By Peter Weis@PeterVicey

Two of nine Bundesliga fixtures sell out in week 11

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.

For the third consecutive week, only two of the league fixtures sold out their full allotment of tickets. Bayern and Mainz packed the house this time. Leipzig and Köln came very close.

There's much going on politically in the Bundesrepublik. It would be fair to say we might see some restrictions reinstated over the coming winter. Such developments are taken into consideration in the latest installment of our attendance column.

Round 11 of the 2021/22 German Bundesliga undeniably showcased the league's greatest asset in a manner not seen since pre-pandemic times. German football lovers are by and large pleased that our treasured ultras got some much needed broadcast time all across the globe. How the matter of fan-reentry now progresses from what we consider to be an acceptable to level to a much wider scale remains to be seen.

There have been two very big political developments in the Bundesrepublik this week. The one directly related to football concerns the controversial COVID protocols that ended up severely depleting the national team. Football being of such tantamount importance to the German public, the manner in which the national team had to isolate contact players effectively takes the vaccine mandate debate taking place in the country into overdrive.

In terms of straight politics, the country's federal health institute is now recommending the cancellation of all large scale public gatherings. Furthermore, the Bundesrepublik's presumptive next chancellor, Olaf Scholz (SPD), publicly endorsed the concept of widespread vaccine mandates in Germany. It cannot be ruled out that an extremely divisive political issue might end in further lockdowns.

As we have speculated in earlier editions of this column, the local incidence rate might become a relevant metric again. It is such that we will be reporting on it in our individual sections on the weekend matches once again. This week's look ahead to the next round of Bundesliga fixtures, scheduled to take place next weekend, also does not contain ticket allocations yet. This is because it is, in fact, very much uncertain what will happen next.

Sections on the nine fixtures from the previous round still contain general state of ultra return for each club. We also have the maximum spectator allowances for each team permitted under the guidelines in their respective federal states. The key to the for major entry concepts in use remains:

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.

Borussia Mönchengladbach (at) FSV Mainz 05

Maximum Spectator Allowance = 30,000

Planned capacity = 25,000

Attendance = 25,000 (sold out)

Concept = 2G+

Many of the Rheinhessen fans are back and the MEWE Arena was completely rocking-and-rolling last Friday night. The Palatinate faithful have excellent reason to celebrate their team, which has been on an absolute tear as of late. Earlier this week, the government of Rhineland-Pfalz announced that some further COVID restrictions would be lifting, allowing the Pfälzer club to put 30,000 tickets on sale for the upcoming home fixture against Köln immediately after the international break.

As nice as the atmosphere in the beautiful old city has been, there remain ultra groups discontent with the thinly-veiled "2G+" regulations. The club has even attempted to thinly-veil their entry concept as a "3G" one. This hasn't fooled anyone. In all instances, a maximum of 1,000 tickets were reserved for the non-vaccinated-or-recovered. Moreover, the tested individuals were only allowed access to certain cordoned-off blocks of the stadium. As we've noted several times in this column, such in-stadium quarantining is considered distasteful by many German football fans.

The news coming out of the Pfalz on Tuesday still doesn't provide us with the most detailed information. In principle, the 1,000-person cap for the tested no longer applies. To what extent the club wishes to increase the allotment as it scales up it's offering of 5,000 more tickets remains to be seen. Mainz doesn't even wish to go to full capacity (33,305) yet even those the new Pfälzer ordinance allows it. We should get some more information next week.

Coordinated Ultra return = No

Local RKI Incidence Rate = 138.6 per 100,000

FC Augsburg (at) VfL Wolfsburg

Maximum Spectator Allowance = 30,000 

Planned capacity = 25,000

Attendance = 16,095 (64.4%)

Concept = 2G

Die Wölfe of Germany's northern "Autostadt" have been permitted to fill the Volkswagen Arena to full capacity for quite some time. As anyone who has previously read about this club in this column knows, they very likely never will. The VfL continues to offer a ticket allotment 5,000 seats below the venue's maximum. This counts as a precautionary measure that a club like Wolfsburg can afford, as does the "2G" concept.

One should hand it to the community faithful for turning out in numbers not often seen in this small town. Ostensibly, curiosity generated by the new coaching regime positively influenced turnout. The Atmospherics during Saturday's fixture furnished by the reliably funny and lively club ultras proved competent enough.

