By Peter Weis@PeterVicey

Four of nine Bundesliga fixtures sell out in week seven

In terms of footballing attendance, one European League once always stood head and shoulders above the rest. Germany's Bundesliga reliably bested all other competitors for well over a decade before the onset of the global pandemic.

There's a lot of new news to report upon during in the latest edition of our column and even a new feature to debut. From now on, we'll be taking a look at the matchday ahead by reporting on the "plans for fans" of all nine Bundesliga hosting clubs.

The biggest overall news on the Bundesliga fan scene concerns developments in the German states of Nordrhein-Westfalen and Bavaria.

NRW clubs, of which there are more than in any other area of the country, now have permission to fill their stadiums to full-seated-capacity. Restrictions to the standing areas still apply.

In something of a shocker, Bavaria has also given the green light for full capacity. This means we should see Bayern host 72,000 at the Allianz soon.
Our weekly check up with the state of fan re-entry across the Bundesrepublik returns, this time with a new feature. German COVID restrictions still remain a patchwork quilt of different capacity caps in different regions. This is reflective of both the country's 16-state-federal-system (the history of which is as varied and complex as the states themselves) and the fact that the country's federal regime will remain in a transitional phase until a new governing coalition can be formed. This could stretch on for several more weeks.

The new feature debuting this week will, after the attendance figures from the round just completed are covered, take a look at the matchday ahead. By and large, the 16y federal states are all rolling back restrictions. Saxony, where there persists some concern about the incidence rates, remains the lone exception. We will no longer report upon the RKI incidence figures when covering the weekend numbers. The rate is currently not deemed relevant. Seeing as how it might again become relevant in the future, however, we'll report the numbers during the look ahead.

In terms of the actual systems clubs are using to regulate re-entry, there is now a fourth concept to add to the three we discussed last week. One can, of course, always rely upon Germans to make things more complicated if they are afforded an opportunity to do so. Joining the "2G", "2G+" and "3G", the new "3G*" concept gets set to debut. We'll try and summarize the concepts as best as possible:

I. "2G" ("Geimpft" (vaccinated), "Genesen" (recovered)

Only spectators demonstrating proof of vaccination and recovery may attend.

II.  "2G+" ("Geimpft" (vaccinated), "Genesen" (recovered)

A small amount of tested patrons may attend, but they must all sit in a separate, cordoned-off block.

III. "3G" ("Geimpft" (vaccinated), "Genesen" (recovered), "Getestet" (tested)

Fans vaccinated, recovered, or tested may attend. A smaller proportion of seats are reserved for the tested, but they may mix with the rest of the crowd.

IV. "3G*" ("Geimpft" (vaccinated), "Genesen" (recovered), "Getestet" (tested)

Fans vaccinated, recovered, or tested may attend. A smaller proportion of seats are reserved for the tested, but they may mix with the rest of the crowd. The tested must have proof of a negative rapid Antigen test from the same day as the match.

As the footballing crowds get larger, only four of the nine fixtures in the 2021/22 German Bundesliga's seventh round sold out. Note that Stuttgart and Dortmund came within a hair's breath of getting every pass out, so one could essentially say that we've seen six of nine games sell out for the third consecutive week.

SpVgg Greuther Fürth (at) 1. FC Köln

Maximum spectator allowance = 40,000

Planned capacity = 40,000

Attendance = 40,000 (sold out)

Concept = 2G

The full compliment of Effzeh enthusiasts made it into the RheinEnergieStadion last Friday night. This atmosphere proved full-tilt amazing as one of the great venues in one of Germany's great carnival cities draws nearer to full capacity. As we've noted several times before in this column, Köln were the first Bundesliga club to implement a 2G concept. The fact that this restriction never prevented them from selling out is a promising development.

Next up for die Geißböcke, it's away at Hoffenheim immediately after the international break. When Bundesliga returns to the cathedral city in round nine of the 2021/22 campaign, the Domstädter hope to have to have their stadium near full capacity. The first round of tickets went on sale earlier this week.

On a separate note, the 1. FC Köln are participating in a city-wide tournament that also features Fortuna Köln and Victoria Köln during the international break. The event is being staged by the city's three clubs as part of efforts to provide financial relief to the victims of the July floods in the region. All proceeds from the exhibition fixtures will go towards aid. Additionally, "11/11" football-related merchandise celebrating the city's carnival heritage is being sold to generate revenue.

Köln maximum stadium capacity = 50,000

Planned capacity for next home game (October 24th) = 46,500 (93%)

FC Augsburg (at) Borussia Dortmund

Maximum spectator allowance = 40,000

Planned capacity = 40,682

Attendance = 40,000 (98.3%)

Concept = 2G

Acki Watzke should get his wish soon. The German federal state of North-Rhine Westphalia continues to roll back regulations. Outdoor venues shall no longer be governed by 75 percent capacity caps. Nothing stands in the way of packing Germany's largest footballing cathedral. Given that the project itself of welcoming the famous 81,365 (a capacity figure every German football lover has memorized) to Signal Iduna remains a large undertaking, the BVB slowly builds up to full capacity.

