Big names struggle in flurry of red cards

There was a record number of red cards in the Bundesliga this weekend with eight sending offs in a weekend in which tensions ran high.

Big names struggle in flurry of red cards
Photo: DPA

Eintracht Frankfurt bounced back from losing their first two Bundesliga matches of the season with a 2-0 victory at Eintracht Braunschweig on Sunday while Stuttgart slumped to another defeat.

Armin Veh’s Frankfurt shrugged off defeats to Hertha Berlin and defending champions Bayern Munich to beat promoted Braunschweig, who suffered their third straight defeat to go bottom of the table.

Turkish international Halil Altintop scored his first goal for Augsburg since joining from Trabzonspor in June, as the Bavarians picked up their first points in a 2-1 win at home to VfB Stuttgart.

Altintop fired home on six minutes before Augsburg defender Jan-Ingwer Callsen-Bracker headed a second on 36 minutes. Bosnia striker Vedad Ibisevic then converted a Stuttgart penalty to make it 2-1 at the break.

Stuttgart’s Guinea midfielder Ibrahima Traore was shown a harsh red card when he was sent off just six minutes after coming off the bench for an over-zealous challenge on Augsburg defender Ronny Philp.

The defeat left Stuttgart second from bottom, behind other big-names Schalke and Hamburg, while Augsburg and Frankfurt move up to mid-table.

European champions Bayern have learnt they will be without new signing Thiago Alcantara for up to seven weeks. The 22-year-old, who cost 25 million euros ($33.45 million) from Barcelona in July, limped out of Bayern’s 2-0 win over Nuremberg on Saturday and a scan confirmed he needs an operation on torn ligaments in his right ankle on Monday.

Bayern set a new club record of 28 league matches without defeat to leave them third in the table behind leaders Borussia Dortmund, who beat Werder Bremen 1-0 on Friday, and Bayer Leverkusen, who saw off Borussia Mönchengladbach 4-2 on Saturday.

Schalke 04 suffered a confidence-sapping defeat ahead of Tuesday’s Champions League play-off second-leg at Greece’s PAOK Salonica as they lost 2-1 at Hanover 96 and finished with nine men.

The visitors had defender Benedikt Hoewedes sent off on 14 minutes for bringing down Hanover striker Mame Diouf with only the goalkeeper to beat, and Hungary midfielder Szabolcs Huszti drilled home the penalty.

Diouf then headed home three minutes from the break to leave Schalke reeling before striker Adam Szalai pulled one back in the second half.

Having also been hammered 4-0 at Wolfsburg last Saturday, Schalke have just one point from their first three games and lie 15th.

Hoffenheim were held to a 3-3 draw at home by Freiburg in an action-packed game which saw each side finish with 10 men and Freiburg coach Christian Streich banished to the stands.

Mainz are fourth after joining Bayern, Dortmund and Leverkusen with a 100 percent record following their 2-0 win at home to Wolfsburg, who had new signing Luiz Gustavo sent off for a second yellow card on just his second appearance since signing from Bayern.

After they were humiliated 5-1 at home by Hoffenheim last week, Hamburg

slumped to another defeat, losing 1-0 at Hertha Berlin, with Colombia’s Adrian

Ramos scoring the second-half winner.


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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.