Coordinated Ultra return = Yes

Local RKI Incidence Rate = 138.1 per 100,000

TSG 1899 Hoffenheim (at) VfL Bochum

Maximum Spectator Allowance = 22,000

Planned capacity = 22,000

Attendance = 19,600 (89.1%)

Concept = 3G

We sadly didn't see a sell-out at "the Castrop". Perhaps we shall in the coming weeks as the 1848ers find themselves very much a top-tier club on the rise. Everyone in German football circles are pleased to talk about the newly promoted, tradition-rich club that presently exceeds expectations. The fact that Thomas Reis' "classic" club blanked Dietmar Hopp's 50+1 violation over the weekend made a lot of German football lovers very happy over the weekend.

In the event that anyone missed it, the home-town crowd ended up being the story of this match. After (mistakenly) egging keeper Manuel Riemann on to take a missed penalty, the supporters kept up the chants, cries, and ovations as their team continued to dominate the guests. Milos Pantovic then scored a decisive last-second goal from halfway. All of this made German football enthusiasts quite happy as well. Bochum stood as the main topic of Monday conversations.

One can't wait for all the ultras to return here.

Coordinated Ultra return = No

Local RKI Incidence Rate  = 158.6 per 100,000

DSC Arminia Bielefeld (at) VfB Stuttgart

Maximum Spectator Allowance = 60,449 

Planned capacity = 60,449

Attendance = 33,550 (55.5%)

Concept = 2G

A very good turnout under "2G" regulations in Germany's southern "Autostadt". As we've noted in several previous columns, Stuttgart have opted to take advantage of the bargain offered by the German federal state of Baden-Württemberg and trade "2G" protocols for the right to fill their venue to full capacity. It's particularly impressive that so many BaWü citizens came out inspire of the high local incidence rate.

Of course, the big story here concerns the unacceptably languid match all the supporters of this club were treated to. The ultras did their part, never relenting in their ovations to the team for the full 90 minutes. It genuinely makes one sad. An across-the-board "2G" rule shall continue to keep some ultra groups away. Those returning deserve better.

Coordinated Ultra return = No

Local RKI Incidence Rate  = 324 per 100,000

SC Freiburg (at) FC Bayern München

Maximum Spectator Allowance = 75,000

Planned capacity = 75,000

Attendance = 75,000 (sold out)

Concept = 3G*

What a site this was! The Allianz hasn't been packed since the match against March 2020 home fixture against Augsburg in the final days before global lockdown. While the festive spirit of one of the Bundesrepublik's great footballing temples isn't anywhere near where it was during that particular match (actually an anniversary commemoration for the club replete with all the trimmings), the FCB ultras delivered some nice locally-tinged atmospherics.

During what was unequivocally the top-match of the weekend, we also witnessed one of the Bundesliga's most important next emerging protest movements. The Bayern supporter societies, back en-masse, are taking an principled stand on their club's commercial relationship with Qatar. We'll have more on this in an article to appear on Bulinews later in the day.

Coordinated Ultra return = Yes

Local RKI Incidence Rate  = 93.3 per 100,000

Borussia Dortmund (at) RasenBallsport Leipzig

Maximum Spectator Allowance = 47,069

Planned capacity = 47,069

Attendance = 43,429 (92.2%)

Concept = 3G

Somehow we got the numbers wrong here in our previous column. For five consecutive weeks, rising incidence rates in Saxon proper led this club to reverse itself and return to a 50 percent capacity cap. Since incidence rates in the region continued to climb, it was falsely assumed that the club would continue to operate under this concept. Now we're, for some reason, back to filling the Red Bull Arena again.

Something Germans don't necessarily like to admit relates to the fact that, even 32 years after reunification, there remains a dearth of more detailed reporting on the local politics of the former East. All of us, including this writer, need to step it up in this regard. Current Corona-ordinances in Saxon proper seem conspicuously absent in the reportage of the country's major papers of record.

In terms of whether all the ultra groups are back, that's not entirely clear either. Note that some Germans don't consider it proper to classify Leipzig fan societies as "ultra groups" given that the club in question is so young. This columnist will allow the designation, while also noting that the atmosphere during the Saturday night game remained fair-to-middling.

