By Peter Weis@PeterVicey

Bundesliga Fan Scene: The nationwide "plans for fans" on matchday 26

All are invited to check out what shall be another highly meaningful weekend for football's greatest fan scene.

One week before full stadium crowds begin to return, the German football supporters will be out in force this weekend. Stirring tributes and collective solidarity actions shall accompany all the regular vibrancy within our footballing cathedrals.

In the return of our feature on the attendance plans ahead of the matchday, we'll take a look at the eight fixtures scheduled to take place.
Having already caught up on our attendance figures earlier in the day, it's now time to resume our tradition of reporting on the "plans for fans" across the country ahead of the coming Bundesliga matchday. In the road back to full stadiums near the end of next weekend, many German footballing venues are now operating at 75 percent capacity and higher. Other larger stadiums, like Dortmund, Frankfurt, and Gladbach are still slowly working their way up for logistical reasons.

Our "Fan Scene" column enters a new phase. Gone are the once useful (yet no longer needed) public health statistics that governed many aspects of public life in Germany during the more dangerous phases of the pandemic. One hopes that reporting on hospital intensive care occupancy rates remains a thing of the past. Such vital stats are surely worth keeping an eye on sparingly in the future, but it nevertheless feels very nice to leave one depressing aspect of modern life behind for now. There are certainly plenty others.

In the place of public health data, we'll begin to report on the status of ticket availability for each individual fixture. The eight separate sections this week let potential attendees know if there are still passes available, whether or not they are on public sale, and how best to access them. We'll continue to provide this information for the duration of the season.

VfB Stuttgart (at) 1. FC Union Berlin

Planned capacity = 16,509 (75.0%)

Increased capacity at the Stadion an der Alten Försterei will push attendance at the Köpenick venue to its highest level in over two years. The club already raffled off all its passes to members and season ticket holders. Some tickets, though certainly not many, are available on the secondary exchanges coordinated through the club's website.

Union will maintain adherence to the "2G+" regulation, meaning that those with the proper vaccination/recovery paperwork will also need a negative PCR test to attend. Thankfully, having been the most proactive club in this regard over the course of the pandemic, the FCU will offer free tests to anyone outside the grounds on Saturday.

VfL Wolfsburg (at) SC Freiburg

Planned capacity = 25,000 (73.5%)

After not selling out their last home fixture against Hertha BSC, the Breisgauer will hope to attract as many as possible to the new Europa Park Stadion for what shall be a crucial match in the club's chase for Europe. Tickets still available (on public sale) via the club's website.

While every last German football club is planning fundraising efforts for refugees from the UKR conflict, Freiburg will also hold a direct charity drive for its sister city of Lviv in Ukraine. The club ultras and fan societies have also coordinated drives for food and clothing as part of their participation in aid transports to the Western border.

FC Bayern München (at) TSG 1899 Hoffenheim

Planned capacity = 25,600 (84.9%)

The Kraichgauer upped their capacity slightly (by 600 seats) in order to accommodate all of those in the Rhein-Neckar region hoping to see this match. As is always the case when the German giants roll into town, the match sold out quickly. The Sinsheimers don't coordinate a secondary ticket exchange for fans looking to re-sell.

Interestingly enough, some may recall that the this exact same fixture saw the Bayern traveling contingent force a match stoppage in Sinsheim with their anti Dietmar-Hopp protests just a little over two years ago. This led to more anti-DFB protests the following weekend; the final Bundesliga matchday before COVID lockdown.

Such actions truly seem like an eternity ago. In a world that has literally radically changed forever two or three times over since then, the only protests we shall witness this weekend involve peaceful solidarity actions.

Hertha BSC (at) Borussia Mönchengladbach

Planned capacity = 34,500 (63.8%)

A special dispensation from state and municipal authorities allowed the BMG to up its fan quota significantly just earlier this week. As a result, quite a few tickets are still available via public sale on the club's website. They might have been plenty available anyway as the locals remain less than enthused about their team.

Those of us who have been lifelong devotees of German football can scarcely remember a time when the local supporters of this particular club seemed so disinterested at best, and perpetually angry at worst. In many respects, the Fohlenelf fan scene hasn't truly recovered from the Marco Rose departure. The Adi Hütter flop, coupled with Max Eberl's surprise resignation, seems to have functioned as a pair of sucker punches for many.

FC Köln (at) Bayer 04 Leverkusen

Planned capacity = 22,658 (75.0%)

Three-quarters capacity for what technically qualifies as a "derby" at the BayArena. German football lovers will naturally be quick to point out that the match isn't a "real derby". Gladbach and Köln are the real Rhein rivals. The rest is media hype. Fans of these two clubs--separated by a scant few kilometers--actually enjoy friendly relations.

Bayer opted to forgo public sale. Tickets were only made available for club members and season ticket holders. The match is sold out, with some passes available on the secondary exchanges. Also already sold out are the special recycled material tricots that die Werkself (just like Stuttgart last weekend) will wear in this one.

The club tied the sale of the jerseys to Ukrainian relief efforts and the the full allotment sold out almost immediately.

Arminia Bielefeld (at) Borussia Dortmund

Planned capacity = 33,000 (40.5%)

Plenty of tickets still available on both the club's website and the secondary exchanges. In point of fact, the BVB would absolutely love it if you'd care to come out see their team. Local interest wanes significantly now that it has been firmly established that die Schwarzgelben are effectively playing a "lame duck" season.

Second place. That's pretty much the size of it. No catching Bayern. No being caught by the likes of Leverkusen or the other Champions' League contenders. European club football and a potential DFB-Pokal defense are also finished. Large portions of the "Revierblock" have entered hibernation. Come one, come all to watch the team Germans plan on skipping over for the next two months.

VfL Bochum (at) Eintracht Frankfurt

Planned capacity = 25,000 (49.0%)

Without any additional dispensations from the German state of Hessen, Eintracht will stick with the 25,000 person cap for the time being. It actually came as something of a surprise to see so many tickets still available for this encounter. These are two of the currently most interesting teams in the German Bundesliga! Where is everyone?

Those considering attending the Sunday fixture should know that the SGE does (like many other clubs) require site registration to purchase tickets. The process is nevertheless free and as harmless as accepting a few online cookies. One extra piece of spam e-mail remains a small price to pay for the experience of watching one of the better German football fan cultures in action.

RB Leipzig (at) SpVgg Greuther Fürth

Planned capacity = 13,800 (83.0%)

Well. It will surprise few to learn that over 5,000 tickets are still available on public sale should anyone wish to watch Fürth live. In actuality, there are plenty of reasons why this match might prove to be something of an unexpected gem. When it comes to the league's last-placed team, there are some legitimate signs of an uptick.

As someone forced to watch every Kleeblatt match in full this season as part of his deep-scout for the "Americans in the Bundesliga" column, this writer can assure some of the doubters that the league's last-placed team actually have been gelling a bit. Stefan Leitl's charges are nowhere near as lousy as they were during the first-half of the season.

That may be exceedingly faint praise, but it still counts for something.

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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