Bayern Munich preps for intense schedule ahead

Bayern Munich begin what one coach called “three weeks of truth” on Saturday against Eintracht Frankfurt with the Bundesliga leaders still bidding for three trophies with a raft of games ahead.

Bayern Munich preps for intense schedule ahead
Photo: DPA

Bayern face Frankfurt in the Bundesliga, then title-rivals Schalke 04 twice in ten days first in the German Cup, then the league, as well as tackling their Champions League last-eight opponents, the identity of whom will be revealed in Friday’s draw.

The schedule means Bayern have seven matches in the space of three weeks, including head-to-head showdowns with title rivals Schalke and Leverkusen, the cup semi-final trip to Schalke, and the last-eight tie in the Champions League.

“These will be the three weeks of truth,” said Bayern’s director of sport Christian Nerlinger, one of coach Louis van Gaal’s right-hand men. “The team faces an incredible task over the coming weeks if we’re to win trophies.”

Bayern hope French midfielder Franck Ribery will be able to take some part in the next few weeks as the playmaker struggles with an ankle injury.

“He’ll be back soon, and he’ll be 100 percent fit,” Nerlinger said.

Ribery could be a vital ace to help Bayern alongside Dutch winger Arjen Robben, and Munich are also hoping Hamit Altintop (flu), Mario Gomez (ruptured muscle) and Martin Demichelis (facial injury) will recover soon.

Bayern had to come from behind to beat relegation-threatened Freiburg 2-1 last Saturday and only two second-half goals from Robben got them out of trouble.

“We have to do better than that in our forthcoming matches, that’s obvious,” said Nerlinger.

Bayern welcome back Germany midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger from a one-match suspension while Frankfurt’s Maik Franz is out after being red-carded last weekend against Hannover.

Second-place Schalke are bidding to win their first German league title since 1958 and they travel to fifth-placed Hamburg on Sunday.

Schalke’s Germany striker Kevin Kuranyi has scored three goals in the last four league games and is joint second in the top-scorer table with 14 alongside Wolfsburg’s Edin Dzeko while Bayer Leverkusen’s Stefan Kiessling has 16.

“I’m scoring because the team is working well,” said Kuranyi. “Winning in Hamburg is not an unrealistic target, but to do so we’ll have to be totally focused.”

Third-placed Leverkusen are at fourth-placed Borussia Dortmund on Saturday with Bayer desperate to stay in the title race while Dortmund are chasing their third-straight win.

Defending champions Wolfsburg hope to have goalkeeper Diego Benaglio back after February’s knee operation for Sunday’s clash with bottom side Hertha Berlin who are five points adrift after losing to Nuremberg last weekend.

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.
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.