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Werder fight back to earn draw against Spurs

Werder Bremen fought back to clinch a 2-2 draw against Tottenham Hotspur in their Champions League opener on Tuesday night.

Werder fight back to earn draw against Spurs
Photo: DPA

Tottenham started strongly and with Wales defender Gareth Bale and Dutch midfielder Rafael van der Vaart causing havoc in the home defence, the Londoners, making their tournament debut, raced into a 2-0 lead after just 18 minutes.

But Bremen rallied and two goals in four minutes either side of half-time levelled the scores.

Spurs also lost van der Vaart with a calf strain just after the break, but manager Harry Redknapp later said the injury was not serious.

“I thought we were fantastic for the first 43 minutes, then we conceded a goal just before half-time which gave them a lifeline, they hadn’t had a shot before that,” said Redknapp.

“They came back to 2-1 and it gave them belief. The goal came at the right time for them, it changed their attitude and gave them a massive lift. Before that they were struggling to live with us.”

An own goal from Bremen defender Petri Pasanen and a Peter Crouch header put Spurs ahead before Portugal striker Hugo Almeida pulled one back just prior to the break before Marko Marin hit the equaliser.

“I constantly asked myself how something like this could happen after we did so well in Bayern,” said Werder coach Thomas Schaaf after his side had earned a goalless draw at Bayern Munich last weekend in the Bundesliga.

“We have the quality to come back as we have done before, so we earned the point.”

Both sides came into the Group A match at the Weserstadion with injuries. Spurs were without England striker Jermain Defoe and defender Michael Dawson, who both have ligament damage.

Bremen were missing Germany centre-back Per Mertesacker, fellow defender Naldo and striker Claudio Pizarro.

Spurs took the lead when Bale ran deep on the left flank and squared only for Bremen’s Pasanen to stab his shot past goalkeeper Tim Wiese on 12 minutes.

The English side were hitting Bremen constantly with fast breaks and Spurs went further ahead when a cross from van der Vaart found Crouch who leapt higher than Pasanen to head home on 18 minutes.

Tottenham kept up the pressure as Crouch went close again while a rocket shot from Bale forced Wiese into a diving save.

With 35 minutes played, Bremen coach Thomas Schaaf toughened up his midfield with Aaron Hunt on for the inexperienced Philipp Bargfrede and the move paid off. Bremen scored just two minutes before half-time with their first real chance when Almeida latched onto a Wesley cross.

Van der Vaart made way for Robbie Keane just after the break with a calf strain while the hosts began the second-half with a bang.

After Hunt headed over from a corner, Marin fired in a shot from 20 metres out which gave Spurs’ goalkeeper Cudicini no chance on 47 minutes.

In the next round of games, Spurs host Twente on September 29 the same night Bremen are at defending champions Inter Milan.

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SPORT

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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