Coronavirus: Sporting world has it eyes on Germany as Bundesliga resumes

Sajith B Warrier

Bengaluru, May 16: German football will be the cynosure of all eyes as the Bundesliga becomes the first major league to resume after the complete shutdown of sports all over the world due to the outbreak of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Topping the weekend action will be the Revierderby between Borussia Dortmund and Schalke 04, a fixture that would normally be played out in front of 80,000 raucous fans.

This time there will be eerie silence with only around 200 people pitchside and in the stands, including medics, security, hygiene staff and certain media personnel.

Bundesliga Fixtures

Just like the radical changes come up by Korea's K League, the Bundesliga will also adhere to strict social distancing norms, with everyone except the players required to wear a mask.

Coronavirus in sport: K League kicks off without fans

One major change brought in post-coronavirus will be clubs being allowed five substitutions - a move designed to help clubs cope with what could be a pile-up of fixtures, but one which divided the football world.

FIFA substitution rule change draws flak

Portraits of fans will be set up as stadiums will be empty for the so-called ghost games. Strict health and safety protocols will be in place as opinion is still divided about the rights and wrongs of top-tier football returning while no vaccine is yet available for the killer virus.

Dortmund braced for 'most unusual derby in history' as Bundesliga returns

From a sporting perspective the Bundesliga title race could still turn into a classic. All 18 clubs will be back into action in what could act as a catalyst for other leagues to follow suit.

The Italian Serie A has already announced that it will resume of June 13, while the Premier League is also expected to start sometime in the second week of June.

Serie A set to resume on June 13 following coronavirus pandemic

Coronavirus: Premier League on course for June restart, culture minister suggests

In Bundesliga standings, Borussia Dortmund are in second place with nine games remaining, four points behind leaders Bayern Munich who are seeking an eighth successive crown. RB Leipzig are a further point in arrears.

Bundesliga Points Table

Meanwhile, Augsburg coach Heiko Herrlich will have to sit out of the tie against Wolfsburg, in what would have been his first game in charge, for reportedly breaking the COVID-19 quarantine rules as he went out to buy a tube of toothpaste.

Augsburg coach Herrlich in trouble

Bayern Munich travel to Hertha Berlin on Sunday (May 17) with the hosts likely to be without coach Urs Fischer, who left the team's mandatory seven-day isolation camp ahead of the season re-start.

Leipzig host Freiburg while Borussia Moenchengladbach, still in the hunt a further point behind in fourth place, travel to Eintracht Frankfurt.

(With inputs from Agencies)

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