For anyone unhappy with the Bundesliga’s return over the weekend, you must be a hardcore cynic (I’m looking at you Cesc Fabregas). The Bundesliga’s games may not have had fans in the stadiums nor players completely fit; but damn it, it was great to see football played once more.
As one BT Sport commentator stated prior to Borussia Dortmund’s kick off against Schalke, “football is the most important of the least important things in the world today.”
For 90 minutes, it was if the issues of the Covid-19 pandemic had ceased – at least as much as they could. One headline from a UK-based website on Sunday morning stated, “If the Bundesliga can do, why can’t the Premier League?” There is no reason the Premier League cannot do it, even with Newcastle United left-back Danny Rose stating he “doesn’t give a f*** about the nation’s morale.”
To say everyone is safe from the coronavirus would be a mistake. Unfortunately, this is the world we currently live in, which is very different than eight weeks ago. Will we ever go back to the way things were? Right now, it feels doubtful that we ever will.
Despite Fabregas mockingly calling the Bundesliga games “training sessions”, the matches themselves were entertaining. They were more similar to games at the beginning of the season and anyone mocking the lack of fans should remember that these players grew up playing without fans at football pitches around the world. For many of these players, they were playing in youth teams or in the reserves to no fans not long ago, so why should a big deal be made that no one is in attendance?
Player fitness was an issue for some teams over the weekend. Although Borussia Dortmund and Borussia Monchengladbach showed few signs of coming off of an eight-week break. Dortmund took some time to get into gear, but once they did, they steamrolled Schalke 4-0. Gladbach beat Eintracht Frankfurt 3-1 with the home side struggling from the first whistle. Alassane Plea of Gladbach scored in the opening minute.
The results of those two games, and all the games played on Saturday for that matter, were no different than they probably would have been had the fixtures been played in March. Schalke are a sinking ship while Eintracht Frankfurt have been hot and cold all season. To say, especially for the two games mentioned, that the return from the Covid-19 break caused the results to occur would show a lack of watching the Bundesliga prior to the hiatus.
Countries around the globe are starting to return to pre-Covid-19 activities. While some places in the United States, such as the state of Georgia, have simply ripped off a poorly placed plaster, others are being far more cautious.
Having the Bundesliga back was glorious and La Liga will be back soon. Some “minor” leagues around Europe are on the comeback trail including Sweden’s Allvenskan which kicks off in June. Sweden had the fewest restrictions of any Nordic country and had more deaths from the disease than its neighbours. Yet, the Allsvenskan will start.
If football – and other sports – resume their current seasons, it gives everyone involved a chance to see what the future will hold for sport. It may seem like players and coaches are being used as guinea pigs, but unless games are played in some fashion, there is no guarantee that leagues will kick off in August or September.