Ribery back with Bayern ahead of weekend Leverkusen match

Defending Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich will take on bottom side Energie Cottbus on Saturday with midfield star Franck Ribery despite his injury scare with France.

Ribery back with Bayern ahead of weekend Leverkusen match
Photo: DPA

Ribery picked up an ankle knock in Wednesday’s 0-0 draw against Uruguay in Paris but has been a big factor for third-placed Bayern as they closed the gap to three points behind league leaders Bayer Leverkusen.

The Frenchman has scored in each of the last five games for Bayern and was back to his best after his summer ankle injury playing for France at Euro 2008 as he helped Bayern rise from 11th to third in the league.

“There is no problem, he can play,” said Bayern coach Jürgen Klinsmann.

Germany midfielder Tim Borowski is also fit to face Cottbus having shaken off stomach muscle problems while defender Lucio is back in training after an adductor muscle injury.

Energie Cottbus have picked up just two wins all season, but Bayern lost in Cottbus last season on their way to the league title.

League leaders Leverkusen can also expect to pick up three points when they travel to Arminia Bielefeld on Saturday.

Bielefeld are second from bottom with just one win to their credit while Bayer have Patrick Helmes in their ranks fresh from scoring for Germany in the 2-1 defeat by England on Wednesday.

Leverkusen are on 28 points, level with second-placed rivals Hoffenheim, who are at mid-table Cologne on Saturday.

Cologne are still without captain Umit Oezat, who collapsed during a game with a heart complaint at the beginning of the season. Hoffenheim striker Vedad Ibisevic looks to add to his 14 goals in 13 games.

Having slipped down the table to eighth, Schalke are waiting on the fitness of Albert Streit (knee problem) and Gerald Asamoah (flu) for their match against struggling Borussia Mönchengladbach.

With impressive wins over Hoffenheim and Hamburg in recent weeks, Hertha Berlin are at Bochum looking to build on their fourth place in the league.

Striker Marko Pantelic is hoping to be fit to play after receiving treatment for a thigh injury he picked up against Hamburg.

In the day’s other games, mid-table Wolfsburg are at home to VfB Stuttgart while Eintracht Frankfurt welcome Hannover.

On Sunday, Hamburg are looking for three points from their home game against Werder Bremen to challenge for the top spot.

Martin Jol’s Hamburg have been in erratic form of late and three defeats in five games have dropped them to fifth.

They will be without Dutch midfielder Nigel de Jong, who has aggravated a knee injury after missing the last five weeks.

Despite their presence in the Champions League, Werder Bremen are only seventh and picked up their second league win in seven games last Sunday when they beat Cologne 3-1.

Bremen face Anorthosis Famagusta in Cyprus next Wednesday in the Champions League and coach Thomas Schaaf will want three points from Hamburg to boost his squad’s flagging confidence.

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.