Bayern denied fans for Bundesliga opener

The Allianz Arena will host the Bundesliga season opener on Friday with no fans in attendance.
The Allianz Arena will host the Bundesliga season opener on Friday with no fans in attendance.

The Bundesliga opener between champions Bayern Munich and Schalke on Friday will take place behind closed doors after all, local authorities have ordered.

Bayern had been hopeful that 7500 fans would be allowed in their 75,000-seat Allianz Arena - after their initial request for 15,000 was rejected - for the traditional start to the new league campaign.

However, Munich officials cited a growing number of coronavirus infections in the region as the reason not to allow the supporters in as originally planned.

German politicians had earlier in the week agreed to allow up to 20 per cent of stadium capacities to be filled but with local politicians and health authorities having the final saying on each game.

In the traditional Friday opening slot reserved for the champions since 2002, the title holders have never lost this match -winning 14 and drawing four.

Munich coach Hansi Flick had only 10 days to get his players ready for the first competitive match of the season, even though Bayern were given extra time off from their Champions League winning exploits in August.

"I want my team to keep the feet on the ground," Flick told 11Freunde magazine.

"A team can develop some type of arrogance when they win often. I don't wanna see that happening with us, but I don't worry a lot about it because our squad it's not inclined to it."

Schalke go into the fixture not having won in the league for a club record 17 while Bayern are unbeaten in their past 30 games, 20 of them in the Bundesliga.

"We are playing against the best team in Europe, maybe in the world.," Schalke's Amit Harit told Kicker sports magazine.

"But I'd rather play against Bayern at the beginning of the season than in the middle when they are already right on track."

Bayern's Bavarian neighbours Augsburg expect to have up to 6000 fans present for their first home game on September 26 against last season's runners-up Borussia Dortmund.

Like everywhere else, a final saying will be with local health authorities, Augsburg managing director for finances, Michael Stroell, told Thursday's edition of the Augsburger Allgemeine daily.

Australian Associated Press