Stuttgart confident ahead of Sevilla Champions League clash

VfB Stuttgart coach Markus Babbel is confident his struggling Bundesliga side can defeat Sevilla in Tuesday's Champions League clash, despite the Spaniards defending a 100 percent record.

Stuttgart confident ahead of Sevilla Champions League clash
Photo: DPA

Stuttgart were humbled 2-1 at home to Schalke 04 on Saturday, their third straight defeat in the German league, which leaves them 13th in the table and struggling for confidence.

Sevilla also went down 1-0 to Deportivo La Coruna on Saturday to go third in the Spanish league, but Babbel saw enough in the defeat against Schalke’s Royal Blues to take some heart for Tuesday.

“The team fought hard and showed heart against Schalke,” said Babbel. “We made some crucial errors at key moments, that was very annoying, but our performance gives us confidence ahead of Tuesday’s game against Sevilla.”

Having been pegged back by a late equaliser at home to Rangers in a 1-1 draw in their opening round of Group G matches, VfB Stuttgart will be determined to avoid another slip when they host the Spaniards.

After seeing his side go down 1-0 to Deportivo, Sevilla boss Manolo Jimenez was keen to add some perspective to the result.

“We are not going to be relegated after losing to Deportivo,” said Jimenez.

Jimenez also dismissed suggestions that Sevilla had missed striker Luis Fabiano saying: “Everyone has things to improve on. The rotations worked well, and we put in a good performance.”

Stuttgart are second in the section on two points, having also drawn 1-1 at Unirea Urziceni, while leaders Sevilla followed up their 2-0 home victory over the Romanian titleholders by triumphing 4-1 at Glasgow Rangers.

It is an early reunion for teams who met 12 months ago in Spain during the UEFA Cup group stage when Sevilla won 2-0.

Stuttgart have not won in three games at home to Spanish opponents and failed to even score in their last two fixtures. The draw with Rangers at least helped Stuttgart improve their home record in the Champions League.

Before that they had lost three of their last four games in their own stadium.

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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.