Germany’s Bundesliga to Resume Behind Closed Doors

  • Matchday 26 will be the first set of fixtures to take place since the COVID-19 outbreak
  • Games will be played without crowds due to the continued threat of coronavirus
  • Clubs must follow strict medical and organizational protocols
soccer ball with the national flag of Germany
Germany’s Bundesliga is set to become the first European soccer league to resume following the coronavirus shutdown. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Returning to competition

Germany’s Bundesliga will resume on May 16, marking the first return to competition for a major soccer league in Europe.

Today’s confirmation from the league follows Chancellor Angela Merkel’s announcement yesterday that the season would resume mid-May. The German government gave the league the green light to continue with the season earlier this week.

German Football Association (DFL) told clubs that all games will take place behind closed doors

The German Football Association (DFL) told clubs that all games will take place behind closed doors. To begin, the top flight will return with Matchday 26, as this was the first set of fixtures that were postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Scheduling considerations

This decision means both the Bundesliga and Bundesliga 2 will recommence. Club and league officials met to discuss how to schedule the remaining fixtures of the season, due to the continued threat of COVID-19.

The first set of fixtures will take place on May 16, which will be different from the traditional Friday night scheduling, as games will be played on a Saturday. With the announced changes, the season should finish by June 28.

With nine games of the season remaining, Bayern Munich sit four points clear of Borussia Dortmund at the top of the table.

Match requirements

Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge thanked politicians for making the decision to allow the Bundesliga season to resume. Rummenigge appealed to everyone to follow the requirements

as they are a basis to resume games in an exemplary and extremely disciplined manner.”

DFL chief executive Christian Seifert also commented on the decision, calling it good news for Bundesliga and Bundesliga 2. Seifert stated that clubs and employees must implement the medical and organizational requirements.

Seifert pointed out that games without spectators are not ideal but as the COVID-19 crisis is threatening the existence of some clubs, it is the only way to keep the leagues intact.

Testing positive

The league’s confirmation of plans to resume the season comes just one day after clubs in two German divisions reported 10 positive cases of COVID-19. The results were found after 1,724 tests.

The DFL warned in the past that if top-division teams did not resume by June, they would be in a rough financial position.

Players were back to training in April, with the DFL expecting to return to play by May 9. In Germany, large events with crowds are banned through October 24. Because of this, the remaining games of the season will take place with no crowds.

The DFL has instituted a plan that will see around 300 people near the pitch during matches to minimize the risk of potential infection.