Rostock, Duisburg relegated from Bundesliga

Duisburg and Hansa Rostock were relegated from the Bundesliga on Saturday while champions Bayern are on the verge of the record for the least amount of league goals conceded in a season.

Rostock, Duisburg relegated from Bundesliga

After they both spent just one season in Germany’s top flight, Duisburg were condemned to the second division after they lost 3-2 at home to champions Bayern, while Hansa Rostock’s 2-1 defeat by Bayer Leverkusen sent them down.

Nuremberg – German Cup winners in 2007 – have one game left to save themselves following their 1-0 defeat at Hertha Berlin. Either Nuremberg or Arminia Bielefeld will be the third side to be relegated next weekend. Energie Cottbus made sure they stay in the Bundesliga with a shock 2-0 win at home to Hamburg.

Having been confirmed as Bundesliga champions last weekend, Bayern raced into a 3-0 lead only to concede two second half goals and had to cling on to their slender lead for a 3-2 win.

“We made life hard for ourselves by making too many errors and conceding the early goal,” said Duisburg coach Rudi Bommer. “I appealed to the players’ sense of honour at half-time as we were 3-0 down and we did well in the second half,” Bommer said. “But we are being relegated not based on today’s performance, but based on what we have done over the last season.”

Bayern have conceded 20 goals this season and are one game away from breaking Werder Bremen’s record of 22 for the lowest number of goals leaked in a season.

Munich took an early lead at Duisburg when midfielder Andreas Ottl unleashed a right-footed shot from 21 metres after just three minutes.

“I couldn’t believe we were 3-0 up after 20 minutes, I don’t think anyone could,” said Bayern coach Ottmar Hitzfeld. “Duisburg under-performed in the first half, but responded by pushing us hard and were on the verge of beating us by the final whistle,” he said. “Even though we have won the league, it is important we win our games, right up until the end of the season – we have a responsibility to our fans.”

Germany striker Lukas Podolski netted twice in two minutes to put Bayern on to a 3-0 lead after just 20 minutes. But Duisburg fought back with two second half goals to put the champions under pressure at 3-2 with more than half an hour remaining.

Werder Bremen remain second in the league behind Bayern after their 6-1 hammering of Hanover 96.

Portuguese striker Hugo Almeida opened the scoring with a 14th minute goal, but the second half turned into a goal feast in Bremen before Hanover grabbed a consolation goal on the final whistle.

And third-placed Schalke – just two points behind – kept up the pressure on Bremen with a hard-fought 1-0 win at home to Eintracht Frankfurt.

Dark horses VfL Wolfsburg are on the verge of a UEFA Cup berth after their 4-0 humbling of VfB Stuttgart. The hosts took the lead when Brazilian Marcelinho netted after 16 minutes and things quickly went bad to worse when Stuttgart were reduced to 10 men after Fernando Meira was sent off after 18 minutes.

With four sides – Wolfsburg, Stuttgart, Bayer Leverkusen and Hamburg – all locked on 51 points and just two UEFA Cup places available, it will all be decided on the last day of the season next Saturday.

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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.