By Peter Weis@PeterVicey

Bundesliga Fan Scene: Five of eight fixtures sell out in week 26

Our weekly check-up on German football attendance figures returns to its regularly scheduled publication slot!

With less than a week to go before the full-sized crowds return to the football temples of the Bundesrepublik, we're pleased to take you inside the scene with new visual features.

Do join us for a trip around the country and a look at football's most vibrant and active supporters.
As our "Bundesliga Fan Scene" column continues to adjust to the "endemic" phase of the global pandemic, we're pleased to take you inside the stadium and outside the grounds in our coverage of global football's very best supporter culture. As we report on the eight Bundesliga fixtures played this past weekend, we'll offer you the finest fan-related highlights from each one.

The latest evolution of our column remains dedicated to all those locals who offer up their time and energy in support of their club and community. Note that full stadiums are returning in some parts of the Bundesrepublik next week. Anyone looking for a post-COVID adventure outing should strongly consider visiting our hallowed footballing cathedrals.

All are welcome!

VfB Stuttgart (at) 1. FC Union Berlin

Planned capacity = 16,509 (75.0%)

Attendance = 16,509 (sold out)

As always, a fantastic atmosphere at the Stadion An der Alten Försterei on Saturday. Those interested in this club may have noticed by now that, without exception, the Union ultras always craft a banner to be placed directly in front of the broadcast cameras each week. This week the FCU faithful were kind enough to remind use that "Auf 20. März gibts nochmal Fußball für alle". (On March 20th, there's once again football for all).

Thanks for the reminder, Eisernen!

Thanks for this as well!

VfL Wolfsburg (at) SC Freiburg

Planned capacity = 25,000 (73.5%)

Attendance = 25,000 (sold out)

A fully sold-out crowd at the Europa Park Stadion. A great game for both SC enthusiasts and neutrals as well.  In the "plans for fans" section, we talked a bit about the fundraising efforts for the Ukraine conflict planned by the club and its ultras outside the stadium. When one considers the limited capacity, a total of some €56,000 (to be matched by the club) is pretty impressive.

In general, all thinking about attending a Bundesliga match are advised to arrive at the stadium early. Local ultra groups and fan societies are always coordinating some sort of service project just outside the venue. The true "Bundesliga experience" also involves meeting local civically engaged fans prior to kickoff. It's certainly a part of the culture that ticket-holders will not wish to miss out on.

FC Bayern München (at) TSG 1899 Hoffenheim

Planned capacity = 25,600 (84.9%)

Attendance = 25,600 (sold out)

The atmosphere in Sinsheim's PreZero Arena never really lives up to that of the more traditional clubs, but Bayern's visit did enable the Kraichgauer to record a sell-out. There are better recommendations for anyone finding themselves in the Rhein-Neckar-Region and is interested in attending a football match. Insofar as this club is concerned, attending one of the women's matches at the old Dietmar Hopp ground in original village is actually a worthwhile experience.

On Saturday there was a Bayern-Hoffenheim double-header of sorts. A little over 2,000 live spectators turned out to watch the ladies play. It was by far the best attended Frauen-Bundesliga fixture of the weekend. Hoffenheim often draws crowds in the thousands whilst other clubs remain in the hundreds. Now that the COVID Era winds down, Frauen-Bundesliga matches can once again provide some access to the players afterwards. This makes the Women's League a great pick for anyone with a young niece or daughter who might like to meet or take a picture with the players afterwards.

Hertha BSC (at) Borussia Mönchengladbach

Planned capacity = 34,500 (63.8%)

Attendance = 30,675 (88.9%)

We didn't exactly expect this match to sell-out given the current state of the home-town team. A draw of close to 90 percent constituted a pretty decent turnout, particularly in light of where there availability status was on Friday afternoon. Like in Freiburg, the local ultras and fan societies really came through with their Ukrainian relief efforts. Club and fans together raised some €150,000. The food and clothing drives also got some good tonnage on the way to the border.

To reiterate, always come to the stadium early!

FC Köln (at) Bayer 04 Leverkusen

Planned capacity = 22,658 (75.0%)

Attendance = 22,658 (sold out)

In Nordrhein-westfalen's more "friendly derby", the supporters from nearby Köln got more out of Sunday's game than the boosters of Germany's red company team. In any event, there was some quality signing before the dual shock injuries to Florian Wirtz and Jeremie Frimpong ushered in some reverent silence at the BayArena.

Arminia Bielefeld (at) Borussia Dortmund

Planned capacity = 33,000 (40.5%)

Attendance = 33,000 (sold out)

Somewhat surprisingly, several thousand tickets were snatched up on the final day before kickoff and the BVB beat our expectations by selling out. One honestly can't hope for anything resembling the real Dortmund atmosphere when large swathes of the massive 81,365-seat Signal Iduna Park remain empty. At least some suffering locals were given something to cheer about. "Die Punkte bleiben in Pott" = "The points remain in the Ruhr".

VfL Bochum (at) Eintracht Frankfurt

Planned capacity = 25,000 (49.0%)

Attendance = 24,000 (96.0%)

Not a lot of noise at Deutsch Bank Park during this weekend's selected "tactical feature match". To be fair, the pre-kickoff mood was already somewhat somber during the commemorations for recently deceased German football legend Jürgen Grabowski. There were also longer periods of time, especially in the first half, when the football on display wasn't so great.

One really looks forward to seeing this venue full again. The SGE ultras also aren't all back yet. It shall prove a real treat to watch them back in action again. In the meantime, we'll settle for a solid atmosphere under the circumstances.

RB Leipzig (at) SpVgg Greuther Fürth

Planned capacity = 13,800 (83.0%)

Attendance = 9,418 (62.8%)

With the sales figures hovering around 8,000 entering the weekend, almost 1,500 local fans accepted head-coach Stefan Leitl's invitation to come out and watch the "improved" Kleeblatt play. It's safe to assume that all will have wished that they hadn't. Leitl saw fit to cover his own tail after the massacre that was Sunday's visit from Leipzig.

The club's main social media arm hasn't been in the mood to discuss much since Domenico Tedesco's RB began to run away with the match. In non-COVID times, this would be precisely the sort of shellacking that would merit a refund for attendees. Fürth--along with everyone else--being cash-strapped at the moment means that supporters will have to accept apologies from the players instead.

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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