Germany’s Bundesliga is set to be given the go ahead to resume the 2019/20 season as part of measures to further ease COVID-19 restrictions in the country.
According to a report published in Reuters, the league’s governing body (DFL) will be formally informed tomorrow that they are clear to restart the campaign from May 15.
The Bundesliga would be the first of Europe’s “big five” domestic leagues to kick back into gear after the stoppage that affected almost all football across the globe, lending hope to supporters in Spain, England and Italy that action might eventually return there too.
Just last week, the remaining matches in the Ligue 1 and 2 seasons were cancelled permanently by French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe, with Paris St. Germain announced as champions for the seventh time in eight years, though the decision to end the campaign completely has already prompted several clubs to seek legal advice.
That’s a scenario Europe’s other major leagues will be keen to avoid, making news of the Bundesliga’s imminent return all the more valuable.
Wednesday’s key meeting
The league’s return is expected to be rubber stamped at a pivotal teleconference on Wednesday led by Chancellor Angela Merkel and attended by representatives from all German States, though the Bundesliga’s final matches will have to take place under a strict set of conditions.
Alongside the ramp up in rigorous testing, all of the season’s remaining games will take place in empty stadia, while the DFL must adhere to the health safety plans they submitted.
Stadiums will be allowed to have a maximum of 330 people in attendance for any one fixture, including security, club employees, teams and staff – though a large chunk of those are expected to be deployed outside the ground to stop supporters from congregating.
Germany’s professional teams have been training ahead of a return to the field since mid-April, divided into small groups, though the country’s governing body revealed that they had already registered 10 positive cases in a blanket test of 1,724 players and staff at its 36 first and second division clubs.
However, in line with the league’s health protocols, only the infected people themselves were quarantined and not the rest of the uninfected members of staff – a directive that allows disruption to be kept to a minimum.
State of play in the Bundesliga
The 2019/20 Bundesliga season has just over 80 matches remaining to complete the campaign, with Bayern Munich holding a narrow four-point lead over rivals Borussia Dortmund.
RB Leipzig are just a point further back from der BVB and could mount a title charge of their own before the summer is over.
The DFL-Pokal (German Cup) is in the semifinal stage where Bayern will face off against Eintracht Frankfurt and Bayer Leverkusen will meet FC Saarbrucken for place in the tournament’s final.
At the foot of the table, Paderborn are a full 10 points adrift of safety, while Werder Bremen are also in serious trouble just two points ahead of them in 17th.
The report claims that the season will resume with matchday 26. You can see the fixtures from that date below, the pick of which is The Revierderby between Dortmund and Schalke.
- Fortuna Düsseldorf v SC Paderborn
- Augsburg v Wolfsburg
- Borussia Dortmund v Schalke 04
- Eintracht Frankfurt v Borussia Monchengladbach
- Hoffenheim v Hertha BSC
- Köln v Mainz 05
- RB Leipzig v SC Freiburg
- Union Berlin v Bayern Munich
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