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How many fans can attend a game? How long have you got..?

Because of the ferderal nature of German politics many decisions are made and carried out by individual state (Land) governments. Responses to the Coronavirus pandemic fall within these so it is up to each state (and there are 16 of them, from city states such as Hamburg and Berlin, to large areas such as Bavaria) to determine the number of people who can attend events and that includes football matches.

So how many fans will be at football matches when the season starts with the first round of the DFB Pokal this weekend..? Well that depends entirely on where you are are what your Land has proscribed. Consequently it’s a very mixed bag, as can be seen below:

FC Kaiserslautern - 0 fans

Hertha Berlin - 4,000

Hansa Rostock - 5,000

Halle - 3,200

Magdeburg - 2,500

Mainz - 1,000

Borussia Mönchengladbach- 300

RB Leipzig - 8,500 (this is to the first game of the Bundesliga season)

One thing is clear though. Those teams in the east of the country, where there were far fewer cases of Coronavirus during the height of the pandemic (and where infection rates remain very low), are being allowed more fans than teams in the west. Hence the much higher numbers at Leipzig, Rostock and Halle compared to the correspondingly low numbers at Mainz and Mönchengladbach.

A case in point is SC Freiburg, located in the south western state of Baden Württemberg. The club had put forward a case for allowing 20-30% of the ground to be occuped, equating to 4,800-7,200 fans. However the state government has decreeed that no more than 500 can attend an event, leaving them more than likely opting to play in front of empty stands once again.

How long this situation carries on for is for obvious reasons entirely unclear. However it does mean that there is no longer a simple answer to how many many fans can attend a Bundesliga game. And that Geisterspiele, at least in the east, are a thing of the past.

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