Five things we learned in the Bundesliga

Bayern Munich party hard after winning a fifth straight German league title while Ingolstadt frustrate Leipzig again.

Five things we learned in the Bundesliga
Bayern Munich claimed a fifth straight Bundesliga title. Photo: Peter Steffen/DPA
Here are five things we learned from the 31st round of Bundesliga matches this weekend:
1. Bayern party time
Their 6-0 hammering of Wolfsburg confirmed Bayern are Bundesliga winners again and the squad proved they are party champions too.
Captain Philipp Lahm kicked things off, taking to the loudspeaker to lead the singing on the pitch.
The squad wore red T-Shirts showing a white palm — a finger for each league title over the last five years.
The victory was toasted in the dressing room with champagne, beer and music.
“It was too quiet — we need a new sound system,” joked Mats Hummels.
Cans of beer and freshly delivered pizza joined the team on the flight back to Munich, where the celebrations continued in an Italian restaurant.
Defender Rafinha was the last man standing and he posted a bare-chested video on Instagram with a copy of the Bundesliga trophy and a glass of sparkling at 7am on Sunday.
Bayern will be presented with the real Bundesliga trophy after the last league match, at home to Freiburg, on May 20.
2. Leipzig made to wait
RB Leipzig's plans to beat strugglers Ingolstadt at home and celebrate winning an automatic Champions League place fell flat in Saturday's goalless draw.
Last December, second-from-bottom Ingolstadt ended RB's record 13-match winning run at the start of their first Bundesliga season with a 1-0 defeat.
The Bavarians struck again at Leipzig's Red Bull Arena in a bad-tempered affair.
There were seven yellow cards and Ingolstadt defender Alfredo Morales was sent off late on for a second booking.
Leipzig's top-scorer Timo Werner had to go off on 66 minutes with a leg injury.
RB's Champions League celebrations must now stay on ice until their next home game — against Bayern on May 13.
3. Rivals' showdown
Borussia Dortmund drew a blank in their goalless draw with Cologne, but are relishing Saturday's home match against Hoffenheim — a showdown between the rivals for an automatic Champions League place next season.
Hoffenheim's 1-0 win against Eintracht Frankfurt on Sunday saw them leap-frog Dortmund into third, with Borussia just one point behind.
The team which finishes third in Germany's top flight qualifies directly for the Champions League while fourth goes into a play-off.
“It's great for everyone, when the third plays fourth,” said Dortmund midfielder Gonzalo Castro.
“We're looking forward to it and the good thing is that we have things in our own hands,” he added before the home clash at Dortmund's Signal Iduna Park.
4. Second chance for Kruse
Max Kruse is set to feature for Germany at the Confederations Cup after hitting 10 goals in his last eight games for Werder Bremen.
He scored in Saturday's 2-0 win against Hertha Berlin in a week when Germany's head coach Joachim Loew praised the 29-year-old's prowess in front of goal.
Loew kicked him out of the Germany squad in March 2016 for off-the-field indiscretions, but the signs indicate Kruse is set for another chance.
“I'm glad, honoured even, that the national coach has seen my performances,” said Kruse.
Kruse could taste international competition next season with sixth-placed Bremen set for a Europa League place.
5. Hot-shots do battle
Bayern are confirmed champions, but the race to be the league's top scorer rages on.
With three games left Robert Lewandowski's two goals at Wolfsburg leave him on 28 league goals — one more than Dortmund's Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
Lewandowski is looking to retain the hot-shot title he won last year with Bayern still to face Darmstadt (h), RB Leipzig (a) and Freiburg (h).
Aubameyang's Dortmund play Hoffenheim (h), Augsburg (a) and Werder Bremen (h) in their remaining league games.
By AFP's Ryland James

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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.