Football fans around the world are rejoicing because Germany’s top division is back in action following a two month-long shutdown due to the ongoing global health crisis. The Bundesliga schedule, which resumed on 16 May, will see each team play eight or nine matches to bring the season to a close. For fans of the game, this news is as good as winning big at a mobile casino!
However, as anyone who has watched any of the matches played so far will have noticed, it is not exactly business as usual for the league. The games are being played at the stadiums of the home teams, but apart from the players and approximately 300 essential workers, the venues are practically empty – and that’s just for starters.
Changes Prompted By Crisis
The Bundesliga has not been lackadaisical in the resumption of its football season in the face of the health crisis and harsh criticism from many fans. Prior to the league’s shutdown, the stadium tunnels saw a huge amount of camaraderie before games began, with players greeting, teasing, and joking with one another. Those scenes will take on a different character now, as all physical contact between players in the tunnels has been forbidden.
Players also may not shake hands with referees or others in attendance. Accompanying the players onto the field was a highlight for many children, but that has been stopped for the foreseeable future. Among the other rules that players must follow are no celebrating goals or wins in groups, and no spitting.
While on the benches, substitute players are required to practise social distancing, which means they must sit apart. They, as well as coaches, must wear masks. The only time coaches are permitted to remove their masks are when they need to give instructions to players while maintaining a distance of at least 1.5m. The social distancing measures implemented by the Bundesliga also mean there will be no team photos taken before kick-off.
Matches Played So Far
Matchday 26, the day the Bundesliga season resumed, was packed with football action. Borussia Dortmund whipped FC Schalke 04 4:0 at Signal Iduna Park, while RB Leipzig and Sport-Club Freiburg drew 1:1 at the Red Bull Arena.
TSG 1899 Hoffenheim lost 0:3 to Hertha Berlin at PreZero Arena, and Fortuna Dusseldorf faced SC Paderborn 07 in a game that saw neither side score a single goal at Merkur Spielarena. Other matches played that day saw FC Augsburg take on VfL Wolfsburg (1:2), and Eintracht Frankfurt face Borussia Monchengladbach (1:3).
Matches played on the Sunday included FC Koln vs FSV Mainz 05 (2:2) and FC Union Berlin vs FC Bayern Munchen (0:2). SV Werder Bremen played against Bayer 04 Leverkusen (1:4) on the Monday.
Matchday 27 commenced on 22 May when Hertha Berlin played against FC Union Berlin at Olympiastadion (4:0). The following day saw Borussia Monchengladbach vs Bayer 04 Leverkusen (1:3), VfL Wolfsburg vs Borussia Dortmund (0:2), Sport-Club Freiburg vs SV Werder Bremen (0:1), and SC Paderborn 07 vs TSG 1899 Hoffenheim (1:1), and FC Bayern Munchen vs Eintracht Frankfurt (5:2). Sunday saw FSV Mainz 05 vs RB Leipzig (0:5) and FC Koln vs Fortuna Dusseldorf (2:2).
Matchday 28 kicks off on Tuesday 26 May with Borussia Dortmund vs FC Bayern Munchen at Signal Iduna Park at 6.30pm, followed by Bayer 04 Leverkusen vs VfL Wolfsburg at BayArena, Eintracht Frankfurt vs Sport-Club Freiburg at Commerzbank-Arena, and SV Werder Bremen vs Borussia Monchengladbach at Wohninvest Weserstadion at 8.30pm.
Wednesday 27 May will see RB Leipzig vs Hertha Berlin at Red Bull Arena at 6.30pm, followed by TSG 1899 Hoffenheim vs FC Koln at PreZero Arena, Fortuna Dusseldorf vs FC Schalke 04 at Merkur Spielarena, FC Augsburg vs SC Paderborn 07 at WWK Arena, and FC Union Berlin vs FSV Mainz 05 at An der Alten Forsterei at 8.30pm. Matchday 29 will be played over the weekend of 29 May – 1 June (Monday evening inclusive), Matchday 30 will take place from 5 – 7 June, Matchday 31 will take place from 12 – 14 June, Matchday 32 will take place on 16 and 17 June, Matchday 33 will take place on 20 June, and Matchday 34 will take place on 27 June.