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FOOTBALL

Hoffenheim opens Bundesliga campaign with 4-1 win over Bremen

Hoffenheim destroyed Werder Bremen 4-1 on Saturday in their opening Bundesliga season game, challenging Bayern Munich's claim to again being the team to beat after the Bavarians won against Wolfsburg on Friday.

Hoffenheim opens Bundesliga campaign with 4-1 win over Bremen
Demba Ba and teammates celebrate. Photo: DPA

Hoffenheim hammered home three goals within six minutes of each other in the first half, after conceding an early penalty.

“We were extremely bitter about conceding the early penalty and it could have led to gloomy thoughts,” said Hoffenheim coach Ralf Rangnick.

“The team was totally unfazed by the penalty and to lead 4-1 at half-time is just fantastic, in the second-half we went off the boil, but the game was won.”

Fresh from their 3-1 win over Sampdoria on Thursday in the Champions League qualifier, Bremen were humbled as the home side blitzed their hosts in the first 45 minutes.

“We are obviously very disappointed. We played a bad game,” said Bremen coach Thomas Schaaf.

“We started well with the early penalty, but we lost control of the game and we have to question how that happened.”

Bremen took the lead when captain Torsten Frings slotted home an early penalty after a Hoffenheim hand ball, but it was then all downhill for Werder.

Hoffenheim drew level when Senegal striker Demba Ba netted in the 20th minute, but things got surreal when Hoffenheim netted three goals in six minutes.

The rout started when teenager Peniel Mlapa slotted coolly past Bremen’s Germany goalkeeper Tim Wiese on 37 minutes.

Striker Vedad Ibisevic then made it 3-1 when Frings was robbed of possesion by Brazilian midfielder Luiz Gustavo, sprinted downfield and put in a superb pass for his Bosnian team-mate to convert on 41 minutes.

Bremen’s misery was compounded just two minutes later when Sejad Salihovic curled in a free-kick which left the Werder goalkeeper stranded as it finished 4-1 at the break and stayed that way.

Elsewhere, a late goal by former Manchester United striker Ruud van Nistelrooy gave Hamburg three points and sealed a 2-1 win over ten-man Schalke 04 on Saturday night after Royal Blues defender Benedikt Hoewedes was sent off after an hour.

Dutch striker van Nistelrooy scored either side of half-time, including a late winner after Schalke’s Jefferson Farfan had equalised with a dream flick of the foot on 80 minutes.

“It turned out well, that was a super day,” said van Nistelrooy making his league debut for Schalke with former Real Madrid team-mate Raul.

“For me it was not a duel against Raul, he is a mate and friend.

“Today I scored the goals, but next time it could be him.”

Earlier, Bundesliga history was made in Cologne as Lebanon defender Youssef Mohamad earned the fastest ever red card when he was sent off just 92 seconds into the new season in the 3-1 defeat against newly-promoted Kaiserslautern.

After Austrian striker Erwin Hoffer got around the back of the Cologne defence, Mohamad was the last defender and when he brought down Hoffer, referee Doctor Felix Brych showed him a straight red card.

In the other results, Mönchengladbach drew 1-1 at home to Nuremberg as Cameroon striker Mohamadou Idrissou equalised for the hosts.

Hanover beat Frankfurt 2-1 while newly-promoted St Pauli scored three goals in the last eight minutes to seal a 3-1 win at Freiburg.

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FOOTBALL

British football teams allowed to skip Germany’s quarantine for Euro 2020

Germany's government announced on Tuesday it will allow England, Scotland and Wales to enter the country without quarantine to play at Euro 2020 despite a recent rise in cases linked to the Delta variant of Covid-19 in Britain.

British football teams allowed to skip Germany's quarantine for Euro 2020
One of the venues for Euro 2020 is in Munich. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Sven Hoppe

The three teams could potentially reach the quarter-final held in Munich on July 2nd.

If that were the case, they would be exempt from the rule that travellers from the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland must currently observe a 14-day isolation period due to the virus strain of concern – Delta – first identified in India.

“The people accredited for the European football Championship are exempt from the quarantine obligation, even after arriving from an area impacted by a variant” Berlin said in a statement.

“This exemption concerns all the people who have been accredited by the organising committee for the preparation, participation, the holding and the follow-up of international sporting events,” it added.

The exemption does not include fans, who will be obliged to follow German government self-isolation rules.

Germany declared the UK a ‘virus variant area of concern’ on May 23rd due to rising cases linked to the Delta variant in parts of the country. 

READ ALSO: Germany makes UK ‘virus variant area of concern’: How does it affect you?

This reclassification came just seven days after the UK was put back on Germany’s list at the lowest risk level, and barely a month after it was taken off all risk lists completely.

The ban was put in place despite the UK’s relatively low Covid rates as a precautionary measure.

A general ban on entry is in place for people coming from countries on the ‘virus variant’ list – such as India and Brazil – the highest of Germany’s risk categories. 

There are some exceptions for entering from these countries – for example German residents and citizens. However, anyone who does enter from Germany is required to submit a Covid-19 test before boarding the flight and must quarantine for 14 days on arrival, regardless of whether they are fully vaccinated or not.

READ ALSO: Germany’s new relaxed quarantine and testing rules after travel

Euro 2020 starts on Friday as Italy host Turkey in Rome with the Bavarian city hosting three group games as well as the last-eight match.

Around 14,000 fans will be allowed into the Allianz Arena for the fixtures.

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