By Peter Weis@PeterVicey

Bundesliga Fan Scene: The Matchday 22, 23, 24, and 25 attendance figures

Our Bulinews column on the state of fan-return in German football returns!

In reporting on the attendance figures for the last four Bundesliga rounds, we're very pleased to inform all of those involved in supporting German football that--though the chronicle of their efforts have been absent from our site for a little while--they have absolutely not been forgotten.

After handling a backlog of some 35 fixtures played over the past month, we shall once again resume detailing the "plans for fans" ahead of each matchday and noting the weekend attendance figures at the beginning of each week.

Every supporter who shows in front of the global broadcast cameras counts, especially in these trying times for the European continent.

Mit aufrichtigem Dank an alle! :)
Certain recent circumstances precluded us from publishing our regular feature on the German footballing fan scene here on Bulinews. It is such that, having last left off with the top-tier "plans for fans" ahead of the current campaign's 22nd round, we've a bit of catching up to do. This piece does just that. We're pleased to report on the attendance figures for the last four Bundesliga matchdays as our column chronicling the state of fan return in the Bundesrepublik.

The general purpose of this particular column has always revolved around a sincere desire to report upon what most German football watchers consider to be the Bundesliga's most precious asset. In the service of paying adequate tribute to football's best fan scene, the column seeks to be as thorough as possible. All those who turned out in person over the last month deserve to be recognized in some way. Accordingly, we shall publish figures for all 35 backlogged fixtures since the last column.

The writer personally wishes to assure all those associated with German football fandom that, despite the fact that some situational occurrences led to this column taking a month-long hiatus, those who support football in the Bundesrepublik have not been forgotten. On the contrary. Every last individual is both valued and treasured. With the eyes of the world now focused on the conflict in Ukraine, one counts on the politically-oriented ultras of all clubs to turn up in force in all of the country's footballing temples and make certain that their voices are heard before the global broadcast cameras.

Our "Bundesliga Fans" feature resumes with some formatting changes. Unlike in columns past, we will no longer list the public health figures associated with the ongoing pandemic. Evidence strongly suggests that COVID no longer poses a serious risk to local intensive care occupancy rates. With this issue no longer a major societal challenge, the time has come to move on. As we leave it behind, it's worth noting that keeping hospitals clear remained the primary issue driving restrictions over the last 24 months.

Those still bitter about the inconveniences they were forced to deal with should know that these measures did save countless lives. By tolerating and working one's way through burdensome and arduous constraints, all citizens who made sacrifices for the more vulnerable were heroes in their own small way. Though none of us were immune to griping and complaints throughout this two-year-long upheaval, there were those who did nothing more than selfishly moan about themselves. Anyone who put the needs of others above their own for a time during this deserve to accord themselves credit.

Matchday 22

Eight of nine fixtures sell out

Eight of the nine Bundesliga fixtures held on the second weekend of February filled to maximum capacity. To the surprise of many of us, even Hoffenheim hosted a capacity crowd at the PreZero Arena in Sinsheim. Only last-placed Greuther Fürth missed out on a sell-out; and not by particularly much either.

At that time, Germany's governing regime had only just announced that a return to comparative normalcy was on the way in late March  Clubs began offering supporters traveling packages up to three weeks in advance. At long last, those of us who hold the Bundesliga dear began to see light at the end of the tunnel.

Stadium atmospheres featured a certain long-missing buoyancy to them. Fans in Gladbach and Leverkusen cheered their teams on to victories in engaging, high scoring affairs. Naturally, the weekend truly belonged to a third North Rhine Westphalian club. The VfL Bochum boosters played a role in propelling their hometown side to an upset victory over FC Bayern München.

