Bayern Munich secure league title

Bayern Munich's hat-trick hero Thomas Müller admitted it was a relief to finally capture some silverware after Saturday's 3-1 win over Bochum effectively handed them the Bundesliga title.

Bayern Munich secure league title
Photo: DPA

Having been in Bayern’s reserves only last August, Müller, 20, is enjoying a stellar season having won his first cap in March, helped Bayern reach the Champions League final in April and now begun May with the German title.

Bayern finish the season at Hertha Berlin next Saturday, but after rivals Schalke lost 2-0 to Werder Bremen, Munich will win their 22nd German league title regardless of results as they have a vastly superior goal difference.

“It’s a huge weight off our shoulders, because we’re there at last,” said Müller, who scored his first two goals inside 20 minutes and completed his hat-trick on 69 minutes.

“We’ve worked for this the whole season. We’re proud of the way we pulled together as a team and escaped the alleged crisis situation we were in,” he said. “Winning the title is a just reward for the club and the players.”

Having already made his Germany debut against Argentina in March, Müller is set to travel to next month’s World Cup in South Africa.

He has developed considerably under Bayern coach Louis van Gaal who has won

the Bundesliga in his first season in charge having also picked up La Liga titles with Barcelona and last season’s Dutch title with AZ Alkmaar.

“We’ve hit our most important target, winning the Bundesliga,” said van Gaal.

“This trophy means a lot to me. There aren’t many coaches in Europe who’ve been fortunate enough to win the league in three countries. I’m very proud of that. We want to win more trophies now.”

Bayern face Werder Bremen in the German Cup final on May 15 then Inter Milan in Madrid for the Champions League title a week later.

For Bayern’s ex-Germany goalkeeper Hans-Jörg Butt it was emotional to win his first Bundesliga title.

“Winning my first trophy at the age of 35 is a bit special,” he said.

“It’s been an unbelievable season with many highs and lows, and a team with fantastic character.

“And then if you personally finish top for the first time, it’s just unbelievable.”

Bayern defender Philipp Lahm paid tribute to the team ethic, which saw them claw their way up the table after a poor start under van Gaal.

“When you consider that we were eight points off the leaders at one point, it obviously goes down as a great title triumph,” said Lahm.

“It was an amazing feeling when the crowd started reacting to the score from Schalke. We wondered what was going on at first, but then we saw the score on the video screens. It was unbelievable.”

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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.