Ribery double fires Bayern to victory over Basel

Last season's Champions League finalists Bayern Munich went through to the round of 16 as Group E winners on Wednesday with a 3-0 win over Basel as midfielder Franck Ribery netted twice.

Ribery double fires Bayern to victory over Basel
Photo: DPA

This was Bayern’s fifth win of their European campaign and Louis van Gaal’s side progress to the knock-out stages alongside AS Roma while Basel finish third with the consolation of a place in the Europa League.

“Not many sides have managed to win five of their group games,” beamed van Gaal. “We scored three goals, so I am very happy. This win will also give us some self-confidence for the games ahead.”

A pair of goals from Ribery – his first for the club since April – and a simple tap in by Ukraine star Anatoliy Tymoshchuk, who is enjoying a purple patch, sealed the win in Munich. But all is not rosy with the German champions.

Tougher tests await in February’s round of 16 which will be drawn on December 17 in Nyon and captain Mark van Bommel was not impressed.

“We started this game badly, there was not enough movement and calls for the ball until Franck opened the scoring,” said the Dutchman. “We should have scored more goals, it is important to take some confidence for our (next Bundesliga) match against St. Pauli.”

There are already real concerns around the Allianz Arena about qualifying for next season’s competition and Bayern need to finish in the German league’s top two to be sure of a place in European football’s most lucrative tournament.

Their 2-0 defeat at German league strugglers Schalke on Saturday leaves them seventh in the Bundesliga and 17 points behind surprise leaders Dortmund with van Gaal already admitting the gap may be too big to bridge.

The Germans have now won their last seven European home games, but there is no denying they are erratic on occasion and have lost four times in the Bundesliga this season.

The last time the two sides met in September, Bayern won 2-1 thanks to a late Bastian Schweinsteiger goal and the hosts took a 2-0 lead in as many minutes here.

Bayern scored when defender Diego Contento won the ball on the edge of the penalty area and squared to Ribery who slammed home his shot on 35 minutes.

The Germans struck again moments later when Mario Gomez rose highest at a corner and headed down for defensive midfielder Tymoshchuk to stab the ball home.

The hosts made sure of the victory just five minutes into the second-half when Thomas Müller found acres of space down the right flank and squared for Ribery to net his second of the night.

But Basel should have at least scored a consolation goal when Bayern defender Breno was robbed of possession by Swiss striker Alexandra Frei who squared the ball back inside but forward partner Federico Almerares fired over.

Bayern are set to welcome back long-term injury victims Dutch playmaker Arjen Robben, Croatia striker Ivica Olic and Germany veteran Miroslav Klose in January.

The Germans will need all the firepower they can muster if they are to repeat last season’s feat of reaching the final.


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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.