FC Köln (at) RB Leipzig

Planned capacity = 15,000 (31.8%)

Attendance = 15,000 (sold out)

VfL Wolfsburg (at) Eintracht Frankfurt

Planned capacity = 10,000 (19.4%)

Attendance = 10,000 (sold out)

FC Augsburg (at) Borussia Mönchengladbach

Planned capacity = 10,000 (18.4%)

Attendance = 10,000  (sold out)

FSV Mainz 05 (at) SC Freiburg

Planned capacity = 10,000 (28.8%)

Attendance = 10,000 (sold-out)

FC Bayern München (at) VfL Bochum 

Planned capacity = 8,500 (30.8%)

Attendance = 8,500 (sold-out)

Hertha BSC (at) SpVgg Greuther Fürth 

Planned capacity = 9,000 (54.1%)

Attendance = 7,919 (87.9%)

VfB Stuttgart (at) Bayer 04 Leverkusen 

Planned capacity = 10,000 (33.1%)

Attendance = 10,000 (sold-out)

Borussia Dortmund (at) 1. FC Union Berlin 

Planned capacity = 9,500  (43.1%)

Attendance = 9,500  (sold-out)

Arminia Bielefeld (at) TSG 1899 Hoffenheim 

Planned capacity = 10,000 (33.6%)

Attendance = 10,000  (sold-out)

Matchday 23

Six of nine Bundesliga fixtures sell out

The 23rd round of the 2021/22 Bundesliga campaign began with an uplifting "Fassnacht Goal Festival" in the carnival city of Mainz. An absolutely fabulous "Super Sunday" with three fixtures involving German teams participating in the European club campaigns (Bayern, Dortmund, and Leipzig) produced a combined total of 18 goals.

Attendance caps were rising in certain parts of the country, though many federal states still maintained their 10,000 live spectator cap. Three of the nine matches taking pla did not reach full attendance. In the case of Wolfsburg (one of the league's worst attended teams) and Stuttgart (slumping badly at the time) this was to be expected. Augsburg came in just shy of full attendance.

In something of a bittersweet development, the most exciting match of the weekend proved a more subdued affair. The 10,000 live fans at Dortmund's Signal Iduna Park (with no noticeable ultra groups present) calmly watched their team run up the score late against visiting Gladbach. Such an occurrence reminded German football lovers how long we've yet to go.

Bayer 04 Leverkusen (at) FSV Mainz 05 

Planned capacity = 10,000 (29.4%)

Attendance = 10,000 (sold-out)

TSG 1899 Hoffenheim (at) VfL Wolfsburg 

Planned capacity = 10,000 (33.3%)

Attendance = 7,145 (71.5%)

VfL Bochum (at) VfB Stuttgart 

Planned capacity = 25,000 (41.4%) 

Attendance = 20,059 (80.2%)

SC Freiburg (at) FC Augsburg 

Planned capacity = 15,000 (48.9%)

Attendance = 14,050 (93.6%)

FC Union Berlin (at) Arminia Bielefeld  

Planned capacity = 10,000 (36.6%)

Attendance = 10,000 (sold out)

Eintracht Frankfurt (at) 1. FC Köln  

Planned capacity = 10,000 (20.0%)

Attendance = 10,000 (sold out)

SpVgg Greuther Fürth (at) FC Bayern München

Planned capacity = 25,000 (33.3%)

Attendance = 25,000 (sold out)

Borussia Mönchengladbach (at) Borussia Dortmund

Planned capacity = 10,000 (12.3%)

Attendance = 10,000 (sold out)

RB Leipzig (at) Hertha BSC

Planned capacity = 10,000 (13.0%)

Attendance = 10,000 (sold out)

Matchday 24

Six of nine fixtures sell out

The current campaign's 24th matchday saw attendance caps raised up to upwards of 25,000 in some stadiums. In Sinsheim and Freiburg, this proved a tad too early for the crowds to catch up. In Bavaria, Fürth and Augsburg upped their capacity numbers slightly in their smaller venues. The latter club sold out whilst the former didn't quite fill each seat.

