Bundesliga matches, played behind closed doors in Germany, continue this weekend amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The two top teams on the log will be in action on Saturday as defending champions and log leaders Bayern Munich host Eintracht Frankfurt in Munich this evening, while Borussia-Dortmund take on Wolfsburg in the afternoon.
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Reigning champions Bayern Munich, who have a four-point lead over Borussia Dortmund in the standings so far, are simply looking to continue their winning ways, when they take on Eintracht Frankfurt at the Allianz Arena in Munich this evening.
For coach Hansi Flick, the fact that there will be no spectators, doesn’t change their approach to the clash.
“Our preparation will be the same just like ahead of every other game with spectators. We obviously made an extensive analysis because Eintracht Frankfurt is a team which has very good forwards and defence, and good dynamics, and they often steal the ball in the midfield. It’s a team with a lot of heart. We will try to have a good performance at home. We definitely want to win this game. That’s our goal and that’s where we want ourselves to be measured,” says Flick.
Eintracht Frankfurt, will have a tough time as they look to regain some momentum, following four straight defeats in their last four matches, even losing at home 3-1 to Moenchen-glad–bach last week.
“We know that this will be a very difficult game. But despite everything, we will go to Munich and try to do better than in the home game against Borussia Moenchengladbach. We are not happy. The game against Gladbach made it clear again that there is still quite a bit missing and this had a lot to do with our build up which was not okay. It’s one thing that we are facing Bayern Munich as the underdog but the bill will be settled at the end of the season,”says Frankfurt.
Easing of Coronavirus restrictions in Germany
The Bundesliga became the first major sports league to restart, last week, after more than two months following an easing of coronavirus restrictions in Germany, with games being played without fans for the obvious health and safety reasons.
Under the league’s health regulations, only 200 people are allowed, on and around the pitch, and in the stands, during the game. And a further 100 people, mainly security staff, are allowed outside the stadium.
Michael Maatz is a police official in the West Rhine, home to Wolfsburg who will host Dortmund this afternoon.
He is concerned that despite being played behind closed doors, there is still a risk in hosting these matches.
“We as the police union are strongly against the playing of these phantom games. From our point of view there is a large potential for trouble. We assume that not all fans will stay at home and that there will be places where there is a possibility that there will be violence and then my colleagues will have to intervene. There is a significant health risk in these corona times and these are situations that we don’t want.”
Fans remain divided on the issue
“It’s difficult! the mood will be a bit different, I feel like watching football again and that could be divisive, says one fan.”
“Entertainment is always good for society and people are happy about it and have something to do and then that might alleviate some of the frustration between people and people might be a bit calmer,” adds another fan.
Restart of Bundesliga signifies hope
Whether you agree with the resumption of these matches or not, for many people the restart of the Bundesliga signifies hope, that world sport can resume, somewhat, while the world still battles this coronavirus pandemic.
With still at least eight weeks still play, Bayern are chasing a record-extending eighth straight title – and lead the with 58 points while Borussia Dortmund their closest rivals are on 54 points.