Bayern Munich gives up title hopes as Leverkusen draws with Bremen

Ten-man Bayer Leverkusen stayed second in the Bundesliga on Sunday despite being held to a 2-2 draw at Werder Bremen, while Bayern Munich have waved the white-flag on their title aspirations.

Bayern Munich gives up title hopes as Leverkusen draws with Bremen
Bremen's Sebastian Prödl scored to tie the game with Leverkusen. Photo: DPA

Goals on either side of half-time by Swiss striker Eren Derdiyok and ex-Germany midfielder Simon Rolfes put Leverkusen in control in Bremen.

But the hosts hit back in the last 10 minutes as they poured forward only for Leverkusen’s Stefan Kiessling to turn the ball into his own net on 83 minutes, just before Leverkusen were reduced to ten men.

Chile midfielder Arturo Vidal was shown a second yellow card, and after the subsequent red, on 87 minutes then Austria defender Sebastian Prödl scored the crucial equaliser in the 91st minute to complete the fight back.

“We fought for our luck, because we never gave up and we were rewarded,” said Prödl. “After a game like that, a draw is okay. A victory wasn’t deserved.”

The draw leaves Leverkusen now 12 points behind run-away leaders Dortmund with defending champions Bayern in fourth.

The single point lifts Bremen out of the bottom three while Kaiserslautern, who were held to a 1-1 draw by Hamburg on Saturday, drop into the relegation zone.

Dortmund proved their status as Bundesliga winners-in-waiting with a 3-1 victory at Bayern’s Allianz Arena on Saturday, their second win over Munich this season.

Bayern’s director of sport Christian Nerlinger has said he now expects Borussia to win their first league title since 2002 with his team 16-points behind Dortmund.

“I think Dortmund will be champions, and rightly so,” said Nerlinger. “We now have a different target, we have to go for second place now with everything we’ve got, and it won’t be easy.

“It’s a dangerous situation, which the players mustn’t underestimate.”

Goals by Germany defender Mats Hummels, Paraguay’s Lucas Barrios and Turkey midfielder Nuri Sahin sealed Borussia’s 18th win from 24 league matches, while Luiz Gustavo scored what proved to be Bayern’s first-half consolation goal.

On Sunday, Stuttgart earned their 2-0 win at Eintracht Frankfurt despite losing French captain Matthieu Delpierre to a straight red card after only 15 minutes for pushing over Frankfurt’s Maik Franz, who was also shown a yellow card in the incident.

But Stuttgart floored Frankfurt with two second-half goals in three minutes as Austrian striker Martin Harnik and Hungarian midfielder Tamas Hajnal scored for their second-from-bottom side.

After consecutive league defeats, this is an important win for Stuttgart coach Bruno Labbadia with his side still three points from safety in 17th with ten games left.

This is the seventh consecutive league game when Frankfurt have failed to score a single goal and the result leaves them 13th.

On Saturday, Hannover went third in the Bundesliga with a 1-0 win at Hamburg-side St Pauli.

This was Hannover’s 14th win of the season from 24 matches and keeps them on course for a top-five finish and a place in Europe next season.

Nuremberg were denied their fifth straight win after Schalke’s Raul netted his 14th goal of the season for the Royal Blues in Gelsenkirchen to seal a 1-1 draw.

Hoffenheim were beaten 2-1 by Mainz after Columbia midfielder Elkin Soto scored a late winner for the guests.

Germany striker Lukas Podolski netted an 88th-minute left-foot shot which sealed Cologne’s 1-0 win over Freiburg and leaves his side now 11th in the table and five points from the bottom three. This was Cologne’s fifth-straight win at home.

On Friday, two goals by Brazilian midfielder Diego helped Wolfsburg push themselves further from the Bundesliga’s drop zone after a valuable 2-1 win over bottom side struggling Mönchengladbach on Friday.


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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.