Hannover takes second, but Dortmund still on top of Bundesliga

Hannover went second in the Bundesliga on Sunday with an impressive 3-0 win at Eintracht Frankfurt, but leaders Borussia Dortmund remain 12 points clear at the top.

Hannover takes second, but Dortmund still on top of Bundesliga
Photo: DPA

First-half goals by Norwegian striker Mohammed Abdellaoue and defender Christian Schulz put Mirko Slomka’s Hannover in control before Ivory Coast striker Didier Ya Konan added a third in the 89th minute.

The victory allows Hannover to leap-frog both Leverkusen and Mainz into second.

Third-placed Mainz lost at Stuttgart on Saturday and defending champions Bayern Munich were held to a 1-1 draw at Wolfsburg leaving Dortmund in control of the Bundesliga and heading towards their first league title since 2002.

Dortmund blitzed Leverkusen 3-1 on Friday with three goals in six minutes as Jürgen Klopp’s young side showed no sign of releasing their grip at the top.

Goals by Mario Götze and Kevin Grosskreutz sealed the win, but Michael Ballack spent the game on the bench as the Germany captain looks to return from a leg injury.

Less than 24 hours later, Wolfsburg held Bayern at home despite their ex-England coach Steve McClaren selling striker Edin Dzeko to Manchester City over the German league’s winter break.

Wolfsburg lacked firepower up front against Bayern, but showed dogged domination against the champions to force an equaliser through defender Sascha after Thomas Müller had given Bayern an early lead.

Both sides missed penalties in the first-half and Bayern goalkeeper Thomas Kraft, making his Bundesliga debut, pulled off a stunning reflex save to deny Brazilian striker Grafite’s spot-kick to leave Munich fifth in the league.

Bayern’s Dutch star Arjen Robben conceded Dortmund may now be too far ahead for Munich, who are 16 points off the pace, to retain their title.

“There’s no point talking about first place any more, as several of us have already said,” admitted Robben after making his first appearance of the season.

Despite limping off with a knee injury after just 25 minutes, Bayern’s midfield star Franck Ribery is only expected to miss five days after a scan on Sunday revealed his knee injury is not as bad as first thought.

In Saturday’s late match, Real Madrid target Ruud van Nistelrooy scored the only goal in Hamburg’s 1-0 win over Schalke, who have reached the last 16 of the Champions League, and admitted he is tempted to return to Spain.

Real are reported to be interested in re-signing the Dutch striker, who spent four years in Madrid, but the German side want to hold onto their forward.

The result leaves Schalke 10th and Hamburg seventh.

Bottom side Borussia Mönchengladbach gave themselves a boost in their battle to stay up with a 1-0 win at Nuremberg with goalkeeper Christofer Heimeroth making a dramatic late penalty save.

Senegal striker Papiss Demba Cisse scored twice to go top of the league’s goalscoring list with 15 goals as he helped Freiburg sneak a 2-2 draw at St Pauli which keeps them sixth.

Bremen picked up a rare win after captain Torsten Frings drilled in a free-kick in the second minute of injury time to seal a 2-1 win over Hoffenheim which left his side 12th.


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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.