The Bundesliga is back! The popular soccer league will be played behind closed doors starting on Saturday, May 16th, becoming the first European soccer league to restart following the COVID-19 shutdown.
The best game of that first day back will be the derby between Schalke 04 and Borussia Dortmund. This is a crucial game for Borussia Dortmund, who are in second place with 51 points and they can’t afford to drop points.
Defending champions Bayern Munich, who have a four-point lead at the top of the standings, visit Union Berlin on Sunday, May 17th.
Most Bundesliga teams have nine games to play and the final weekend of the season is expected to take place on June 27th-28th.
The German Football Association (DFL) previously said that the season would resume under strict health protocols. They will ban fans from the stadiums and require players to have coronavirus tests.
During matchdays, around 300 people, including players, staff and officials, are going to be allowed around the stadiums.
The Bundesliga was suspended on March 13th. The teams resumed training in mid-April, having players work out in groups.
Christian Seifert, chief executive of the German Football League (DFL), said on a news conference on May 7th that “it was crucial to resume play” despite the empty stadiums and other restrictions.
“The interest [globally] is big. I see reports from across the world that we are the first major league to return. This can only happen because we have the privilege to live in one of the most modern health systems in the world.
The matches will feel different. After the first matchday, we will all know why we prefer games with fans. But that is the framework we have to operate in and I expect the best possible sport within this framework,” Seifert said.