Dortmund down Bremen to stay top of Bundesliga

Last season's Champions League finalists Borussia Dortmund strengthened their position as early Bundesliga leaders with a 1-0 win at home to Werder Bremen on Friday.

Dortmund down Bremen to stay top of Bundesliga
Photo: DPA

Dortmund earned their third straight league win of the new season as Poland striker Robert Lewandowski showed why Borussia recently raised his wages from a reported €20,000 to 60,000 ($80,286) per week for the last 10 months of his contract with the winning goal.

Lewandowski celebrated his 101st Bundesliga appearance when he converted Marco Reus’s cross from the right in the 55th minute to claim the three points.

“I had a lot of chances and we’re happy that we won, but we have to improve our game, 1-0 at home is not enough,” admitted Lewandowski, who turned 25 on Wednesday.

With reigning European champions Bayern Munich, who are joint second with Bayer Leverkusen, hosting Nuremberg on Saturday, Dortmund’s win at the Westfalenstadion leaves them three points clear with a goal difference of six

compared to Bayern and Leverkusen’s three.

“In a way it was good that we didn’t score earlier, because it would have taken some of the fire out of the players,” said Dortmund coach Jurgen Klopp.

“This way, they had their feet on the gas for the whole 90 minutes. Having nine points after only three games and talking about how we can improve is almost a luxury problem.”

This was Bremen’s first league defeat of the season, and their first under new coach Robin Dutt, after they saw off promoted Eintracht Braunschweig and

Augsburg on the first two weekends.

The result was rarely in doubt as Dortmund dominated from start to finish with the hosts spraying the visitors’ goal with 32 shots — 16 on target — compared to Bremen’s seven, only four of which troubled Dortmund goalkeeper Roman Weidenfeller.

Dortmund enjoyed around 60 percent possession for the majority of the 90 minutes, while Germany star Reus was a constant thorn in the Bremen defence from the left wing and Lewandowski could have finished with a hat-trick.

The Poland striker forced Bremen goalkeeper Sebastian Mielitz into first-half heroics, twice denying him from close-range, while his compatriot Jakub Blaszczykowski rattled the Bremen crossbar on 36 minutes with Mielitz beaten.

At the other end Bremen striker Marko Arnautovic, who recently turned down a move to Scottish champions Celtic, was limited to half chances as he started for the first time since being suspended by the club in April after being stopped by police for speeding.


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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.