The German Bundesliga will return in May as the 2019-20 season will resume.
That’s right. It’s actually happening.
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Germany’s chancellor Angela Merkel and politicians from the 16 states across Germany have agreed the top two divisions can return with strict rules for training, testing players for COVID-19 and playing games behind closed doors.
The Bundesliga have been given the option on whether games will return on May 15 or May 22, with the latter date seeming the more likely.
This decision means that the Bundesliga is the first of Europe’s top five leagues to resume play amid the coronavirus pandemic. Over 150,000 have been infected with the coronavirus in Germany and there have been 6,300 deaths.
Clubs from across Germany’s top two tiers have been training for weeks and last week over 1700 tests were performed on players and staff at training grounds with 10 positive tests coming back.
CEO of the DFL, Christian Seifert, released the following statement after the government decision.
“Today’s decision is good news for the Bundesliga and 2. Bundesliga. Tied to it is a big responsibility for the clubs and their employees to implement the medical and organizational requirements. Games without spectators are not an ideal solution for anyone. In a crisis threatening the very existence of some clubs, however, it is the only way to ensure the continued existence of the leagues in their current form. On this day, I would like to thank the political decision-makers from the federal and state governments for their trust,” Seifert said.
Most of the Bundesliga clubs have nine matches left, with two having 10 to play following the mid-March suspension of the league due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Bayern Munich will kickstart their bid to defend its title from Borussia Dortmund (four points back), RB Leipzig (five points), and Borussia Monchengladbach.
The bottom of the table is less congested, though even last-place Paderborn has hope of at least reaching the relegation playoff spot.
With France’s Ligue 1 being called off for 2019-20 and the title awarded to Paris Saint-Germain due to the government banning sporting events until September 1, there is real hope in Spain and Italy that they can finish their respective seasons as teams in La Liga returned to individual training this week.
The Premier League is still waiting on the UK government to announce changes to its lockdown measures this Sunday and the league’s 20 clubs will then vote next Monday on ‘project restart’ with 14 votes needed to kick on with plans to complete the 2019-20 season.