Bayern aims for points, not performance

With Dortmund bidding to consolidate their lead at the top of the Bundesliga against Hoffenheim on Sunday, Bayern Munich coach Louis van Gaal says points now take priority over performance.

Bayern aims for points, not performance
Photo: DPA

A poor start to the season has left the German champions tenth in the table and needing a win at Hamburg on Friday night to help make up the considerable ground behind Dortmund.

They are already 13 points behind the leaders and van Gaal says the need for points is growing ever urgent.

“Under these circumstances, we have to win,” said van Gaal. “It is currently more important to win points than to play well.”

The Dutchman has been buoyed by Germany striker Mario Gomez, who finally ended his 13 game goal-drought for Bayern with a hat-trick against Hannover last weekend.

The forward has now scored five goals in his last three games, having netted for Germany in a Euro 2012 qualifier and for Bayern against Cluj in the Champions League on Tuesday, and van Gaal is hoping for more goals from him.

While Hamburg are without injured Germany defender Dennis Aogo, Bayern are missing stars Franck Ribery (knee), Arjen Robben (thigh), captain Mark van Bommel (Knee) and Miroslav Klose (leg injury).

Dortmund face Hoffenheim on Sunday eager to protect their slender lead at the top of the table with second-placed Mainz also on 21 points, but with an inferior goal difference.

Borussia have just two days break between Thursday night’s Europa League match against Paris St Germain and Sunday’s Bundesliga match.

Fresh from their Champions League win over Tel Aviv on Wednesday, third-from-bottom Schalke are at Eintracht Frankfurt looking to avoid their sixth defeat in nine games so far this season.

Likewise, bottom side Stuttgart need to take some points from Sunday’s home game against high-fliers St Pauli with new coach Jens Keller looking for his first win having taken over from Christian Gross before last weekend’s draw with Schalke.

Werder Bremen will be without Germany goalkeeper Tim Wiese for their trip to Mönchengladbach on Saturday.

The shot-stopper faces a 10-day break after damaging medial ligaments in his right knee during the Champions League draw at FC Twente Enschede.

The 28-year-old limped out of his side’s 1-1 draw in Holland on Wednesday night after just 36 minutes, but an MRI scan in Bremen has revealed he has only damaged medial ligaments.

In his absence, 21-year-old Sebastian Mielitz will take over between the posts.


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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.