Schalke seal Champions League berth

A goal by Germany striker Gerald Asamoah launched Schalke 04's 3-0 win over VfL Bochum on Tuesday to put the Royal Blues second in the Bundesliga and seal their Champions League berth next season.

Schalke seal Champions League berth
Schalke celebrates on Tuesday in Bochum. Photo: DPA

Bayern Munich were confirmed as German League champions last Sunday, but with two games left Schalke are almost certain to finish in the league’s top three.

Asamoah’s 34th minute header gave Schalke the lead before Croatian midfielder Ivan Rakitic put the result beyond doubt when he netted on 67 minutes and captain Marcelo Bordon added a late third with a header.

But rivals Werder Bremen have the chance to regain second in the league when they take on Hamburg in the north Germany derby on Wednesday night.

“We wanted to win our last three games to put Bremen under pressure. So three points were a must in Bochum,” said caretaker manager Mike Bueskens.

“We are very pleased, but there is still plenty of football left this season.”

Hanover 96 keep alive their slim dream of a top five finish which will give them a place in Europe next season with a 3-0 win over Hansa Rostock on Tuesday.

Two second-half goals by midfielder Jan Rosenthal sealed the win that put Hansa Rostock bottom of the table and all but relegated after just one season in the Bundesliga.

Hansa are now five points away from safety and have just two more games to claw their way out of trouble.

VfB Stuttgart’s chances of a Champions League place next season are all but over after their 3-2 defeat at Borussia Dortmund on Tuesday when Switzerland striker Alexander Frei hit two second-half goals.

With just two games left, the 2007 Bundesliga champions are six points off a Champions League berth.

Germany striker Mario Gomez – set to be one of the stars of next month’s Euro 2008 – grabbed two second-half goals for Stuttgart, but it was not enough to prevent Dortmund taking the three points.

Frei put his side ahead on 59 minutes with a direct free-kick and then made the result safe by slotting home a cross on 78 minutes which proved to be the winner.

Energie Cottbus picked up a valuable point with their 1-1 draw against Karlsruhe to leave them four points clear of the relegation zone.

On Wednesday night, champions Bayern take on Arminia Bielefeld at Munich’s Allianz Arena determined to add to their nine-point lead at the top of the table.

“We have three games left, and we want to enjoy ourselves for the rest of the season,” said Franck Ribery.

The French midfielder is set to return along with Lucio, Zé Roberto and captain Oliver Kahn, after the quartet missed out on Sunday’s trip to Wolfsburg where a 0-0 draw confirmed Bayern as champions.

Also on Wednesday, Bayer Leverkusen who are just outside the top five and are desperately chasing a place in Europe next season host Hertha Berlin.

And mid-table sides Eintracht Frankfurt and VfL Wolfsburg will battle it out.

There is also a relegation battle royal with bottom three sides Nuremberg and Duisburg both in desperate need of points.

Ryland James

For members


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.