (r) imitates Toni's post-goal celebration. Photo: DPA

No other Bundesliga side is remotely capable of copying Bayern’s feat of splashing out €69 million ($100 million) in a summer spending spree to recruit names like Ribery from Marseille and Toni from Fiorentina.

The pair gave an almost instant return, long before the season was won at Wolfsburg with a 0-0 draw on Sunday with three games remaining.

Ribery, who cost Bayern €26 million last summer, bossed Bayern’s midfield over the course of the season, while Toni has scored 21 league goals so far for the winners.

Bayern bought in seven players last summer including Germany defender Marcell Jansen and striker Miroslav Klose, the top-scorer at the 2006 World Cup who came to Bayern for a cool €12 million.

Over the course of the season, Toni and Klose have scored 31 league goals between them so far.

Veteran striker Roy Maakay and midfielder Owen Hargreaves were both sold to cater for the new arrivals, while Ze Roberto was brought back from Brazil to give the midfield a harder edge alongside Ribery.

Before the season began, club manager Uli Hoeness had predicted a massive gap between his team and the rest of the league once the action started.

“They will need binoculars to see us,” he boasted with only a hint of irony.

While the other Bundesliga clubs watched the spending spree with the green eyes of envy, Bayern blasted their opponents and finished with a 10-0 goal difference with a maximum 9 points after the first three games.

Bayern were only beaten twice in the league this season – at VfB Stuttgart and Energie Cottbus – after lacklustre performances.

The defeat in Cottbus was the biggest shock of the season as the Bundesliga’s bottom side beat the top team in March – on the day Bayern barely put up a fight.

With a salary of €10 million a year – or more than €192,000 ($296,500 ) per week before tax – there were mutterings of discontent in the Bayern ranks on the rare occasions Toni failed to score.

But Toni and Ribery proved their worth in the title run-in when defending champions VfB Stuttgart were hammered 4-1 at the end of April when Ribery came off the bench and lit up the Allianz Arena.

After Toni put Bayern ahead in the eighth minute, Ribery made his entrance in the 57th minute, picked up an immediate yellow card, curled in a shot from 35 metres and smashed home a second a minute later to seal the win.

“He is an artist when the ball is at his feet,” beamed club manager Uli Hoeness.

“You may congratulate us on winning the title.”

But Bayern’s illusions of greatness were blown apart when a side containing the likes of Ribery, Toni and Klose were blown apart at Zenit St Petersburg in the UEFA Cup semi-final on May 1.

The 4-0 hammering was fully deserved as the Russians ruthlessly exposed Bayern’s poor defending.

Even though club president Franz Beckenbauer had descibed the UEFA Cup as a ‘losers’ competition, Munich failed to impress in their European campaign.

New coach Jurgen Klinsmann will need to make sure his side are far more consistent next season if Bayern are to threaten in the Champions League.

Ryland James

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BAVARIA

Bar closures and no Christmas markets: How Bavaria is tightening Covid rules

Bavaria will order the closure of all bars and clubs as part of sweeping new restrictions to try and control the Covid spread and ease overrun hospitals. Here's a look at what's planned.

Closed Christmas market stalls in Munich.
Closed Christmas market stalls in Munich. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Sven Hoppe

On Friday Bavarian state leader Markus Söder announced more tough restrictions to deal with spiralling Covid infections and packed intensive care units.

“The corona drama continues,” said Söder after the cabinet meeting, adding that 90 percent of Covid patients in state hospitals are unvaccinated. “Being unvaccinated is a real risk.”

Bavaria has a vaccination rate of 65.9 percent – lower than the nationwide rate of almost 68 percent.

READ ALSO: Bavaria cancels all Christmas markets in Covid surge

Söder said the state’s Covid package was about “blocking, braking and boosting”, adding that vaccination centres will be ramped up. 

“We must act,” he said. “Bavaria is exhausting almost all legal means until December 15th.”

Earlier this week, Bavaria introduced a state-wide 2G rule, meaning only vaccinated people (geimpft) and people who’ve recovered from Covid (genesen) can enter many public spaces. People who are eligible to get vaccinated but choose not to get it are excluded. 

Here’s an overview of the planned restrictions set to come in on Wednesday, as reported by local broadcaster BR24. 

Bars, clubs and restaurant curfew

From Wednesday, and for three weeks, all nightlife like clubs, discos, bars, pubs and brothels in Bavaria are set to close their doors. Restaurants will have to shut at 10pm. So planned Christmas nights out will likely need to be cancelled or postponed. 

Christmas markets

There will be no Christmas or Christkindl markets in Bavaria this year. In the past days, several cities had announced that they would not be holding these events this year due to the Covid situation. 

Contact restrictions on the unvaccinated

Söder announced new restrictions on the number of people those who are not inoculated can socialise with. A maximum of five unvaccinated people will be allowed to meet, from two different households. Children under 12 will not be included in the total, as well as vaccinated or people who’ve recovered from Covid.

Cultural and sporting events

All cultural and sporting events can only take place with significantly reduced spectators. At theatres, opera performances, sporting events, in leisure centres and at trade fairs, there will be a 25-percent capacity limit. The 2G plus rule also applies. This means that only vaccinated and recovered people are allowed to enter (not the unvaccinated) – and only with a negative rapid test. Masks are compulsory everywhere.

Universities, driving schools, close-body services: 2G plus

All universities, driving schools, adult education centres and music schools will only be open to those who have been vaccinated and have recovered – making it 2G. This rule also applies to body-related services, like hairdressers and beauty salons. Only medical, therapeutic and nursing services are exempt from the 2G rule. So unvaccinated people can still go to the doctor or receive a medical procedure. 

KEY POINTS: Germany finalises new Covid restrictions for winter

Shops

Shops remain exempt from 2G rules, meaning unvaccinated people can visit them. However, there is to be limits on capacity. This means that fewer customers are allowed into a shop at the same time.

Special rules for hotspots

Currently, the incidence in eight Bavarian districts is above 1,000 infections per 100,000 people in seven days. Here and in all other regions where the incidence goes above this number, public life is to be shut down as far as possible.

This means that restaurants, hotels and all sports and cultural venues will have to close. Hairdressers and other body-related service providers will also not be allowed to open for three weeks, and events will also have to be cancelled. Universities will only be allowed to offer digital teaching. Shops will remain open, but there must be 20 square metres of space per customer. This means that only half as many customers as in other regions are allowed in a shop.

If the incidence falls below 1,000 for at least five days, the rules are lifted.

Schools and daycare

Throughout Bavaria, schools and daycare centres are to remain open. However, there will be regular Covid testing. Children and young people have to continue to wear a face mask during lessons, including school sports, unless they are exercising outside. 

Bavaria is expected to approve the measures on Tuesday and they will be in force until at least December 15th. We’ll keep you updated if there are any changes. 

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