Leverkusen looking for Bundesliga bragging rights in Dortmund

Champions League rivals Borussia Dortmund and Bayer Leverkusen lock horns for Bundesliga bragging rights on Saturday as the title-holders take on last season's runners-up.

Leverkusen looking for Bundesliga bragging rights in Dortmund
Photo: DPA

Leverkusen were the last team to beat Dortmund at home when they inflicted a 2-0 defeat on the champions at Borussia’s Signal Iduna Park on August 22 last year, but much has changed since.

Jürgen Klopp has forged Dortmund into a dynamic outfit, having won the Bundesliga by seven points.

“We know how strong they are going forward and how good they are on the ball,” said Leverkusen midfielder Lars Bender, whose twin brother Sven plays for Dortmund and is fit after recovering from a knee injury. It gives us a bit of confidence knowing we have beaten them 2-0 last season and we are looking forward to a good game.”

Dortmund’s rising star Mario Götze is an injury concern after the 19-year-old missed training last week, but returned briefly on Thursday for some light fitness work.

Poland winger Jakub Blaszczykowski – or ‘Kuba’ for short – is ready in case Götze is out having picked up the injury in last Saturday’s 2-0 win over Nuremberg.

Surprise league leaders Borussia Mönchengladbach have the chance to extend their stay at the top when they are at Schalke on Sunday, with coach Lucien Favre having no injury worries.

Bayern Munich are at Kaiserslautern and are desperate to avoid slipping on another banana peel after losing there 2-0 last season.

“Over 34 league games, we can’t compete with Bayern, but in a single game everything is possible, as we saw last year,” said Kaiserslautern coach Marco Kurz.

“At least we won’t be afraid and look forward to a great game with a crazy backdrop.”

Bayern expect to have Dutch winger Arjen Robben and Germany striker Mario Gomez fit after both nursed knocks in the 1-0 win at FC Zurich in the Champions League on Tuesday.

Kaiserslautern are without 28-year-old Cameroon striker Kouemaha Dorge for the next four weeks after he picked up a groin strain in training.

In Saturday’s basement battle, bottom side Cologne are at Hamburg with the hosts preparing to welcome back Peru striker Paolo Guerrero who has recovered from a torn thigh muscle.

“He has made a good impression in training,” said coach Michael Oenning. “We are hoping he will keep up his good form from the Copa America.”

Hamburg have strengthened their squad by bringing in five youngsters from English Premier League giants Chelsea including Slobodan Rajkovic, who may start in the centre of defence, as they look to recover from last week’s 5-0 drubbing in Munich.

Freiburg host 2009 champions Wolfsburg and want-away striker Papiss Cisse has been told he will be staying in the German league as his team have not received an acceptable offer.

English Premier League side Fulham, Russia’s Rubin Kazan and an unnamed French club have all submitted bids for Cisse, but his club insist the asking price of €15 million for the Senegal hot-shot has not been met.


Hertha Berlin v VfB Stuttgart


Hamburg v Cologne, Nuremberg v Augsburg, Freiburg v VfL Wolfsburg,

Kaiserslautern v Bayern Munich, Hoffenheim v Werder Bremen, Bayer Leverkusen v Borussia Dortmund


Hannover 96 v Mainz 05, Schalke 04 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.