The German Bundesliga is set to be the first league in Europe’s top five leagues, to return during the Coronavirus pandemic.
The country has 174,098 confirmed cases of Covid-19 with 7,861 deaths according to statistics, but Germany’s Football Association (DFB), has worked closely with league organizers (DFL), and hope the safety protocols put in place, will protect those involved when matches are played.
The German Bundesliga will experience new viewers, such as a large pool of English Premier League Fans, and Spanish La Liga fans, due to lack of football matches in the past 2 months.
When the league resumes on Saturday, things will appear differently. One major difference is, all games being played behind closed doors. There will be a maximum of 300 people at the stadium at any given time, with stadiums divided into three zones – interior, stands and exterior – each with a maximum capacity of around 100 people at a time. The Bundesliga has the highest average attendance of any football league in the world and empty stadiums would definitely feel extremely different.
There will be mass testing of players, coaches and backroom staff. Teams will arrive in several coaches to help with social distancing, and hotels will be disinfected before teams arrive. On the pitch, handshakes are banned, there will be no team photos, and there will be no child mascots.
The most serious challenge set to be faced is ‘What if a player tests positive?’ Should a player, or manager or coach, test positive for coronavirus, then they would have to go into quarantine. In a sporting context that would mean missing training and potentially games. If an entire squad were put into quarantine then it could mean missing fixtures.
Would those games be forfeited? Or would they be re-arranged? If they are re-arranged and then unable to be played again, what happens then?
With Bayern Munich at the top of the table, four points clear at the top with nine games to go, it would be exciting to see how the league plays out. Borussia Dortmund, RB Leipzig and Borussia Monchengladbach are all within six points of the champions.
Bayer Leverkusen and RB Leipzig are one point behind the top four, with a possibility of still making the champions league. Schalke, Wolfsburg, Freiburg, Hoffenheim and Cologne are all in the race for Europa League spots.
By Muyiwa Aguda
see also: Bundesliga To Resume On May 16