Dortmund kick off new Bundesliga season

Borussia Dortmund coach Jürgen Klopp is hoping for another impressive display from Japan winger Shinji Kagawa when the defending champions kick off the new Bundesliga season on Friday night.

Dortmund kick off new Bundesliga season
Photo: DPA

Dortmund host Hamburg SV with Kagawa having caught the eye in last Saturday’s 3-0 win over third-division minnows SV Sandhausen in the first round of the German Cup.

Kagawa is looking to make his first start of the year for Borussia, having broken his foot at the Asian Cup with Japan in January, but Klopp was impressed with what he saw against Sandhausen.

“When Shinji is fully fit again, he can do much more,” said Klopp after Kagawa set up the first goal and netted the second. “He is just lacking some power, but his performance was another important step back.”

Having netted against Sandhausen, Kagawa says the expectations are much higher on him after scoring eight goals in 18 games last season before suffering the foot injury.

“The pressure is naturally higher than in the past, in the first year the fans have rather less expected of me,” he said. “Now goals are now required of me.”

Meanwhile, Hamburg come into the game hoping to soon secure the services of star striker Mladen Petric.

The Croatian cooled contract extension talks on Monday as his side prepare to face the defending champions with his current deal set to expire in June 2012.

Hamburg risk losing Petric on a free transfer next summer, unless the 44-times capped star can be persuaded to sign an extension by new coach Michael Oenning and director of sport Frank Arnesen.

Petric scored the winning goal in Hamburg’s 2-1 German Cup first round win over minnows VfB Oldenburg on Saturday in an unimpressive display by his side.

Bavarians giants Bayern Munich in action on Sunday against Borussia Mönchengladbach and their rivals have a chance to steal an early march on

their rivals.

German Cup holders Schalke 04, who hammered minnows FC Teningen 11-1 on Saturday in the Cup, are at VfB Stuttgart.

Former German champions Bremen host Kaiserslautern on Saturday, but director of sport Klaus Allofs has admitted his side face another tough season battling relegation after last weekend’s shock German Cup defeat.

Despite taking the lead, Bremen were humbled 2-1 at third division FC Heidenheim on Saturday in the first round of the competition. They have strengthened their squad by signing Greek defender Sokratis Papastathopoulos on loan from Genoa and Turkish midfielder Mehmet Ekici from Bayern Munich for a fee of €5 million.

Having narrowly avoided relegation, 2009 German champions Wolfsburg, another German Cup casualty, are at Cologne and coach Felix Magath has spent wisely in the summer.

He has brought Germany midfielder Christian Träsch in from Stuttgart for €10 million and defender Marco Russ from Eintracht Frankfurt for €3 million.

Experienced midfielder Hasan Salihamidzic, who spent nine years at Bayern, is back in the German league on a free transfer from Juventus.

Croatian forward Srdjan Lakic, a proven goal scorer at Kaiserslautern, has been signed on a free transfer.

Hertha Berlin host Nuremberg on Saturday after winning promotion from the second division while fellow new boys Augsburg host Freiburg.


Borussia Dortmund v Hamburg


Werder Bremen v Kaiserslautern

Hanover 96 v Hoffenheim

VfB Stuttgart v Schalke 04

Cologne v VfL Wolfsburg

Augsburg v Freiburg

Hertha Berlin v Nuremberg


Mainz 05 v Bayer Leverkusen

Bayern Munich v Borussia M’gladbach

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EXPLAINED: Berlin’s latest Covid rules

In response to rapidly rising Covid-19 infection rates, the Berlin Senate has introduced stricter rules, which came into force on Saturday, November 27th. Here's what you need to know.

A sign in front of a waxing studio in Berlin indicates the rule of the 2G system
A sign in front of a waxing studio indicates the rule of the 2G system with access only for fully vaccinated people and those who can show proof of recovery from Covid-19 as restrictions tighten in Berlin. STEFANIE LOOS / AFP

The Senate agreed on the tougher restrictions on Tuesday, November 23rd with the goal of reducing contacts and mobility, according to State Secretary of Health Martin Matz (SPD).

He explained after the meeting that these measures should slow the increase in Covid-19 infection rates, which was important as “the situation had, unfortunately, deteriorated over the past weeks”, according to media reports.

READ ALSO: Tougher Covid measures needed to stop 100,000 more deaths, warns top German virologist

Essentially, the new rules exclude from much of public life anyone who cannot show proof of vaccination or recovery from Covid-19. You’ll find more details of how different sectors are affected below.

If you haven’t been vaccinated or recovered (2G – geimpft (vaccinated) or genesen (recovered)) from Covid-19, then you can only go into shops for essential supplies, i.e. food shopping in supermarkets or to drugstores and pharmacies.

Many – but not all – of the rules for shopping are the same as those passed in the neighbouring state of Brandenburg in order to avoid promoting ‘shopping tourism’ with different restrictions in different states.

2G applies here, too, as well as the requirement to wear a mask with most places now no longer accepting a negative test for entry. Only minors are exempt from this requirement.

Sport, culture, clubs
Indoor sports halls will off-limits to anyone who hasn’t  been vaccinated or can’t show proof of recovery from Covid-19. 2G is also in force for cultural events, such as plays and concerts, where there’s also a requirement to wear a mask. 

In places where mask-wearing isn’t possible, such as dance clubs, then a negative test and social distancing are required (capacity is capped at 50 percent of the maximum).

Restaurants, bars, pubs (indoors)
You have to wear a mask in all of these places when you come in, leave or move around. You can only take your mask off while you’re sat down. 2G rules also apply here.

Hotels and other types of accommodation 
Restrictions are tougher here, too, with 2G now in force. This means that unvaccinated people can no longer get a room, even if they have a negative test.

For close-contact services, such as hairdressers and beauticians, it’s up to the service providers themselves to decide whether they require customers to wear masks or a negative test.

Football matches and other large-scale events
Rules have changed here, too. From December 1st, capacity will be limited to 5,000 people plus 50 percent of the total potential stadium or arena capacity. And only those who’ve been vaccinated or have recovered from Covid-19 will be allowed in. Masks are also compulsory.

For the Olympic Stadium, this means capacity will be capped at 42,000 spectators and 16,000 for the Alte Försterei stadium. 

3G rules – ie vaccinated, recovered or a negative test – still apply on the U-Bahn, S-Bahn, trams and buses in Berlin. It was not possible to tighten restrictions, Matz said, as the regulations were issued at national level.

According to the German Act on the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases, people have to wear a surgical mask or an FFP2 mask  on public transport.

Christmas markets
The Senate currently has no plans to cancel the capital’s Christmas markets, some of which have been open since Monday. 

According to Matz, 2G rules apply and wearing a mask is compulsory.

Schools and day-care
Pupils will still have to take Covid tests three times a week and, in classes where there are at least two children who test positive in the rapid antigen tests, then tests should be carried out daily for a week.  

Unlike in Brandenburg, there are currently no plans to move away from face-to-face teaching. The child-friendly ‘lollipop’ Covid tests will be made compulsory in day-care centres and parents will be required to confirm that the tests have been carried out. Day-care staff have to document the results.

What about vaccination centres?
Berlin wants to expand these and set up new ones, according to Matz. A new vaccination centre should open in the Ring centre at the end of the week and 50 soldiers from the German army have been helping at the vaccination centre at the Exhibition Centre each day since last week.

The capacity in the new vaccination centre in the Lindencenter in Lichtenberg is expected to be doubled. There are also additional vaccination appointments so that people can get their jabs more quickly. Currently, all appointments are fully booked well into the new year.