Dortmund extends league lead to 13 points

Borussia Dortmund extended their lead at the top of the Bundesliga to 13 points on Friday, blitzing second-placed Bayer Leverkusen with three goals in just six minutes for an impressive 3-1 away win.

Dortmund extends league lead to 13 points
Götze, centre, celebrates the third Dortmund goal. Photo: DPA

Having started 2011 with a ten-point lead, Dortmund hit second-half goals in quick succession from teenager Mario Götze and two from 22-year-old Kevin Grosskreutz to seal the win.

With such a commanding cushion at the top of the liga, Dortmund can start dreaming of their first German title since 2002.

“I have been going to watch Dortmund since 1994 and I know what it’s like to win the league title as a fan on the terraces,” said Grosskreutz.

“I have been dreaming of this since I was a little boy and I’d love to hold the cup in my hands.”

Although Leverkusen rallied in the game’s final 15 minutes, Dortmund coach Jurgen Klopp, who has been tipped as a future manager of English giants Liverpool, was clearly delighted with his side’s convincing away win.

“The plan was to continue to play our own style of football, which we did,” said Klopp.

“The first goal settled the nerves and we weren’t comfortable until we got the third goal.”

Dortmund’s clinical second-half performance overshadowed the eagerly anticipated return of Germany captain Michael Ballack from the leg injury which has kept him out of football since September.

Leverkusen coach Jupp Heynckes opted to delay the veteran’s return by keeping him on the bench for the entire game.

Grosskreutz, who is tipped as a future Germany star, opened the scoring when he latched onto a handball by Leverkusen defender Daniel Schwaab and tapped his shot past Leverkusen’s Germany goalkeeper Rene Adler on 49 minutes.

Just four minutes later, the attacking midfielder curled his shot around Adler after Dortmund goalkeeper Roman Weidenfeller’s goal kick was headed on by striker Robert Lewandowski for Grosskreutz to blast home.

And Leverkusen’s misery was complete when Grosskreutz turned provider as Götze beat Adler for the third time from close-range on 55 minutes.

Only a superb save from Adler stopped it from being 4-0 when substitute Lucas Barrios fired in a shot from the left flank from long-range which prompted a full-stretch save from the national goalie.

With 10 minutes remaining, Leverkusen striker Steffan Kiessling pulled a goal back for the hosts when he latched onto a cross from Renato Augusto to stab the ball into the net, injuring himself on the goalpost in the process.

The result sees Leverkusen drop down to third, while defending champions Bayern Munich open their 2011 campaign with a 17-point deficit to make up when they face Wolfsburg away on Saturday.


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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.