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COVID-19 numbers keep hitting new peaks in Germany, and yet Bundesliga stadiums remain frighteningly full. This is absurd, says DW reporter Sarah Wiertz.
Yes or no? Did record champion Bayern Munich lose against outsiders Augsburg because unvaccinated regular Joshua Kimmich was absent because of renewed quarantine? Can Borussia Dortmund capitalize on Bayern’s vaccination vulnerability? And did Werder Bremen coach Markus Anfang, who has since resigned, actually use a forged a vaccination pass?
The Bundesliga is once again providing plenty of material for discussion. In the process though, one crucial question is in danger of being lost: What are all these crowds doing in the stadiums?
Nine Bundesliga matches took place this weekend. Dortmund has the lowest permitted capacity rate of all, at 82%, but in absolute numbers this means no less than 67,000 spectators. This almost corresponds to the new reported peak in COVID-19 infections infections in Germany.
Union Berlin applied for full capacity if it only admitted vaccinated and recovered spectators for the capital city derby against Hertha Berlin on Saturday evening and got it approved. So for the first time since March 2020, 22,000 spectators followed the game in a tightly packed crowd. There's joy - normality at last. But that's absurd!
The German Football League Association (DFL) stresses how exemplary the Bundesliga is: After all, 94% of the players, coaches and support staff are vaccinated.
And they are right: The vaccination rate is much higher than within Germany’s population and the Premier League (both just under 68%). For that fact alone, the people responsible deserve credit. But please, not from the stands.
Adhering to political guidelines is a weak argument — and a pretext for shirking responsibility. In view of the alarmingly high number of new infections, the numerous cases of breakthroughs and the threatening situation in German hospitals, any unnecessary contact must be avoided.
Rapid, responsible action by society as a whole is called for. This applies to us football fans, as well as to Bundesliga clubs.