By Peter Weis@PeterVicey

Bundesliga Fan Scene: The nationwide "plans for fans" on Matchday 15

As the football-mad Bundesrepublik settles in for another weekend of Bundesliga football, it's time to take a look at how live attendance will work in Germany's top division.

Four matches will take place before empty stands this weekend while five shall feature limited numbers of live spectators.

We've got the full breakdown available for you here on Bulinews. We're also pleased to once again supply the local public health date from all nine hosting cities.

This data remains available to everyone via the country's Robert Koch Institute.

Updated nationwide maps and assembled statistics can also be located via national papers of record such as "Der Spiegel", "die Zeit", and the "Süddeutsche Zeitung".
The second part of our weekly attendance feature takes a look at how things are shaping up ahead of the next Bundesliga round. We've already reported on the attendance figures in a column appearing earlier this week on Bulinews. The look ahead begins with the bad news that there will be four spectator-less matches in the Bundesliga this weekend.

Two Bavarian teams (FC Bayern München and SpVgg Greuther Fürth) must play behind closed doors. This also applies to the hosting Saxon club (RB Leipzig) and Baden-Württemberg's Black Forest Representatives (SC Freiburg). The remaining five clubs operate under attendance restrictions that allow a maximum of half-capacity, capped at 15,000 live fans.

Only FC Köln and VfL Wolfsburg offer the maximum allotment of 15,000 tickets. VfL Bochum's venue isn't large enough to reach that mark. Hertha BSC and Eintracht Frankfurt come in below the federal maximum thanks to state-level restrictions. Only vaccinated and recovered fans can attend matches this weekend under the two concepts governing access to public life in Germany.

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

Only citizens demonstrating proof of vaccination or recovery may attend an event or enter a space.

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

Only citizens demonstrating proof of vaccination or recovery may attend an event or enter a space. For areas deemed especially high-risk, the vaccinated or recovered must also present a negative COVID PCR test from the last 48 hours.

It's actually the case that no Bundesliga club will utilize "2G+" this weekend. The states that require the additional measure either aren't hosting fixtures this weekend or have opted for ghost-games entirely. An early projection of the number of sell-outs we'll witness this weekend augurs three. Köln, Bochum, and Hertha should sell their full allotments.

FC Augsburg (at) 1. FC Köln

Planned capacity = 15,000 (30%)

Concept = 2G

All of the splendor associated with the Rhineland Derby from round 13 belongs to the past. It's worth noting that German football's last capacity crowd for quite some time did a fantastic job. The Friday night crowd may not even reach the 15,000 maximum as (as of this writing) there are still plenty of seats available. Current NRW regulations still permit the club to operate under "2G", meaning that patrons will not have to pay for a negative PCR test.

Local public health metrics aren't looking too bad either in Köln or most of the surrounding areas. The strong vaccination rate in North Rhine Westphalia generally keeps the hospitals clear of COVID cases and allows some fly-ins for intensive care beds and respirators. Die Geißböcke remain a club firmly committed to local vaccination efforts. The Effzeh have also gotten all players and staff inoculated.

Local RKI Incidence Rate = 392.3  per 100,000 (+97.2)

Intensive Care Occupancy @ 95.1%  (+0.7%)

56 COVID Hospitalizations (16.0%) (+1.8%)

NRW Vaccination Rate = 76.2% (+0.8%) (from seven days ago)

FSV Mainz 05 (at) FC Bayern München

Planned capacity =  Geisterspiel

Concept = N/A

No fans in the Allianz after Bavarian Premier Markus Söder ordered all sports venues shuttered as part of a statewide hard lockdown. As one can see below, this stringent policy measure has had the effect of drastically reducing the local incidence rate and stabilizing the hospitalization stats. With no shortage of dismay, one notes that the vaccination rate--the only way out of the restrictions--still isn't rising terribly fast.

Local RKI Incidence Rate = 354.3 per 100,000 (-143.3)

Intensive Care Occupancy @ 94.6%  (+1.1%)

145 COVID Hospitalizations (27.6%) (+1.6%)

Bavaria Vaccination Rate = 69.9% (+0.7%) (from seven days ago) 

Borussia Mönchengladbach (at) RB Leipzig

Planned capacity =  Geisterspiel

Concept = N/A

Saxon Proper--the very first German state to order turnstiles at the stadiums to be locked--can fortunately report drastic reductions in the local incidence rate. Hospitals are clearing as well. Fewer patients need to be flown to different parts of the country in search of beds and ventilators. Some areas of the state (notably Meißen and the Erzgebirge Kreis) nevertheless remain in terrible shape. Vaccination rates are a long way from the safe levels needed to exit the crisis.

Local RKI Incidence Rate = 618.9 per 100,000 (-277.2)

Intensive Care Occupancy @ 88.8% (+1.5%)

73 COVID Hospitalizations (23.7%) (+5.0%)

Saxon Proper Vaccination Rate = 61.4% (+1.2%) (from 14 days ago)

TSG 1899 Hoffenheim (at) SC Freiburg

Planned capacity =  Geisterspiel

Concept = N/A

Freiburg shall be the third German city to host a ghost game this weekend. The Baden-Württemberg lockdown--just like the Bavarian and Saxon Proper one--was triggered by a state government that simply can't chance it with a vaccination rate under 70 percent. Breisgauer supporters sadly have to miss out on a chance to watch their once again surging team, catapulted back into the title race after last week's big win away at Gladbach. About the only good news one can report here concerns the fact that this state might be the first to exit lockdown early next year.

