By Peter Weis@PeterVicey

Bundesliga Fan Scene: All nine top-flight fixtures sell out in round 21

Our weekly attendance feature returns with some excellent news regarding the German football fan scene.

As soon as the turnstiles once again opened for Bundesliga supporters, every available seat was filled.

We're pleased to report on the atmosphere inside all top flight venues on what was a cold, yet sunny weekend across the Bundesrepublik.
After a break of some 48 days, we finally once again have the privilege of discussing Bundesliga attendance figures. The Bundesrepublik's third "Geisterspiele Era" of the ongoing global pandemic came to an end this past weekend. Not only did all hosting top-tier footballing venues welcome back significant number of fans, every last fixture sold out.

At this point in the pandemic, it's perfectly reasonable if some can no longer tolerate good news. The inherently aggravating manner in which many aspects of life opened up, only to shut back down again weeks has left a skeptical despair in its wake. Furthermore, what we can now likely label the failure to bring vaccination rates up leaves some distrustful that there shall ever be an exit from this must-year public health challenge.

Irrespective of how each individual views a future that absolutely cannot be predicted, we're pleased to at very least provide a small comfort emerging from the present and the immediate pass. Our "Weekend Attendance Figures" feature returns with news of how the Bundesliga fan scene looked this past weekend in nine cities.

VfL Bochum (at) Hertha BSC

Planned capacity = 3,000 (4.0%)

Attendance = 3,000 (sold out)

It may not have been much of a football match, but German football lovers were certainly grateful (as they have been throughout the month of January) that a small contingent of supporters were allowed into the Olympiastadion. Undeniably, the old historic home of the capital city's "the old lady" maintains a catacombs-like feel when only a smattering of live individuals are present.

The last two DFB-Pokal Finals occasionally felt like watching a football match unfold inside a tomb. The end of such morbidity remains in sight. In some three months time, we should all get a chance to witness a domestic cup final played in front of some traveling fans with the privilege of watching their team make history. May we all look forward to that.

Local RKI Incidence Rate = 1640.4 per 100,000 (-163.0)

Intensive Care Occupancy @ 90% (+1.4%)

197 COVID Hospitalizations (19.3%) (-0.7%)

Berlin City Vaccination Rate = 77.1% (+0.1%) (from 4 days ago)

Eintracht Frankfurt (at) VfB Stuttgart

Planned capacity = 10,000 (16.5%)

Attendance = 10,000 (sold out)

The Württembergers unexpectedly upped their quota at the minute. Even more unexpectedly, the fixture sold out. It matters not what a poor form spell this team finds itself in. Loyal Swabians, perhaps relieved to release pent-up demand, were willing to come out and support their team. We covered the Stuttgart-Eintracht Frankfurt fixture in this week's "tactics talk column".

For whatever reason, fans weren't really part of the story here. Not a great deal of noise emanating from the stands in the Mercedes Benz Arena. It could ostensibly be the case that locals were curious enough to come out and see their team, yet not quite ready to muster up some optimism. It didn't feel as if many (or any) ultra groups were present.

Local RKI Incidence Rate = 667.6 per 100,000 (+54.9)

Intensive Care Occupancy @ 87.7% (-1.4%)

41 COVID Hospitalizations (19.2%) (-1.4%)

BaWü Vaccination Rate =  73.5% (+0.1%) (from 4 days ago)

TSG 1899 Hoffenheim (at) FSV Mainz 05

Planned capacity = 6,800 (20.0%)

Attendance = 6,800 (sold out)

A few ultra groups certainly made their voices heard during Saturday's encounter at the Mewe Arena. The Mainzer fan scene sticks to what one might call the "Classic German Football Fan Model". Typically, the fankurve serenades the players with a special song from about the 80th minute onwards. In exchange, the players then visit the Kurve after the match to lead a couple of cheers with a bullhorn and take a bow.

We got the stirring scenes we wanted in the Pfalz on Saturday. The squad actually commemorated the fourth consecutive home match without conceding a goal. It was only after the fans began their "Du bist so schön" serenade in the 78th that Mainz scored two goals to take the fixture 2-0. Hence, the team's visit to the block afterward contained plenty to celebrate. Football lovers couldn't have hoped for much more.

Local RKI Incidence Rate = 1262.9 per 100,000 (-34.1)

Intensive Care Occupancy @ 91.6% (-1.8%)

8 COVID Hospitalizations (8.2%) (-4.0%)

Rheinland-Pfalz Vaccination Rate = 76.9% (unchanged) (from 4 days ago)

FC Union Berlin (at) FC Augsburg

Planned capacity = 7,600 (27.4%)

Attendance = 7,600 (sold out)

Had to adjust the planned capacity here. When the "plans for fans" column was initially released last Friday, the columnist assumed that Augsburg would go for the full 10,000 allowed under Bavaria's revised ordinance. Perhaps the club found itself not logistically ready yet. In any event, it made no difference whatsoever. The Augsburg faithful delivered by far the best fan experience of the weekend.

Great songs, cheers, and beats. Here the supporters really made a difference. It's unlikely that the club would have claimed a critical victory without them.  Amid all the unavoidable news about hooliganism, training pitch invasions, and racial abuse, one can easily lose sight of how much beauty local supporters contribute to the beautiful game. Many thanks to the Fuggerstädter devotees for supplying us all with a reminder of that this weekend.

