Bayern stay on top with battling win

Ten-man Bayern Munich went five points clear again at the top of the German league on Sunday as striker Mario Gomez scored his 20th goal of the season in a 2-1 win at bottom side Augsburg.

Bayern stay on top with battling win
Photo: DPA

After a Champions League hat-trick against Napoli in midweek, Gomez headed home on 16 minutes for his 13th Bundesliga goal of the season – his 20th in 18 games in all competitions – to go top of the league’s scoring charts.

But Bayern did not have it easy in the Bavarian derby and victory came at a price as midfielder Anatoliy Tymoshchuk was sent off in the 93rd minute for a reckless tackle on Augsburg’s Daniel Baier.

“In the first half, we played well, but didn’t play with such authority after the break,” admitted Munich midfielder Toni Kroos. “Our aim must be to play with confidence and dominate our opponents.”

Having lost vice-captain and Germany star Bastian Schweinsteiger with a broken collarbone on Wednesday, Bayern coach Jupp Heynckes opted to start with Austria teenager David Alaba for ‘Schweini’ in midfield.

After Gomez put the guests ahead, France winger Franck Ribery doubled Bayern’s lead when he fired home on 28 minutes.

But Augsburg refused to roll over and Bayern conceded only their fourth league goal this season when Japan’s Hajime Hosogai managed to fire his shot over the line. Although Alba cleared, the referee awarded the goal.

“We gave everything right until the end. We deserve respect for that,” said Augsburg coach Jos Luhukay.

Hosogai’s 59th minute goal made for a tense final half-hour and Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer made a crucial save with seven minutes to go after Augsburg substitute striker Edmond Kapllani broke through the defence.

“He did his job and paid back a million,” quipped Bayern president Uli Hoeneß after Neuer cost Bayern €22 million euros from rivals Schalke in the summer.

Bayern held on to claim the three points and re-establish their lead after the chasing pack of Dortmund, Bremen and Mönchengladbach had all won Saturday.

Earlier, Finland striker Teemu Pukki scored twice on his first full appearance for Schalke 04 to earn a point for his side in their 2-2 draw with Hannover 96 as the Royal Blues remain fifth in the table with Hannover sixth.

On Saturday, defending champions Borussia Dortmund went second with a 5-1 hammering of VfL Wolfsburg as Japan star Shinji Kagawa and Germany teenager Mario Götze ran riot.

Kagawa set up both the first and fourth goals for Dortmund and netted one of his own, while Götze scored twice.

The win came at a price, however, as defender Neven Subotic is expected to miss the next six weeks, including Champions League games against Arsenal and Marseille, with a facial fracture which required surgery.

Werder Bremen went third, and joined Dortmund and Gladbach on 23 points, when they came back from 2-0 down to win 3-2 against ten-man Cologne thanks to a second-half hat-trick from Peru’s Claudio Pizarro.

Mönchengladbach moved up to fourth after their come-back win at Hertha Berlin as Bayern target Marco Reus scored both their goals in a 2-1 win.

Bayer Leverkusen threw away a 2-0 lead at home as strugglers Hamburg roared back with goals from ex-Germany players Marcell Jansen and Heiko Westermann to leave their side 16th in the league.

Hosts Nuremberg lost 2-1 at home to Freiburg as Senegal striker Papiss Cisse converted a penalty with the last kick of the game for the visitors which moves them to up third from bottom as mid-table Hoffenheim drew 1-1 with Kaiserslautern.


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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.