Hanover clamber out of Bundesliga doldrums

Japan midfielder Hiroshi Kiyotake was a key factor in Hanover 96's 2-1 comeback win at Hamburg on Sunday to escape the Bundesliga's bottom three.

Hanover clamber out of Bundesliga doldrums
Kiyotake's penalty plasts past Hamburg goalie Rene Adler. Photo: DPA

After Hamburg took an early lead through striker Michael Gregoritsch, Kiyotake converted a second-half penalty and then provided the cross for the winner.

The attacking midfielder swung the ball in from the right and Senegal defensive midfielder Salif Sane powered home his header on 67 minutes.

The win lifted Hanover up to 14th and pushed Werder Bremen into the bottom three after their 3-1 defeat at home to Borussia Dortmund on Saturday.

Earlier, VfB Stuttgart also climbed out of the relegation places with a 2-0 win at home to Darmstadt, thanks primarily to an own goal.

Stuttgart climbed up from second from bottom to 15th with their third win in their last six league games after Darmstadt defender Gyoergy Garics headed the ball into his own net on 68 minutes.

It was no more than hosts Stuttgart deserved, just moments after teenage striker Timo Werner had headed against the crossbar.

Werner finally got on the scoresheet with the last kick of the game when he darted behind the defence and rounded the Darmstadt goalkeeper on 94 minutes.

It was the first time in five away matches that mid-table Darmstadt have lost on the road.

On Saturday, second-placed Borussia Dortmund cut the gap behind leaders Bayern Munich to five points as Marco Reus netted twice in Bremen.

Reus fired in the opening and third goals, but Borussia should have won by more as Gabon striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang squandered three clear chances.

Right winger Henrikh Mkhitaryan capped a superb display with Dortmund's second having provided the final pass for both of Reus' goals.


Wolfsburg climbed to third with a 2-1 win at home to fellow Champions League side Bayer Leverkusen after Nicklas Bendtner scored the opener and Julian Draxler hit the winner.

Ex-Manchester United striker Javier Hernandez equalised for Leverkusen just before the break, but the game was marred by two poor refereeing decisions from Manuel Grafe.

The FIFA-listed referee missed a clear offside for Bendtner's goal, then failed to award a penalty when Wolfsburg's Daniel Caligiuri was fouled by Leverkusen goalkeeper Bernd Leno in the second half.

Borussia Moenchengladbach earned their sixth straight victory to go fifth with a 4-1 win at Hertha Berlin having been bottom in September with five defeats.

Gladbach's caretaker coach Andre Schubert earned his sixth straight league win since taking charge to level the record for a new Bundesliga coach.

The result boosts Gladbach ahead of Tuesday's Champions League match at home to 2015 finalists Juventus while Hertha drop to sixth.

Gladbach are now just two points behind fourth-placed Schalke, who needed a late Leroy Sane equaliser in their 1-1 draw at home to Ingolstadt after the Bavarian visitors took a shock first-half lead.

Bochum-born Cameroon internationals Joel and Marvin Matip faced each other for the first time with Joel at centre-back for Schalke while Marvin captained Ingolstadt.

Huub Stevens picked up a point in his first game as coach of Hoffenheim in their goalless draw at Cologne.

Caretaker coach Stevens has been tasked with keeping second-from-bottom Hoffenheim up, with 28-year-old Julian Nagelsmann set to make history next season as the Bundesliga's youngest head coach.

Japan's Yoshinori Muto claimed a hat-trick to rescue a dramatic point for mid-table Mainz in their 3-3 draw at bottom side Augsburg.


Having given Mainz a 2-0 lead before Augsburg roared back with three goals, Muto scrambled the ball over the line for the 93rd-minute equaliser.

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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.