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Live Soccer Set To Return In Germany With Bundesliga

Borussia Dortmund players celebrate after a goal against Liverpool FC in the second half of the pre-season friendly match at Notre Dame Stadium on July 19, 2019 in South Bend, Indiana. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – With the news this week that there is a long-awaited return of soccer in Europe, all eyes are on the German Bundesliga. Their league is set to return on May 16th.

Bundesliga communicated they had a clear plan of return when the league shut down because of COVID-19 in March earlier this year.

With just nine matches remaining, and a close title race at hand with Bayern Munich (55) top and four points clear of second-placed Borussia Dortmund (51) who are one point ahead of RB Leipzig (50). The league is blessing us with the Revierderby between Borussia Dortmund and Schalke 04, next Saturday.

Always a hotly contested local rivalry, that could have a major say on the title race as the league starts up again.

So much has changed in the world, but Bayern Munich’s Karl-Heinz Rummenigge CEO probably speaks for most of us soccer fans, “The resumption of the Bundesliga season will make weekends ‘easier for everyone’ in Germany during the coronavirus pandemic.”

In answer to just how will it look in Germany with regard to how teams will prepare and move forward, and Rummenigge added,

“[Bayern players and staff] will go into quarantine from Saturday in a hotel here in Munich. From then on, it will be guaranteed that the team with the support staff spend all their time among themselves. They will only leave the hotel to train. That will last one week, if the league resumes on May 15 or 16. We will adjust to the DFL concept, which was approved by the Ministry of Health, the Robert Koch Institute and the Ministry of Labour.”

Impacts On MLS & Real Salt Lake

Now, as I’ve spoken to Real Salt Lake head coach, Freddy Juarez and General Manager, Elliot Fall over the last few weeks they’ve made it clear that they’ve been in touch with a couple of German clubs to see how those teams coped with the lockdown and stop in play.

The hope is that when MLS gives the green light to step back into play that RSL will have a plan in place to step up the intensity when it’s safe. Just this week Major League Soccer announced that players could have individual training sessions at the Zions Bank Real Academy, in Herriman, which now allows players to restart their fitness program.

The EPL is also starting to ramp things up. Wolves announcing that their players would all be back in the area to start individual sessions starting Monday, May 11th. As well the Premier League wanting all clubs upping the training to small groups by May 18th, with full training penciled in for early June and matches played later that month.

Similar to Bayern’s CEO comments, the United Kingdom Foreign Secretary, Dominic Raab said the return of football would, “Lift the spirits of the nation.”

Player & Personel Testing

Players will start off being tested twice a week whilst in small training groups. Those tests will be administered before players enter the training facility. The EPL is looking to provide drive-thru testing sites for players to help keep training facilities locked down as much as possible. Player safety is paramount and whilst the games will be behind closed doors for the foreseeable future, the EPL is sensitive to the fact that many will wonder why players and staff will be tested so much when the front line staff in hospitals and key workers are exposed.

Testing will only be done with the understanding it does not compromise the testing of key workers during the coronavirus pandemic and will be paid for by the Premier League and privately sourced, so it does not take any resources from public health needs.

The great thing about this movement across Europe is that you might start to see other sports come back too. There is a light at the end of the tunnel so to speak. Even though the games will be held behind closed doors, the various sports networks would do well to increase their schedule and availability.

More Conservative Approach

There are still more conservative actions being taken, for example, this week the Netherlands followed up their recently canceled soccer season, with the news from the Health Minister, Hugo de Jonge, who communicated that all sporting events are banned until September 1st and even when it does start back up, no fans will be allowed in the stadiums until there is a COVID-19 vaccine.

Until next week….Keep washing those hands and wearing your masks.

You can follow Spenno on Twitter here and catch him hosting The Lions Den with Tom Hackett, powered by KSL Sports.