It has been almost two months since world football came to a standstill amidst the coronavirus pandemic. Only in recent weeks have the National FA’s of major European nations shed some light on the outcomes of their respective leagues. Many associations like those in France and Belgium have voided the season and declared the current standings to be as they are. Others such as La Liga and the Premier League are waiting on the COVID-19 situation to clear up to some extent in their country, as well as receive clearances from their governments- without which normal operations will cease to exist.
Germany were the first UEFA nation to provide some clarity over the decision to restart the top two leagues. In mid-April, several Bundesliga teams were allowed to call their players and staff into their training grounds to maintain their fitness levels- in the event of the remaining nine league games being played out.
Social distancing measures were still at the fore, with not more than two players allowed to train in a group- as well as non-contact play being enforced in the sessions.
Several clubs called for the season to be underway as soon as possible, as they desperately depended on the money generated from TV endorsements- in order to remain financially stable and prevent the loss of more than 60,000 jobs.
On Wednesday, the German Chancellor Angela Merkel and federal state authorities gave the ‘all clear’ for the league to re-commence from May 15th- although there are a number of stipulations that must be followed in order for the league to run smoothly and more importantly- safely.
“Geisterspiele”, or ‘ghost matches’ are going to be the framework of this model. It is rumoured that no more than 323 personnel are to be allowed in a stadium on a given match-day. Although this number is still to be confirmed, one thing that is for certain is that fans will not be allowed to attend matches or gather publicly- with the country still enforcing strict social measures till 31st August.
With all eyes on the Bundesliga for the next few weeks- here’s all you need to keep you in the know about Germany’s top flight:
The Fantastic Four
Germany have had the most exciting title race in Europe so far this season. There are four teams vying for the ‘Meisterschale’- Germany’s top-flight silverware.
Record winners Bayern are currently 4 points clear at the top, closely followed by rivals Dortmund in second, with 51 points. Just two points separate second from fourth, with RB Leipzig and Borussia Mönchengladbach hot on the heels of the Bavarian giants.
Bayer Leverkusen are still in the running for a Champions League qualifying spot, currently in fifth place and only two points behind Mönchengladbach.
Sixth place in the Bundesliga also qualifies for Europe, in the form of the Europa League. Schalke, Wolfsburg, Freiburg and Hoffenheim are the four teams battling it out hoping to secure a European place- as well as the substantial income that comes along with qualification.
Best and “Wurst”
Relegation-threatened Werder Bremen and Paderborn are also teams to look out for as potential banana skins when they play the big sides.
Ones To Watch –
The Canadian wonderkid is having a phenomenal breakthrough season for the Bavarians and has taken the duty from Alaba at left wing-back with aplomb. The only way is up for the 19-year-old, who has certainly shown signs of a promising future at the Allianz Arena.
Kai Havertz | Read More |
The 20-year-old German playmaker has been the talk of the country in recent months- with stellar performances for Leverkusen enough to justify the hype. He’s caught a lot of eyes in the transfer market- with Bayern rumoured to be in pursuit of the next big thing for ‘Die Mannschaft.’
Jadon Sancho | Read More |
It’s no surprise to anyone seeing the Englishman’s name here. The world has been hearing all about the former Man City youth player and his rapid rise to fame- and now he has the chance to show the world what he’s all about.
Bayern are filled with superstars across the pitch, but none have stood out more than Gnabry. From disappointing spells at Arsenal and West Brom to being a world-beater at FCB- the winger is one of the first names on the team-sheet for club and country and seen as the perfect story of hard work and perseverance in the German media.
With football fans being starved of the game for months, the Bundesliga is going to gain traction like never before. For the next few weeks at least, it has the stage perfectly set to show the world just how gripping and exhilarating the league can be.
The spotlight is on a number of young players and coaches, and this is their time to shine- when the world well and truly has all eyes on them.
Written by Adibir Singh | Feature Image by Christof Koepsel/Bongarts/Getty Images)
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