Football is coming back in Germany – on May 16, 2020. Borussia Dortmund vs. Schalke tops bill as Bundesliga sets return date.
(DW) The Ruhr derby between Dortmund and Schalke will be among the first games to be played after the Bundesliga’s return on May 16. The DFL confirmed the decision after Chancellor Angela Merkel and state premiers had approved it.
Chancellor Angela Merkel and the premiers of Germany’s 16 states had announced that they had given the green light for the Bundesliga and Bundesliga 2 to restart in mid-May on Wednesday. A day later, following a video conference of the German Football League (DFL), CEO Christian Seifert announced a revised matchplan.
The Ruhr Derby, between Borussia Dortmund and Schalke will be among the first set of fixtures on May 16 as the Bundesliga dispenses with its normal Friday night game in its first weekend back. Some had expressed concerns about such a fiery local rival clash being so early in the restart given social distancing concerns but the DFL have essentially tried to restart where the season was interrupted, on Matchday 26.
“We’ll all know after the first day of play why we like games with spectators much better,” said Seifert, in reference to the fact that all matches will be played behind closed doors.
However, Werder Bremen’s home fixture with Bayer Leverkusen will be played on Monday May 18, presumably because the state of Bremen was more cautious about players returning to training than others. The Bundesliga hopes to complete its season on the weekend of June 27 and 28 and will soon make a decision on whether to allow five substiutions rather than three.
On Thursday, Seifert stressed that the competition would have to prove itself each matchday before moving on to the next. The previous day, he had welcomed the political decision to allow a restart.
“It’s a great responsibility for the clubs to implement the medical and organizational guidelines in a disciplined manner,” Seifert added, referring to the DFL’s plans to restart play behind closed doors and in accordance with strict hygiene protocols and – to whatever extent is possible – physical distancing.
The fact that the DFL has won approval to resume play even though a general government ban on mass public events remains in place, is not without its critics.