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Ballack determined to play for Germany despite broken knee cap

Germany captain Michael Ballack has said he will fight to win back his place in the national side, despite being left out of the squads for the last two Euro 2012 qualifiers and picking up a new injury on Saturday.

Ballack determined to play for Germany despite broken knee cap
Photo: DPA

The 33-year-old missed the World Cup with an ankle injury and sat out this month’s Group A wins over Belgium and Azerbaijan as he recovers his fitness.

The midfielder injured his knee in Leverkusen’s 2-2 draw at Hannover on Saturday, and on Sunday it was announced that he had actually fractured his left knee cap.

He limped off the pitch after a heavy tackle and underwent an MRI scan on Sunday morning which revealed the damage.

Before the match he had told German television channel ZDF he would fight to win back his place for October’s qualifiers against Turkey and Kazakhstan.

“I will do what I have always done,” he said and insisted there was no need to “make any drama” out of his new injury.

But he appeared bitter after his 30 minutes on the pitch for his new team. “After what has happened in the last few weeks, nothing can surprise me any more,” he said. “In football sometimes strange things happen quickly.”

National coach Joachim Löw has said he would select Ballack again as captain only when he has proved his fitness and form.

He was less than effusive over the weekend when asked about a Ballack return to the national team. “If I am of the opinion that he will strengthen the team, then of course. But now it is naturally important that he finds his form.”

Ballack said he was pleased by statements by some of the national team members, particularly Bastian Schweinsteiger. “They can obviously remember something of my abilities before my injury. That is good to hear, but also somehow normal,” said Ballack.

“It shows me that we went through thick and thin together, that many players are also sticking by me.”

Despite having 98 caps under his belt, Ballack’s status within the squad has dropped in the wake of Germany’s third place finish in South Africa.

“The last few weeks of course were not easy for me. They have shown me how things are,” said the former Chelsea star, who is back in the Bundesliga after his contract was not extended after four years in London.

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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. 

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