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Rampant Bayern Munich trounce Barcelona

Bayern Munich are on the verge of their third Champions League final in four years after routing Barcelona 4-0 in Tuesday's semi-final, first leg at the Allianz Arena.

Rampant Bayern Munich trounce Barcelona
Photo: DPA

It was the Spanish giants’ worst Champions League defeat since the 4-0 loss to Dynamo Kiev in the group stage in 1997.

Germany star Thomas Müller was Barca’s chief tormentor with a goal in each half while striker Mario Gomez and Dutch winger Arjen Robben also netted to give Bayern a huge advantage for the return leg at the Camp Nou on May 1.

Barcelona assistant coach Jordi Roura admitted his team would need a near miracle to now reach their third Champions League final since 2009.

“Miracles are always hard to make real, 4-0 is a huge deficit to make up,” said Roura. “I don’t know if anyone has come back from a score like that in the history of the Champions League, but we’ll do what we can. This is a big defeat which hurts us a lot.”

“They thrashed us,” admitted Barca defender Gerard Pique. “It is almost impossible, but we have to show face in the return leg.”

In contrast, Bayern, who are bidding to become the first German team to win a treble of European as well as domestic league and cup titles, were buoyant.

“That’s crazy, hard to believe,” said Robben. “They’ve dominated Europe in the last few years and and then we go and win 4-0. The key was we fought and defended together.”

But Bayern coach Jupp Heynckes warned the job is only half done.

“Of course, we’re all very happy about the win, especially the size of the margin. We were first-class,” he said. “But we know we still have 90 minutes ahead of us in Spain. We want to enjoy tonight, but nothing more.”

An exceptional day for Bayern got off to an unusual start when it was announced they had signed young Germany star Mario Götze from arch-rivals Borussia Dortmund for a reported €37 million ($48.1 million).

Then it was reported that, in March, club president Uli Hoeneß, caught up in a tax evasion scandal, was arrested and released on bail after a police raid on his home, but he was at the Allianz Arena to witness an incredible night.

Barcelona’s Argentine superstar Lionel Messi started, despite struggling with a hamstring injury since the start of the month, but the World Player of the Year was a shadow of his usual self.

Bayern had an early penalty appeal turned down, but the hosts went ahead when Robben’s lobbed cross from a corner was headed across goal by centre-back Dante for Mueller to place his header inside the far post on 24 minutes.

Dante came to his side’s rescue at the other end five minutes later to get a toe to a Pedro Rodríguez cross from the right that was heading straight for Messi at the back post.

And Bayern doubled their lead in the 49th minute as Gomez struck with his sixth goal in his last three games.

Again, the Barcelona defence failed to deal with a corner as Robben’s ball from the right was nodded down by Müller for Gomez to volley home on 49 minutes.

Dutchman Robben, who had been a constant menace to the Barca defence, grabbed the third on 73 minutes, skipping past Jordi Alba on the right before sliding his shot past Victor Valdes from a tight angle.

However, the Barcelona players were furious and protested to the referee as Alba had been body-checked by Müller as he chased Robben inside the box.

“The referee didn’t have an influence,” admitted Pique after. “They were just quicker, stronger, better.”

With the Barcelona defence in a shambles, Bayern grabbed the fourth on 82 minutes when Franck Ribery and David Alaba combined on the left for the latter to whip in a low ball which Müller slid into the net for his second.

Despite the advantage, Bayern know how tough life could be at the Camp Nou, having lost 4-0 on their last Champions League visit to Barcelona in the 2009 quarter-final, first leg which they went on to lose 5-1 on aggregate.

AFP/mry

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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. 

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