Despite the fact that it wasn't necessarily the round's greatest match, some of the returning SGE ultra groups ensured that Frankfurt-Bayern featured the best atmosphere of all the weekend fixtures. An audience of 25,000 strong ensured that the late Saturday kickoff at Deutsche Bank Park approached something resembling a normal Bundesliga fixture.

VfB Stuttgart (at) TSG 1899 Hoffenheim

Planned capacity = 25,000 (82.9%)

Attendance = 18,099 (72.4%)

FSV Mainz 05 (at) FC Union Berlin

Planned capacity = 10,000 (45.4%)

Attendance = 10,000 (sold-out)

Arminia Bielefeld (at) Bayer 04 Leverkusen

Planned capacity = 10,000 (33.1%)

Attendance = 10,000 (sold out)

VfL Wolfsburg (at) Borussia Mönchengladbach

Planned capacity = 10,000 (18.5%)

Attendance = 10,000 (sold out)

Hertha BSC (at) SC Freiburg

Planned capacity = 25,000 (73.5%)

Attendance = 21,000 (84.0%)

FC Köln (at) SpVgg Greuther Fürth

Planned capacity = 10,000 (60.1%)

Attendance = 9,200 (92.0%) 

FC Bayern München (at) Eintracht Frankfurt

Planned capacity = 25,000 (49.0%)

Attendance = 25,000 (sold-out)

RB Leipzig (at) VfL Bochum

Planned capacity = 10,000 (36.2%)

Attendance = 10,000 (sold-out)

Borussia Dortmund (at) FC Augsburg

Planned capacity = 15,330 (50.0%)

Attendance = 15,330 (sold-out)

Matchday 25

Four of eight fixtures sell out

While public life in the Bundesrepublik may be steadily emerging from the COVID restrictions of the past two years, we received a grim reminder that the problems associated with this multi-year public health challenge would continue to plague football for the foreseeable future. Mainz-Dortmund had to be postponed due to an infection cluster in Bo Svensson's squad.

The coming matchday will also feature only eight fixtures after Mainz obtained another postponement against Augsburg. So long as the DFL retains testing and quarantine protocols for players, we shall very likely see further postponements before the season is out. Football shall continue to grapple with COVID until league officials deem it no longer relevant to test players.

When that day will come is anyone's guess. Even if football attains a 100 percent vaccination rate, there remains a risk to allowing infected players onto the pitch. As a business, football can't accept responsibility for potentially spreading a virus carrying potentially long-term implications for the health of its employees; no matter how small. It might be years before we see players forgoing bi-weekly tests.

Matchday 25 thus proceeded without a full docket of matches. Bielefeld and Bochum didn't fully fill their stands. Leipzig came within a few dozen tickets of reaching their full allotment. Wolfsburg drew a relatively large crowd when one considers their normal attendance patters, but still attracted far fewer live spectators than were allowed.

FC Augsburg (at) Arminia Bielefeld

Planned capacity = 25,000 (91.5%)

Attendance = 19,460 (77.8%)

Bayer 04 Leverkusen (at) FC Bayern München

Planned capacity = 25,000 (33.3%)

Attendance = 25,000 (sold-out)

SC Freiburg (at) RB Leipzig

Planned capacity = 25,000 (53.1%)

Attendance = 24,758 (99.03%)

FC Union Berlin (at) VfL Wolfsburg

Planned capacity = 20,000 (66.6%)

Attendance = 15,703 (78.5%)

Eintracht Frankfurt (at) Hertha BSC

Planned capacity = 25,000 (33.5%)

Attendance = 25,000 (sold-out)

SpVgg Greuther Fürth (at) VfL Bochum

Planned capacity = 25,000 (90.6%)

Attendance = 19,800 (79.2%)

Borussia Mönchengladbach (at) VfB Stuttgart

Planned capacity = 25,000 (41.4%) 

Attendance = 25,000 (sold-out)

TSG 1899 Hoffenheim (at) FC Köln

Planned capacity = 37,500 (75.0%)

Attendance = 37,500 (sold-out)

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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