Local RKI Incidence Rate = 1275.4 per 100,000 (+239.7)

Intensive Care Occupancy @ 82.0% (-8.1%)

8 COVID Hospitalizations (7.0%) (-2.4%)

Bavaria Vaccination Rate = 73.5% (unchanged) (from 4 days ago)

Borussia Mönchengladbach (at) Arminia Bielefeld

Planned capacity = 10,000 (36.6%)

Attendance = 10,000 (sold out)

Great atmosphere over at the Alm this weekend as well. The Teutoburgs will truly need their local adherents to help them out in the relegation race this season. As this column often likes to point out, the Bielefeld citizenry essentially refinanced the renovations at this stadium themselves through bonds that the club later defaulted on.

The Alm truly has no business being called the Schüco Arena. This venue belongs to the DSC supporters. Great to see them back. All the best to them in their quest to keep their team in the top flight.

Local RKI Incidence Rate = 1053.0 per 100,000 (+274.6)

Intensive Care Occupancy @ 89.0 (+1.5%)

12 COVID Hospitalizations (9.9%) (-2.7%)

NRW Vaccination Rate = 79.9% (+0.1%) (from 4 days ago)

SC Freiburg (at) 1. FC Köln

Planned capacity = 10,000 (20%)

Attendance = 10,000 (sold out)

Of course it was sold out! These fans are among the most treasured in the whole of the Bundesrepublik! No one keeps the cathedral city crowd out. The writer unfortunately has to offer some slight editorialization here and say that the Geißböcke fans should have been the story of the weekend. Sure, the marketing department's decision to film Steffen Baumgart watching the game at home in COVID quarantine was cute.

Nothing wrong with a frivolously fun idea, but those perhaps drawn to Köln by Baumgart's "cult personality" should know that the real treasure of this club remains the South Stand. Perfectly okay of you like Baumgart's flat-cap or the charms of the especially girthy goat Hennes. Experiencing such things live at the RheinEnergieStadion should still be a priority for those with newfound Kölner sympathies.

Local RKI Incidence Rate = 1810.2 per 100,000 (+207.5)

Intensive Care Occupancy @ 89.5% (-4.6%)

39 COVID Hospitalizations (10.6%) (+1.1%)

NRW Vaccination Rate = 79.8% (+0.1%) (from 4 days ago)

RB Leipzig (at) FC Bayern München

Planned capacity = 10,000 (13.3%)

Attendance = 10,000 (sold out)

Somewhat of a subdued atmosphere at the Allianz as Bayern did just what the hometown fans expected them to do: win. There will be more supporters allowed in (15,000) for the next FCB home fixture. Indeed, that new cap (approved today) applies to all of Bavaria. It still won't quite be a real Bayern experience until the club unleashes Thomas Müller on the Kurve with a "wieder Daoheim" flag. That's when we'll know that we've arrived.

Incidentally, there was also a large traveling contingent of Leipzig fans allowed in during Saturday night's "Top-Spiel". One can hear them whistling down their former captain Marcel Sabitzer when Julian Nagelsmann subbed him on in the 84th. The RB faithful will also get a chance to welcome 15,000 this coming weekend after the federal state of Saxony upped its cap.

For some German football lovers, the fan-scene of the "Marketingklub" gradually gets a bit more endearing. One can still oppose what the club stands for whilst simultaneously admiring the passion and quality atmosphere put forth by the emergent supporter societies.

Local RKI Incidence Rate = 2206.2 per 100,000 (+86.8)

Intensive Care Occupancy @ 92.5% (+0.6%)

74 COVID Hospitalizations (14.6%) (+0.9%)

Bavaria Vaccination Rate = 73.5% (unchanged) (from 4 days ago)

Bayer 04 Leverkusen (at) Borussia Dortmund

Planned capacity = 10,000 (12.3%)

Attendance = 10,000 (sold out)

Oh dear. Schwarzgelben enthusiasts definitely deserved more than what they got on Saturday. Some of the more expressive football furnished by the younger BVB players near the end ensured that the hail of whistles and boos weren't nearly as bad as they could have been. Here's wishing for much better days at the stadium for the beloved "Revier-Block".

Local RKI Incidence Rate = 2050.0 per 100,000 (-220.4)

Intensive Care Occupancy @ 90% (-1.3%)

22 COVID Hospitalizations (9.1%) (+0.7%)

NRW Vaccination Rate = 79.8% (+0.1%) (from 4 days ago)

SpVgg Greuther Fürth (at) VfL Wolfsburg

Planned capacity = 500

Attendance = 500  (sold out)

We didn't know precisely what the planned capacity at the Volkswagen Arena would be when releasing the last edition of this column. It remains unclear whether the severe restriction of patrons on Sunday constituted club policy or a play-it-safe attitude on behalf of the government in sparsely populated Lower Saxony.

While this column ordinarily wouldn't count a paltry number such as this one as a sell-out, there really isn't any harm in according the VfL fans something. As all German football lovers know, this club rarely sells out in the best of times. Now happens to be one of the very worst. We'll give it to them.

Local RKI Incidence Rate = 1384.9 per 100,000 (+265.0)

Intensive Care Occupancy @ 58.1% (-3.2%)

1 COVID Hospitalization (5.3%) (unchanged)

Lower Saxony Vaccination Rate = 77.7% (+2.8%) (from 45 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.

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