Dortmund domination continues but Bayern win again

Borussia Dortmund retained their seven-point lead atop the Bundesliga with a come-from-behind 4-1 victory at home Saturday night over Borussia Mönchengladbach.

Dortmund domination continues but Bayern win again
Photo: DPA

Dortmund fell behind after 33 minutes when Marco Reus struck for Gladbach, but Neven Subotic equalized in first half stoppage time and Shinji Kawaga then gave Dortmund the lead in the 52nd minute.

Gladbach briefly pressed to get back on terms but Kevin Grosskreutz ended all doubt as to the outcome by netting in the 77th minute and Lucas Barrios got his name on the scoresheet with the fourth in the 88th minute.

The victory was Dortmund’s fifth in a row and Jürgen Klopp’s team has collected 12 wins in their 13-game undefeated streak for 37 points. “It’s more relief than anything else. Gladbach were strong and disciplined,” said Klopp afterwards.

“We wanted to make it too pretty in the first half and we got caught with the goal. But we were more level-headed in the second half and scored the goals in the second half and deserved the win,” added Dortmund keeper Roman Weidenfeller.

Mainz had Friday pulled briefly to within four points of Dortmund with a convincing 3-0 victory at home over Nuremberg to consolidate second place. Bayern Munich meanwhile are back in contention after they cruised to a 4-1 victory at home to Eintracht Frankfurt on Saturday, leaping into the top five as they target a strong finish to the first half of the season after a poor start.

During the week, Bayern’s bosses had demanded a minumum 10 points from the final four matches before the winter break, and Louis van Gaal’s men gained the first three in extending their undefeated streak to seven matches.

The reigning Bundesliga champions moved onto 23 points – five points from the Champions League qualification spot of third place and 11 points behind Dortmund.

Anatoliy Tymoshchuk’s goal in the 29th minute for Bayern was swiftly cancelled out by Theofanis Gekas.

But Thomas Müller scored in the 59th minute and Mario Gomez made it 3-1 two minutes later before Tymoshchuk doubled his goal tally in the 88th minute. Gomez said Bayern had to ensure their recent good form continues.

“We know that we are way behind and are not the favourites and that we need the points,” the striker said. “We cannot watch what Dortmund or Mainz or Hannover or Leverkusen are doing but just worry about getting our points and hope that we can be in a good spot over Christmas.”

Third-placed Bayer Leverkusen lost ground on Mainz, whom they trail by four points after a 2-2 draw at Hoffenheim, who equalized four minutes into stoppage time with a penalty by Gylfi Thor Sigurdsson.

Hannover are fourth with 25 points after a 3-0 victory at home over Freiburg with Jan Schlaudraff, Didier Ya Konen and Mike Hanke on target. Hamburg are seventh, one point behind Hoffenheim, after a 4-2 victory at home over 10-man Stuttgart.

At the wrong end of the table, Schalke’s struggles continued with a 5-0 loss at Kaiserslautern with Srdjan Lakic scoring two goals. Schalke remained on 13 points for 15th place after their worst loss in 18 years while Kaiserslautern jumped to 17 points for 11th place.

Schalke coach Felix Magath said: “I apologize to the fans after they made a long trip to come and see us and supported us for 90 minutes but left the stadium disappointed.”

Skipper Manuel Neuer added: “I can’t really explain what happened. We cannot look for excuses. We are responsible for what happened. That was a catastrophe.”

Despite their wretched league form Schalke reached the last 16 of the Champions League after their 3-0 win Wednesday over Lyon.

On Sunday, disappointing sides Werder Bremen and Wolfsburg, both on 15 points, will seek to move up the table with matches against St. Pauli and at Cologne.


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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.