Local RKI Incidence Rate = 404.2 per 100,000 (+94.5)

Intensive Care Occupancy @ 91.6%  (+2.4%)

43 COVID Hospitalizations (23.5%) (+10.9%)

BaWü Vaccination Rate = 69.7% (+0.7%) (from seven days ago)

Arminia Bielefeld (at) Hertha BSC

Planned capacity = 5,000 (6.7%)

Concept = 2G

At least "die alte Dame" will get a sell-out here. The country's capital boasts way more that 5,000 fans willing to attend a football match under "2G" restrictions this weekend. Any Berlin club could sell out a 5,000 seat allotment. Even Tasmania or Tennis Borussia could hit that number easily if they were playing an Olympiastadion fixture.

Despite the fact that bars, clubs, and discos remain open in Berlin, the city-state isn't doing all that badly insofar as its public health metrics are concerned. Plenty of residents apparently exercise self-restraint and the high vaccination rate accords solid protection. Regulations are definitely as strict as they will get.

Local RKI Incidence Rate = 352.8 per 100,000 (+1.8)

Intensive Care Occupancy @ 92.1%  (-0.2%)

254 COVID Hospitalizations (23.7%) (+2.6%)

Berlin City Vaccination Rate = 73.0%  (+0.7%) (from seven days ago)

Borussia Dortmund (at) VfL Bochum

Planned capacity = 13,800 (50%)

Concept = 2G

Tickets are no longer available online for what should prove a fantastic fixture. This matchup serves as the current Bundesliga field's big "Revierderby". With Schalke no longer in the Oberhaus, we still have this exciting meeting between the "Ruhrpott Rivals". While it's not technically confirmed that the 1848ers have sold all of their tickets, one can assume so. Expect a sell-out. Expect an upset while you're at it. Bochum can potentially knock off the favorites here.

The local public health metrics lie almost precisely where they need to be in order for citizens to finally be free from this long and difficult pandemic. The numbers below essentially constitute "endemic level data". One simply crosses ones fingers that this becomes the norm by next Christmas. Norms such as these lie within reach.

Local RKI Incidence Rate = 204.4 per 100,000 (+49.1)

Intensive Care Occupancy @ 86.2%  (-3.0%)

17 COVID Hospitalizations (6.6%) (-3.7%)

NRW Vaccination Rate = 76.2% (+0.8%) (from seven days ago)

VfB Stuttgart (at) VfL Wolfsburg

Planned capacity = 15,000 (50%)

Concept = 2G

To the surprise of no one, plenty of seats are still available in the northern "Autostadt". The club maintains the less restrictive "2G" regulation in accordance with state law. Patrons attending outdoor events don't need to obtain a negative PCR test. That should drive up attendance a bit for what is, somewhat anticlimactically, the Saturday evening "Top-Spiel".

When it comes to the local public health data, there have been some discrepancies in the numbers reported in Germany's major papers of record. The week-on-week analysis lead this columnist to discover what appeared to be arithmetical errors on the part of some German journalists. It might also be the case that information on local intensive care units has simply been updated.

Whichever data sets one chooses to believe, the metrics lie far below danger levels. The "company town", no doubt thanks in large part to the fact that it doesn't receive many visitors from other areas of the country, serves as a "COVID Oasis" of sorts. As has been the case throughout the pandemic, Wolfsburg works as a fantastic locale to ride everything out.

Local RKI Incidence Rate = 246.3 per 100,000 (-1.6)

Intensive Care Occupancy @ 51.6%  (-45.0%)

4 COVID Hospitalizations (12.9%) (-15.7%)

Lower Saxony Vaccination Rate = 74.3% (+1.3%) (from 14 days ago)

FC Union Berlin (at) SpVgg Greuther Fürth

Planned capacity = Geisterspiel

Concept = N/A

The other Bavarian team hosting a fixture this weekend will have to do so behind closed doors. Fürth, along with its much larger neighbor Nürnberg, provide two more encouraging case studies in how the new restrictions can drastically cut the incidence rate and get hospitalization numbers stable. Bavaria has certainly won a crucial first battle. Only with higher vaccination rates, however, can there be hope of winning the war.

Local RKI Incidence Rate = 409.4 per 100,000 (-213.0)

Intensive Care Occupancy @ 83.0%  (+3.0%)

10 COVID Hospitalizations (27.8%) (stable)

Bavaria Vaccination Rate = 69.9% (+0.7%) (from seven days ago) 

Bayer 04 Leverkusen (at) Eintracht Frankfurt

Planned capacity = 12,875 (25%)

Concept = 2G

Attendance at outdoor sporting events in Hessen is governed by a special formula that restricts stadiums to 25 percent capacity if the venue hosts more that 3,000 patrons. This is why the SGE can't plan for 15,000 under the federal rules allowing such. Tickets remain on sale for club members wishing to attend the round's capper on Sunday evening.

We might see a sell-out here as "2G+" will not be enforced and the local public health metrics lie at safe enough levels to keep potential guests comfortable. Just as they did during the last Bundesliga fixture that they hosted, Eintracht will host a vaccination drive outside the stadium. Fans can get their shot, get their "2G" card, and enter the stadium on the same day.

Local RKI Incidence Rate = 324.8 per 100,000 (-33.1)

Intensive Care Occupancy @ 92.5%  (+2.2%)

50 COVID Hospitalizations (18.5%) (-1.8%)

Hessen Vaccination Rate = 72.1% (+1.4%) (from seven days ago)

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.

Match days

Long reads

Exclusive interviews

Team News