Five things we learned from the German Bundesliga matches

Bayern Munich again threw away a two-goal lead in the draw at Hertha Berlin as the Bundesliga giants seek a replacement for fired coach Carlo Ancelotti.

Five things we learned from the German Bundesliga matches
Julian Nagelsmann and Thomas Tuchel greeting each other at a football game in 2016. Photo: DPA.

Borussia Dortmund's scrappy 2-1 win at Augsburg was branded “the worst since I arrived” by coach Peter Bosz, but was good enough to leave them five points clear of second-placed Bayern.

Willy Sagnol, Bayern's caretaker coach for Sunday's 2-2 draw in Berlin, looks to have lost another star with Franck Ribery sidelined by injury with Manuel Neuer already out.

Here are five things we learned from the seventh round of German Bundesliga matches:

1. Tuchel? Nagelsmann?

Bayern are hunting for a new coach after Ancelotti's dismissal last Thursday with ex-Dortmund boss Thomas Tuchel and Hoffenheim's Julian Nagelsmann among the favourites.

Tuchel, 44, was dismissed by Dortmund in May after a disagreement with CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke, but is seen as one of Germany's top coaches.

Nagelsmann, 30, was voted Germany's coach of 2016, but has a contract with Hoffenheim until 2021.

Bayern will use this week's international break to finalise Ancelotti's replacement, but experts differ over whether Tuchel is the right man.

READ ALSO: Football: Tuchel in talks with Bayern – reports

“He is a very clever person, has a lot of ideas about football and will fit in very well at Bayern,” said Germany star Sami Khedira.

However, ex-Germany captain Lothar Matthaeus says Nagelsmann is the man Bayern really want.

“He is first-choice for Uli Hoeness (Bayern's president) and if you want something, you want the A1 solution,” said the 56-year-old.

“Until he comes, they may need someone to carry them over, but in that case it won't be Tuchel.”

2. Aubameyang's howler

Pierre-Emerick has converted just four of his last seven spot-kick attempts, but remains Borussia Dortmund's main penalty taker.

The Gabon hot-shot had a howler when he weakly fired at Augsburg goalkeeper Marwin Hitz in the 80th minute of Saturday's 2-1 win at Augsburg.

“'Auba' will take them,” said coach Peter Bosz when asked whether he will change his penalty taker.

“It wasn't good against Augsburg, that's clear, but he'll only have a bad game like that perhaps twice a year – and he already has one behind him.”

3. Werner stress

Germany striker Timo Werner sat out RB Leipzig's win at Cologne on Sunday after being taken with dizziness in last Wednesday's Champions League defeat at Besiktas.

The 21-year-old was in clear distress in Istanbul and complained of pains in his ears due to the crowd noise at the Turkish side's stadium.

Leipzig say he has a problem with the muscles in his spine and neck, caused by a heavy playing schedule.

His club say it is doubtful Werner will link up with the Germany squad for Thursday's World Cup qualifier away to Northern Ireland in which Germany need a point to qualify for Russia 2018.

4. Two yellows, zero minutes

Hamburg and Werder Bremen are relegation contenders after Saturday's dreadful north German derby ended in a goalless draw with both clubs now in the bottom three.

In total, 40 fouls were committed in Hamburg to dampen the hosts' 130th anniversary celebrations.

Bremen's reserve goalkeeper Michael Zetterer picked up one of the four yellow cards for challenging a decision from the bench.

It was his second booking this season as a substitute – and he has yet to play a single minute of league football.

5. Cologne's Stoeger safe

Cologne are bottom with a solitary point from seven games, but coach Peter Stoeger is not in danger of becoming the third German league coach sacked this season – for now.

Sunday's 2-1 defeat by RB Leipzig leaves Cologne six points from safety, but Stoeger remains in charge.

“Just because the team are playing badly doesn't mean we have to make changes,” said club director Joerg Schmadtke.

Having signed veteran Claudio Pizarro, who turns 39 on Tuesday, Cologne hope the league's top-scoring foreigner will add to his tally of 191 goals for Bayern and Bremen.

For members


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.