EDITORIAL – The German top-flight competition, Bundesliga, was the first of the elite European leagues to resume on May 16, 2020, after a two-month break. Owing to the effects of Covid-19, the global pandemic ravaging the world, all sports activities were suspended.
Bundesliga: How Successful has the League’s Return Been?
Some federations terminated their leagues, while others remained only suspended. France, Netherlands, and Belgium put off all remaining matches, with PSG and Club Brugge being announced as champions for France and Belgium, respectively. The Netherlands terminated without declaring a winner.
When the German Football federation announced plans to restart the Bundesliga, there was widespread concern about how matches would be played and how respective clubs would ensure the safety of players and staff amid the Coronavirus quick spread.
A series of tests, retests, and assurances convinced the government to allow the league to continue, but clubs were mandated with taking responsibility for their own.
Two weeks later, after three rounds of matches, things are going well. Bundesliga fans are enjoying the moment, but there are so many success stories to be written home. It is a success so far, and judging from what is happening, more leagues like the English Premier League, Italian Serie A, and Spanish La Liga will feel more comfortable starting already.
The fans’ point of view
When the round of 26 kicked off on May 16 across several stadiums, it was not business as usual. Terraces were empty, and there was total silence. You could hear players calling each other for the ball, the referees whistle, and even the sound of a bouncing ball. It didn’t feel ordinary, but it was the new normal in world football. At least for now.
Fans followed proceedings from their television sets at home, giving feedback through social media. There was a collective agreement; football was not the same without fans, the noise, and the drama.
So far so good
Watching players emerge from their respective buses in masks has become a usual sighting. There is little bromance in camps, and players are practicing social distancing measures as requested. Even though matches still appear more like training sessions, credit to players for keeping it down, and following the laid-down rules during this period.
Timo Werner scored a hat-trick in midweek for RB Leipzig, but he did manage to keep his emotions checked. Wolfsburg pulled a one-off against Bayer Leverkusen, and we all know what would have happened on an ordinary afternoon. The urge to jump over players after scoring a goal has been evident, but these players have done well to content with a tap on the back, a fist-knock, but no hugs. It is not an easy thing to contain emotions, but these players get better at it every time they take to the pitch.
No incident of breach has been reported so far, with teams traveling to stadiums in multiple buses to keep safe distance. Players remain masked until they are called upon by their coaches, with substitute benches stretching to the terraces.
In a nutshell
The return of the German top-flight qualifies as a success story to this end. No one knows how long this mess will be around, but it is adequate to say that other leagues must have learned a thing or two from the organization of the Bundesliga. No getting complacent, but complete football is on the way.