SHARE
COPY LINK

FOOTBALL

Wolfsburg sack McClaren

Ex-England coach Steve McClaren was sacked on Monday by Bundesliga side VfL Wolfsburg after just seven months in charge with the club just one point away from the relegation zone.

Wolfsburg sack McClaren
Photo: DPA

The 49-year-old became the first English manager to coach in the Bundesliga last August, but McClaren was dismissed in the wake of Saturday’s 1-0 defeat at Hannover, when he criticised star player Diego for missing a penalty.

McClaren’s co-trainer Pierre Littbarski will take over as caretaker coach.

“We were no longer sure that we could work with Steve McClaren until the end of the season with some stability,” said club sporting director Dieter Hoeneß in a statement.

“We have tried to make things work for as long as possible, but we have lost faith that we can be successful.”

Having coached FC Twente to last season’s Dutch title, McClaren took charge of the 2009 Bundesliga champions before the start of the season, but his team have struggled all season.

Despite being given a vote of confidence and allowed to go on a spending spree in January, McClaren’s sacking can be blamed on his team’s league position of 12th – just a point keeps them from 16th and the bottom three.

“Our main concern now is to widen the gap between us and the relegation zone as soon as possible,” said Hoeneß.

After McClaren sold star striker Edin Dzeko to Manchester City in January for €34 million, he spent Wolfsburg’s cash in a bid to improve his team’s faltering league position.

Attacking midfielders Koo Ja-Cheoul of South Korea and Venezuelan Yohandry Orozco, German international Patrick Helmes, Turkish international striker Tuncay Sanli and Jan Polak were all brought in.

But Saturday’s defeat was the final straw as McClaren slammed Diego for disregarding the English coach’s order to let Germany striker Patrick Helmes take an 80th-minute penalty, which the Brazilian then missed.

“The players argued about it like kids in a playground,” said Hoeneß. “And because of that we were beaten in a match that we should never have lost.”

McClaren was sacked as England manager after the Three Lions failed to qualify for Euro 2008.

He was dubbed ‘The Wally with the Brolly’ by the British media after using an umbrella during heavy rain at Wembley in November 2007 during his final game in charge when his team were beaten by Croatia.

AFP/mry

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.
For members

SPORT

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. 

SHOW COMMENTS