The Schwarzgelben played before a crowd just a few seats short of a sell-out last Saturday against Augsburg. A few more shots of the crowd from the broadcast camera crew covering the match would have been appreciated. Unfortunately, the video grips couldn't resist zooming in on the absent Erling Haaland in the team's observation box.

After running "2G" for their last home fixture, the NRW club will attempt to use "3G*" when Mainz comes to town after the international break. The vaccinated, recovered, and immediately tested can mix together in the club's standing bleacher pen, which will be filled to 50-percent-capacity.

Dortmund maximum stadium capacity = 81,365

Planned capacity for next home game (October 16th) = 67,028 (82.4%)

Borussia Mönchengladbach (at) VfL Wolfsburg

Maximum spectator allowance = 15,000

Planned capacity = 15,000

Attendance = 12,845 (85.6%)

Concept = 2G

This counts as very large home crowd for the Autostädter. A large traveling contingent of Gladbach supporters help boost the numbers at the Volkswagen Arena. Gladbach actually have a few group of "biker ultras" who are once again pleased to hop on their motorcycles and follow their team throughout the Bundesrepublik.

Germany's green company team have announced that they will place 25,000 tickets on sale for the team's next home match against Freiburg in round nine. This fixture will not sell out. For that matter, neither will any other Wolfsburg home games over the course of the season. The final match before Christmas against Köln and Bayern's visit on the last day of the season might end up being a pair of exceptions.

Wolfsburg maximum stadium capacity = 30,000

Planned capacity for next home game (October 23rd) = 25,000 (83.3%)

TSG 1899 Hoffenheim (at) VfB Stuttgart

Maximum spectator allowance = 25,000

Planned capacity = 25,000

Attendance = 24,211 (96.8%)

Concept = 3G

Just like in Dortmund, the home team came in a couple of seats short of a sell out in Württemberg. The Swabians would have surely filled every last seat were they not hosting the Sinsheimers. Some sad news accompanied Stuttgart's second home win of the season. The club announced that Waldemar Anton, Erik Thommy, and back-up keeper Fabian Bredlow all tested positive for COVID. All three are now in quarantine until further notice.

Amid this reminder that the virus remains a present danger, it's worth noting that the federal state Baden-Württemberg maintains 50-percent stadium capacity caps. Stuttgart and Sinsheim will remain under them until further notice. The state's other Bundesliga side, SC Freiburg, will be permitted to operate slightly above as it fills it's new luxury boxes to capacity when opening its new stadium on October 16th.

Stuttgart maximum stadium capacity = 60,441

Planned capacity for next home game (October 24th) = 25,000 (41.3%)

SC Freiburg (at) Hertha BSC

Maximum spectator allowance = 25,000

Planned capacity = 25,000

Attendance = 18,376 (75.3%)

Concept = 3G

Attendance drops significantly for Germany's West Berlin side as fans can't help but hold a grim outlook when it comes to their side's prospects. The Berliner Senate, just like in Baden-Württemberg, sticks to 50 percent capacity limits for outdoor events. Obvious reasons govern this decision. Restrictions remain necessary in a densely packed metropolis. We may not see limits raised until after the New Year.

Hertha maximum stadium capacity = 74,475

Planned capacity for next home game (October 23rd) = 25,000 (33.5%)

VfL Bochum (at) RB Leipzig

Maximum spectator allowance = 34,000

Planned capacity = 25,598

Attendance = 25,598 (sold out)

Concept = 3G

Leipzig and the German state of Saxony have actually reinstated restrictions in an area of the country where the incidence rate, in the context of local politics, still carries with it some relevance. After allowing in 34,000 spectators in round four, then initially announcing that they would allow in on 23,500 for this match, two thousand additional patrons found their way in without explanation.

It's somewhat embarrassing to admit, but it appears that some footballing journalists in Germany may have been phoning it in with respect to this club. There isn't even statistical agreement as to how many seats are available in the Red Bull Arena. To be fair, the venue has been undergoing seemingly perpetual renovations as part of its upgrade in preparation to be a host city for Euro 2024.

Leipzig's specially built home stadium once had a 41,000 seat capacity. Once the renovations are completed, its supposed to be a 52,000 seat arena. In the meantime, different sources report different current capacity numbers. Some have it as low as 42,146 while others have it as high as 49,516.

It doesn't help than many ultra societies boycott the team when their club has away matches so as not to give any of their money to the Red Bull GmbH. There's some valuable information missing from most fan pages. Oh well. This writer will see what he can dig up something definitive before the next column.

