After weeks of meticulous planning, the German soccer season is scheduled to make a return in what will be one of the first comebacks in major sports. Having resumed individual training on April 9th, the German Soccer Federation and its clubs received a few days ago the authorization from the country’s authorities to carry out the end of the 2019-20 season behind closed doors, in a move which will potentially dictate the future of sports on a worldwide scale.
With measures including a maximum of 300 essential staff and film crew members inside a stadium as well as the possibility for teams to make up to 5 substitutions a game, the eyes of the world will be on the Bundesliga’s first matchday tomorrow; indeed, the fallout of this weekend’s events will have huge implications for the sports world, with officials from the NBA, NHL and a string of other major European soccer competitions observing the German experiment as it determines the fate of a global sporting stoppage which has now been ongoing for a little over 2 months. Players will also have to drive themselves to the various stadiums around the country, dress separately in several different locker rooms and be tested at least twice a week in attempts to maintain a semblance of safety, as the number of German COVID-19 cases still rises (175 000 as of May 14th).
With an expected audience of close to a BILLION worldwide (according to RTE Media), kickoff is set for 9:30 AM (EST) for North American viewers on FOX Sports (USA) and Sportsnet (Canada), with marquee matchups including former UEFA Champions League winners Borussia Dortmund facing off against Schalke 04 and Monchengladbach visiting last year’s Europa League finalists Eintracht Frankfurt.