By Peter Weis@PeterVicey

Confirmed: Ghost games in Stuttgart and Sinsheim

With detailed statements on their respective websites, both TSG 1899 Hoffenheim and VfB Stuttgart confirmed that they would not allow spectators in this weekend. 

In announcing their coordination with new state-level directives club bosses Frank Biel and Thomas Hitzlsperger both cited "studies" in favor of their case of fan return.
In an addendum to our weekly feature on the state of Bundesliga fan return, we can confirm that Baden-Württemberg's two hosting top tier clubs will shut their doors to spectators this weekend. TSG 1899 Hoffenheim, scheduled to host Eintracht Frankfurt tomorrow, will allow this evening's women's game at the original village stadium to proceed as planned, but will lock the turnstiles at the PreZero Arena effective immediately.

"It should be emphasized that many experts see little to no risk of being infected in an outdoor environment with our hygiene guidelines," TSG managing director Frank Biel wrote on the club's official website, "The studies on the Bundesliga that have been thus far conducted in this regard confirm as much."

In announcing that no supporters would be allowed in for Sunday's home match against Hertha, VfB Stuttgart promised it's fans that it was actively working on plans to once again welcome guests "after the turn of the calendar year". Manager Thomas Hitzlsperger also referenced studies.

"We will fight to get fans back into the stadiums with our proven '2G' infection control concepts," the former national team midfielder wrote before adding "The country's vaccination rate will be the decisive factor in the coming months. That's the unequivocal message from all the experts and we concur. That's why it's more important than ever to get vaccinated."

When addressing this topic, it's very important to note that the evidence on whether large-scale crowds in football stadiums actually increase local COVID infection rates isn't a settled topic at all.

An article appearing earlier in this week in Germany's main sporting tabloid Sport Bild earlier this week claimed that a "study" disproved that football matches were large-scale spreader events, but cited no sources.

Multiple studies conducted during this summer's European Championships did suggest that the venues allowing in more fans experienced higher local infection rates.

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