Fitness, social distance and zero fans – what to look for as a return to German football

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Retrieved 16 May 2020, 11:42 IST

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Borussia Monchengladbach ‘fans’

Some good news until the end: elite football is back in Europe.

The Bundesliga season has resumed this weekend and will be the first in Europe’s top five-league to bring back the 2019-20 season.

Of course, it won’t be football as we know it. Fans will not be able to take part in the games, while players and officials have to follow strict guidelines.

There is also pressure on everyone concerned to confirm whether the reopening plan has been confirmed: players are expected to return to the field after a two-month break, ground staff will have to hold the ground as soon as warm weather begins, and club administrators are set to fix the football. Desperate to stay on the drive to satisfy social media users.

So, how will the players react? How about games with thousands of empty seats? How long will Axel Whitsell’s Afro survive heat and moisture? Here are four important things to look for …

1. Fit or fitting fight?

The Bundesliga Games have not been held since March 13, meaning players are two months away from finishing.

Clubs employed players ’home workout routines and many were able to resume training in small groups at team bases last month, but, as mentioned, there is no substitute for the real thing.

Top-flight teams will typically spend weeks pre-season training and friendly matches to fully fit into the new campaign after an equal-length off-season break, so players are expected to shoot early in the first cylinder on a resume weekend. Can be stretched, especially to reach annoying with biscuit tin at home Yeka weeks after his incarceration.

Those who have shown the best commitment to maintaining their cardio can most likely have an important advantage in the days of the next match.

2. If you discover it and have no interest in seeing it …

Borussia Monchengladbach has done a great job of creating cardboard cut-outs for supporters to flood the stands in Borussia-Park, but the real issue is still a match that will not be felt somehow without fault in the seats.

The Bundesliga prides itself on the strength of its supporters, starting with the Yellow Wall at Signal Iduna Park and the respected 50 + 1 rule that ensures fans always have a say in running their clubs, so playing regular matches behind closed doors will feel like a truly alien experience.

Of course, such games sometimes provide a unique form of entertainment. No crazy words mean you can hear the captains cry, the coaches are backing away at their position and the demand for an early delivery for the entire strikers – or mourning if it doesn’t arrive.

This will encourage lots of aha-playful ear-chipping or shaking in empty stands after scoring – assuming players are still allowed to celebrate in these days of social distance.

Speaking of …

3. How can you make a mark from two meters?

Still, there is no suggestion for players to wear masks, surgical gloves or full biohazard suits on the pitch. They will make the title really hard.

Of course, there will be strict health and safety measures for teams to travel and reach places, although personal hygiene and proper hand washing will be ubiquitous and even players will be told to wash their own kits.

The reality, however, is that the risk of infection from matches can never be completely removed, as Borussia Dortmund CEO Hans-Joachim Watze admits. Football is a communication game and any idea of ​​encouraging social distance on the pitch is practical – unless you try to catch Jadan Sancho.

Still, in the current climax, it is difficult to know how the players will behave on the pitch. Handshakes and high-five stars will almost certainly go out, but celebrating goals? Swing in the corner? Spit?

4. Pitch (IM) Perfect

Ground staffers have been working tirelessly to scratch the sports facilities during the break, but the coming weeks will still represent a big test for the Bundesliga pitch.

As we go through the hot and dry months in Germany it is possible to see how the turf will suddenly return to the stamping footballers, and how the final nine will run on match days.

The players are also feeling the heat. Germany endured the hottest June day on record last year, with Koschen, a town on the Polish border, recording 38.6 degrees Celsius. Such a condition would add a new dimension to the title-determiner and the six-pointer in disguise.

If the weather gets a bit severe, water breaks may have to be introduced – it should be assumed, of course, that they follow hygiene rules.