Bayern and Hoffenheim win big

A superb piece of finishing by French star Franck Ribery led to Bayern Munich's 3-1 win over ten-man Arminia Bielefeld to put the German giants third, while Hoffenheim regained top spot on Saturday.

Bayern and Hoffenheim win big
Photo: DPA

Goals by Germany striker Miroslav Klose and Ribery, plus a late penalty from Lukas Podolski, gave Bayern their fourth straight league win in the Bundesliga.

The victory puts the defending champions third on 21 points, but Hoffenheim reclaimed the top place they lost for 24 hours with a 4-1 win over Karlsruhe to lead the table with 25 points.

“I am contented that we took three points and have improved our place in the table,” said Bayern coach Jurgen Klinsmann. “We had to have patience against a very organised Bielefeld side and we had to work hard.”

Having endured criticism from Bayern manager Uli Hoeness after two poor games, Podolski’s improved performance was especially pleasing for Klinsmann.

“Lukas Podolski showed exactly the reaction which I have expected from him,” he said.

Bayern took the lead at Munich’s Allianz Arena when Ribery whipped in a free-kick which was saved, but when the ball fell to Klose he slipped his marker and slotted home his shot on 25 minutes.

But Bielefeld were level just five minutes later when Bayern defender Martin Demichelis, who scored an own goal against Frankfurt on Wednesday, gave away a penalty and Poland striker Artur Wichniarek rifled home the spot kick.

Munich had Bielefeld under immense pressure in the second-half as they created 11 shots in just over 20 minutes early on, including a header from defender Lucio which hammered the crossbar.

Having squandered a bucket load of chances, Bayern finally got the deserved break through on 77 minutes when Podolski fed a pass into Ribery who slid his shot home.

And Podolski smashed home a penalty on 84 minutes as the home side dominated.

Bielefeld lost midfielder Robert Tesche on 82 minutes when he hacked down Ribery through sheer frustration and was shown a straight red card.

Having lost top place in the league for less than 24 hours to Bayer Leverkusen, Hoffenheim went back to the summit with a win over Karlsruhe.

After a slow start, Hoffenheim striker Vedad Ibisevic netted twice and is the league’s top scorer with 13 goals in 11 games, while Nigeria striker Chinedu Obasi also scored two goals.

“I do not think that we started that well and we only really made amends after a quarter of an hour,” said Hoffenheim coach Ralf Rangnick. “The reaction of the team when we went 1-1 was very good, we are of course very happy to get a big win.”

Werder Bremen picked up their first league win since the end of September when they raced into a 3-0 half-time lead against Hertha Berlin and eventually won 5-1.

Title-contenders Hamburg suffered a shock when they went down 3-0 at Hanover, having been 2-0 down after just 18 minutes, and VfB Stuttgart were also humbled 3-1 at home to strugglers Cologne.

But Schalke 04 managed a late 2-0 win over second-from-bottom Energie Cottbus thanks to a second-half goal from Germany defender Heiko Westermann on 80 minutes and a penalty from Peru striker Jefferson Farfan on 90 minutes. Bayer Leverkusen briefly led the top of the table following Friday night’s convincing 2-0 win at home to Wolfsburg after a second-half strike from midfielder Tranquillo Barnetta and a header from striker Stefan Kiessling.

Mid-table Borussia Dortmund are home to strugglers Bochum on Sunday while bottom side Moenchengladbach host Eintracht Frankurt.

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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.