Leipzig maximum stadium capacity = 42,146

Planned capacity for next home game (October 23rd) = 25,000 (59.3%)

FC Union Berlin (at) FSV Mainz 05

Maximum spectator allowance = 17,000

Planned capacity = 17,000

Attendance = 16,000 (94.1%)

Concept = 2G+

The "quiet Pfälzer" slowly return to their arena on the Bruchweg, now on its fourth or fifth new sponsorship deal of the last three years. The politicians of the Palatinate have now given clearance for 75 percent stadium capacity. Accordingly, the Nullfünfter will attempt to draw a crowd of 24,000 to their next home fixture.

Mainz remain tethered to the odd "2G+" concept, which few anticipate will last much longer. Placing the unvaccinated in a separate bull pen seems to exacerbate the Bundesrepublik's biggest hot-button issues. For now, however, there are no plans to abandon it.

Mainz maximum stadium capacity = 34,000

Planned capacity for next home game (October 22nd) = 24,000 (70.5%)

Eintracht Frankfurt (at) FC Bayern München

Maximum spectator allowance = 25,000

Planned capacity = 25,000

Attendance = 25,000 (sold out)

Concept = 3G

The big news out of Bavaria concerns the fact that (to the shock of most Germans) the German giants have been clearance to pack the Allianz for their next home fixture. Frankly, no one expected this in the most conservative in the Bundesrepublik. The state government opted to lift all restrictions late last week, releasing a statement that it expected venue operators to "strictly control" entry at the gates.

One should take this piece of news with a grain of salt. After all, simply because Bayern have been given full permission doesn't mean they will opt to use it. As of this writing, there is no official word from the FCB about how they plan to handle matters back from the international break.

Bayern maximum stadium capacity = 75,024

Planned capacity for next home game (October 23rd) = 75,024 (100%)

Bayer 04 Leverkusen (at) Arminia Bielefeld

Maximum spectator allowance = 16,250

Planned capacity = 16,250

Attendance = 16,250 (sold out)

Concept = 3G

The DSC wasted no time after their 0-4 home defeat to Leverkusen on at the Alm on Sunday evening. The club immediately released a statement on Monday morning saying that it would place 25,000 tickets on sale for the next home match in round nine. The fans needed some good news. They got some.

Only the NRW regulations calling for some restrictions on the standing-room-only places prevent Bielefeld from fully filling their stadium. Just as one can make confident non-sell-out predictions with respect to Wolfsburg, Hoffenheim, and Hertha, one can almost surely promise that every Bielefeld (and Köln) home game will sell out.

Bielefeld maximum stadium capacity = 26,515

Planned capacity for next home game (October 23rd) = 25,000 (94.%)

As noted in the introductory paragraph, we're pleased to unveil a new feature to our "fans return to the stadium" column. The comprehensive "plans for fans" for all nine hosting clubs once the Bundesliga returns from the international break can be found below.

This is also the section where one can find the local incidence rate, culled from Germany's Süddetusche Zeitung. If matters proceed as most of us are expecting, the incidence rate will no longer play a significant role in public events in Germany.

Naturally, this assumes that there aren't broad reversals in the plans of some of these clubs. Should changes occur, the incidence rate will likely be the influencing factor. We'll thus report upon it in the event that it regains its relevance.

Friday, October 15th

FC Köln (at) TSG 1889 Hoffenheim

15,075 tickets (50% capacity) with 3G

Local RKI Incidence = 61.1 per 100,000

Saturday, October 16th

FSV Mainz 05 (at) Borussia Dortmund

67,028 tickets (82.4% capacity) with 3G*

Local RKI Incidence = 60.2 per 100,000

Hertha BSC (at) Eintracht Frankfurt

40,000 tickets (77.7% capacity) with 2G+

Local RKI Incidence = 86.4 per 100,000

VfL Wolfsburg (at) 1. FC Union Berlin

11,006 tickets (50% capacity) with 3G

Local RKI Incidence = 78.2 per 100,000

RB Leipzig (at) SC Freiburg

20,000 tickets (57.6% capacity) with 3G

Local RKI Incidence = 74.5 per 100,000

VfL Bochum (at) SpVgg Greuther Fürth

16,626 tickets (100% capacity) with 3G

Local RKI Incidence = 85.9 per 100,000

VfB Stuttgart (at) Borussia Mönchengladbach

46,000 tickets (85.10% capacity) with 3G

Local RKI Incidence = 83.2 per 100,000

Sunday, October 17th

FC Bayern München (at) Bayer 04 Leverkusen

29,542 tickets (97.8% capacity) with 2G

Local RKI Incidence = 45.1 per 100,000

Arminia Bielefeld (at) FC Augsburg

17,500 tickets (57.10% capacity) with 3G

Local RKI Incidence = 101.4 per 100,000

Thanks so much for reading!

You can occasionally catch Peter on twitter, @ViceytheSS.

Twitter DMs are open for football conversations, corrections, and (if you truly insist) general abuse. 

All columns debut on Bulinews before appearing on Peter's website later in the week.

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