Dortmund climb off bottom with win

Borussia Dortmund earned a 1-0 win over Hoffenheim on Friday to climb off the foot of the Bundesliga and escape the bottom three.

Dortmund climb off bottom with win
Jurgen Klopp revels in his side's victory over Hoffenheim. Photo: DPA

Germany midfielder Ilkay Gundogan scored Dortmund's first-half winner which lifted them to 14th ahead of the weekend's other matches.

This was a much more polished performance from Jurgen Klopp's Dortmund, who have already qualified for the last 16 of the Champions League but have been in poor form domestically.

The victory offers last season's runners-up some respite after losing seven of their last 10 league games. It was only their fourth win in the league this season, 14 games into the campaign.

"The boys did really well from the beginning, it was a deserved win, but no more than that, it has to continue from here," said a relieved Klopp.

"The big thing to take is that we are able to score goals and not concede them," he added after Dortmund managed just two goals in their last four games.

There was more good news for Borussia as their captain, German international centre-back Mats Hummels, made his return after missing the last five games with a sprained ankle.

Hummels marked his return with a key clearing header at the start of the second half.

The defeat leaves Hoffenheim still seventh in the table, but Markus Gisdol's side can have no complaints after managing just six shots at goal compared to Dortmund's 19.

Klopp sprang a surprise before kick-off when he opted for Australian Mitchell Langerak over Germany's Roman Weidenfeller in goal.

The Socceroos shot-stopper has been used as an understudy since joining Dortmund in 2010 and only previously played when World Cup-winner Weidenfeller had been either injured or rested.

But with Dortmund having dropped to the bottom of the Bundesliga before kick-off, Klopp opted to give Langerak only his 12th appearance in the German top flight.

Weidenfeller was left on the bench along with Japan's ex-Manchester United midfielder Shinji Kagawa.

Klopp had described the Hoffenheim clash as 'High Noon' for his team as they looked to bounce back from a dire run of league results and his side were quickest on the draw.

Gundogan, who only recently returned from a long-term back injury, scored his first goal since the 2013 Champions League final defeat to Bayern Munich when he headed home Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's cross after just 17 minutes.

Gabon winger Aubameyang was unlucky not to get on the scoresheet himself as he had two goals disallowed for marginal offside calls and then hit the post in the second half.

Dortmund's win sees Hamburg, who host Mainz on Sunday, drop to the bottom of the table.

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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.