Toni wants Bayern to play Bremen with passion

Luca Toni insists Bayern Munich must use the same passion they showed in their Champions League hammering of Sporting Lisbon in midweek to get their Bundesliga campaign back on track in Bremen on Sunday.

Toni wants Bayern to play Bremen with passion
Toni celebrates a goal against Lisbon (with passion). Photo: DPA

The Italian World Cup-winning striker scored twice in Lisbon as Bayern routed the home side 5-0 and are virtually guaranteed a Champions League quarter-final berth.

But Bayern’s progress in Europe is a far cry from their Bundesliga form where they have lost three of their last four games and are down to fourth in the table – four points behind leaders Hamburg.

“We showed the real Bayern Munich in Lisbon,” said Toni. “We’ve shown what we’re capable of. The decisive factor was the whole team playing with passion and resolve, because we want to get out of a difficult situation together. Now we need to start winning again in the Bundesliga.”

Werder Bremen host Bayern on Sunday, but few Munich fans will need reminding of the outcome the last time the two sides met.

Bremen shocked the defending champions 5-2 at Munich’s Allianz Arena last September.

Since then Bremen have dropped down the table to 11th, but with Brazilian midfielder Diego back after a four-match suspension, Werder will test Bayern.

“We succeeded against Lisbon where we’ve failed in other matches recently,” said Bayern defender Philipp Lahm. “That’s how we have to continue, we’ll enjoy the victory, but our focus is on Bremen.”

Bremen, last year’s league runners-up, will be buoyed by having knocked AC Milan out of the UEFA Cup on Thursday.

Bayern have injury doubts over defender Massimo Oddo and Lucio who both picked up knocks in Lisbon.

League leaders Hamburg host VfL Wolfsburg on Sunday and are yet to be beaten at home.

Both sides have just two days recovery between their UEFA Cup matches against NEC Nijmegen and Paris St Germain respectively.

Despite being probed for a delayed doping test, Hoffenheim pair Andreas Ibertsberger and Christoph Janker are in the squad to face Borussia Dortmund.

After drawing 3-3 with Stuttgart last Saturday, Hoffenheim dropped to second in the table and failed to win their last three games after their fairytale rise from the second division to the summit of the Bundesliga.

Former league leaders Hertha Berlin have a golden chance to get back to the top when they host bottom side Borussia Moenchengladbach at the Olympic Stadium in the German capital with striker Marko Pantelic still out with a knee injury.

Bruno Labbadia, boss of fifth-placed Bayer Leverkusen, is considering handing a debut to 19-year-old forward Tony Kroos at Hanover on Saturday after the teenager joined from Bayern Munich last month.

On Friday, Cologne will look to back up their shock 2-1 win at Bayern at Arminia Bielefeld while on Sunday seventh-placed VfB Stuttgart are at second-from-bottom Karlsruhe.

In Saturday’s other games Eintracht Frankfurt are home to Schalke 04 and Bochum host Energie Cottbus.

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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.