Coordinated Ultra return = No

Local RKI Incidence Rate  = 316 per 100,000

Bayer 04 Leverkusen (at) Hertha BSC

Maximum Spectator Allowance = 25,000 

Planned capacity = 25,000

Attendance = 22,187 (88.7%)

Concept = 3G

Hertha still stick with "3G" even though, just like in Baden-Württemberg, the Berliner Senate will allow more in if the club switches to "2G". It's important to keep in mind that company in charge of running the Olympiastadion, actually its own separate A.G., has enough logistical problems on its hands at the moment. FC Union Berlin presently shares the stadium with its Charlottenburg neighbor.

There's been a great deal of coordination work necessary to host die Eisernen for their home UEFA Europa Conference League fixtures. Including the last leg of the qualification playoffs, there's been four of them thus far. Union's attendance cap has been steadily rising. Some 30,000 FCU supporters attended the last UECL match against visiting Feyenoord Rotterdam.

With Union packing in slightly more patrons in, the smaller market capital city side is essentially serving as a pilot project for a higher attendance cap. There have been security problems, even with the massive Olympiastadion operating below half of its capacity. Difficult to gauge where these leaves the club as it prepares to host a Pokal match featuring both sides in January followed by a home Bundesliga fixture between in the spring.

"Die alte Dame" may take things slowly. At least the pre-match renditions of "Nur nach Hause" still manage to give Hertha matches a great feel. The fans in attendance easily sing with the force of an extra 5,000 attendees.

Coordinated Ultra return = No

Local RKI Incidence Rate  = 351.8 per 100,000

FC Union Berlin (at) 1. FC Köln

Maximum Spectator Allowance = 50,000

Planned capacity = 50,000

Attendance = 49,000 (98%)

Concept = 2G

Once again, it almost seems cruel not to give the Geißböcke full sell-out designation here. Another oh-so-close to full capacity crowd constitutes a huge victory for both the club and "2G". The attendance figures in the Domstadt have been phenomenal this season. This inspire of the fact that Köln were the first Bundesliga club to switch to the more restrictive concept.

The throngs of footballing pilgrims reporting for duty in the cathedral city prove that "2G" can work. The demand for tickets in this Bundesliga burgh hasn't diminished one iota. Sigh. If only matters were so simple on a macro-level. Regrettably, large countries beget intractable division. So it looks to continue.

Coordinated Ultra return = Yes

Local RKI Incidence Rate  = 212.5 per 100,000

Eintracht Frankfurt (at) SpVgg Greuther Fürth

Maximum Spectator Allowance = 16,626

Planned capacity = 16,626

Attendance = 10,244 (61.6%)

Concept = 3G

It may not have been a packed house at the Ronhof, but man did those in attendance ever make it count. A wonderful display from the local ultras. They came agonizingly close to cheering their team onto a more desirable result. There may not be many pleasant memories of this team after what shapes up to be a historically bad campaign.

Those of us who spent the 2021/22 season on the top-flight beat will nevertheless carry with us fond pictures of the small-town boosters supporting their team throughout. All the green backers in attendance simply did a marvelous job on Sunday.

Coordinated Ultra return = Yes

Local RKI Incidence Rate  = 309.2 per 100,000

At this time, there are many conflicting reports about attendance plans for hosting Bundesliga clubs after the international break. As noted in the introduction, there could even be political developments shaping what happens some ten days from now; We'll thus hold off on reporting on ticket allotments until next week. For now, we'll supply the incidence rates in the hosting cities.

Friday, November 19th

FC Bayern München (at) FC Augsburg

Local RKI Incidence Rate = 393.5 per 100,000

Saturday, November 20th

VfB Stuttgart (at) Borussia Dortmund

Local RKI Incidence Rate = 158.8 per 100,000

VfL Bochum (at) Bayer 04 Leverkusen

Local RKI Incidence Rate = 250.1 per 100,000

SpVgg Greuther Fürth (at) Borussia Mönchengladbach

Local RKI Incidence Rate = 146 per 100,000

RB Leipzig (at) TSG 1899 Hoffenheim

Local RKI Incidence Rate = 245.2 per 100,000

VfL Wolfsburg (at) DSC Arminia Bielefeld

Local RKI Incidence Rate = 175.5 per 100,000

Hertha BSC (at) 1. FC Union Berlin

Local RKI Incidence Rate = 263.4 per 100,000

Sunday, November 21st

Eintracht Frankfurt (at) SC Freiburg

Local RKI Incidence Rate = 239.9 per 100,000

FC Köln (at) FSV Mainz 05

Local RKI Incidence Rate = 136.8 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.

Euro 2024

Match days

Long reads

Exclusive interviews

Team News

Europa League - Atalanta - Leverkusen