Mainz match Bundesliga record with 7th win

Minnows Mainz equalled the record for most wins at the start of a Bundesliga campaign with their seventh victory as they hammered 10-man Hoffenheim 4-2 on Saturday to maintain their perfect record.

Mainz match Bundesliga record with 7th win
Photo: DPA

Dark-horses Mainz are only the third side after Kaiserslautern and Bayern Munich to have won all seven matches at the start of the season, and their young guns ran riot at home to Hoffenheim.

Coach Thomas Tuchel can scarcely believe his luck as his inexperienced side are growing in confidence with every game, especially after winning 2-1 at defending champions Bayern Munich last weekend.

They host Hamburg in their next league game on October 16 for their chance to make Bundesliga history with an eighth win, but Tuchel said he was not interested in records.

“During the game, I didn’t even think about records, for me it is not even an issue,” he said. “In the first half, we were lacking in confidence and even the early goal gave us no security.”

“Hoffenheim gave us big problems, but after the break we were better and always threatened their goal.”

Both teenage striker Andre Schürrle, 19, and midfielder Lewis Holtby, 20, have produced performances to take them to the verge of the national side, according to Germany coach Joachim Löw, and the pair scored in the rout.

Löw singled out Holtby for special praise after his defence-splitting pass set up the opening goal.

“His pass was worth the entrance fee alone,” said the impressed national coach.

Mainz began both halves in style with a first-half goal by Tunisia striker Sami Allagui after just two minutes, while Hungary striker Adam Szalai scored their second right at the start of the first half.

Hoffenheim striker Demba Ba had put his side level just before the half-time break while Iceland midfielder Gylfi Sigurdsson came off the bench to smash in a free-kick just a minute later to make it 3-2 with 64 minutes played.

But the second half belonged to Mainz as Holtby, who had been a constant threat all afternoon, scored from the right wing as his shot clipped Hoffenheim’s Luiz Gustavo on 59 minutes.

Mainz then claimed the golden 21 points from seven games when Holtby was hauled down in the area by Hoffenheim’s Josip Simunic on 73 minutes.

Simunic was shown a straight red card and Schürrle netted his fourth goal of the season to seal the win.

Freiburg are up to fourth in the table after their 3-2 win over Cologne on Saturday and Hamburg are seventh after they came from behind to beat Kaiserslautern 2-1.

Schalke’s dreadful start to the season continued at Nuremberg as they suffered their fifth defeat when they went down 2-1 to stay second from bottom.

Ex-England manager Steve McClaren was denied his fourth straight win when his side were held 1-1 by Mönchengladbach.

On Sunday, second-placed Dortmund need to beat Bayern Munich at home if they want to close the six-point gap behind Mainz, and Jurgen Klopp’s Dortmund have racked up five consecutive wins in the German league.

But Louis van Gaal-coached Bayern will be gunning for the three points with president Uli Hoeneß warning it is a must-win game at Dortmund.

“We absolutely have to win at Dortmund so we can get back into the championship race,” said Hoeneß.

“If not, it will become difficult to make up the difference before Christmas.”

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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.