Mainz minnows beat mighty Bayern Munich

Bayern Munich lost in a shock 3-2 defeat at Bundesliga stragglers Mainz on Sunday, a result which leaves the Bavarians third in the table, and puts champions Dortmund top for the first time this season.

Mainz minnows beat mighty Bayern Munich
Mainz' Andreas Ivanschitz (l) scores against Munich's Jerome Boateng. Photo: DPA

Having lost 1-0 at home to Dortmund last Saturday, Jupp Heynckes’ men were beaten again, their defence struggling to cope with a Mainz side who were not intimidated by the German record champions.

“We made it easy for them, there is no doubt they’re fighting to stay away from the relegation zone,” fumed Bayern captain Philipp Lahm.

“Generally speaking, we are normally the better team, but if you don’t put in the necessary effort; that is what happens.”

The win was no more than the hosts deserved after Bayern repeatedly surrendered possession in midfield, where they are missing the calming influence of injured star Bastian Schweinsteiger, who is nursing a broken collarbone.

Mainz were rewarded when Austrian midfielder Andreas Ivanschitz struck after just 11 minutes.

Bayern defender Daniel van Buyten equalised on 56 minutes, but Mainz were not to be denied a win to lift them to 13th in the Liga as midfielder Marco Caligiuri and defender Niko Bungert scored to put the hosts 3-1 up.

Van Buyten scored his second header to make it 3-2 with 11 minutes left to set up a tense finale, but Mainz held on.

“You can make a plan and tell the team, but the players have to believe in it and make it work,” said Mainz coach Thomas Tuchel.

“We didn’t allow Bayern many opportunities and we deserved this win.”

Bayern director of sport Christian Nerlinger admitted his side had lost their way, despite qualifying for the knock-out phase of the Champions League.

“We have lost two of our last three games, which obviously has consequences on the league table,” he said, while Bayern still have to face Bremen, Stuttgart and Cologne before the German league’s winter break.

“Things aren’t running as smoothly as they were, but I’m confident we’ll win our remaining league games before Christmas.”

Bayern’s defeat sees them slip to third, with Dortmund seizing top spot in the wake of their 2-0 win over Schalke in the Ruhr derby on Saturday.

Borussia Mönchengladbach are second on goal difference after their 3-0 win at Cologne on Friday, with Bayern a point back in third and Werder Bremen, who enjoyed a 2-0 win at home to VfB Stuttgart, fourth on 26 points.

Dortmund now travel to Mönchengladbach next Saturday, while Bayern host Bremen, in what is shaping up to be another massive weekend in an increasingly fascinating title race.

Dortmund’s win over Schalke was their seventh victory in eight league games.

Poland striker Robert Lewandowski and Brazilian defender Felipe Santana scored the goals in front of 80,720 spectators.

There is no love lost between the rival fans and 35 arrests were made at Dortmund’s sold out Signal Iduna Park stadium as fights between supporters were broken up by police using batons and pepper spray.

Having booked their place in the knock-out phase of the Champions League with a late win at home to Chelsea on Wednesday, Leverkusen were held to a 3-3 draw in a thrilling game at Hertha Berlin, with Eren Derdiyok scoring a hat-trick.

Hamburg’s new coach Thorsten Fink has now gone five games unbeaten after a draw 1-1 at Hannover, which left his side 15th, while Hannover are now eighth.

Bottom side Augsburg picked up only their second victory of the season, and their first home win, when they inflicted a 2-0 defeat on 2009 champions Wolfsburg.

Augsburg’s win tightens things at the foot of the table with four points now separating the bottom six sides.


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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.