After more than a month away, the top two soccer leagues in Germany, Bundesliga and Bundesliga 2, look set to return to action next weekend pending the German government’s final approval this week.
This has been a trying time for people around the world.
But sport will soon return to help fans begin the “return to normalcy”, at least in some aspects.
After more than a month away, the top two soccer leagues in Germany, the Bundesliga and Bundesliga 2, look set to return to action next weekend (May 9-11), pending the German government’s final approval this week. The clubs have been training in small groups for a few weeks in preparation for the return.
“We are really well prepared, for sure, to do it,” Simon Rolfes, Bayer Leverkusen’s sporting director, told the Washington Post Friday. “I hope we proceed or improve every day with our corona situation here in Germany and that politicians can say, ‘Okay, now is the time to get back.’ Hopefully it will be in the near future.”
There are nine matches to go in the campaign, with Bayern Munich looking to win its eighth-straight title. It will also be a huge boost to the Fox Sports networks, such as FS1, FS2, and Fox Soccer Channel, which carry the games and should receive a huge ratings’ boost from the games.
The two German leagues are not the only ones to be coming back in the next month or so.
The South Korean K-League will begin on May 8 with Jeonbuk Motors hosting Suwon Bluewings, 70 days after the original opening day was scheduled for February 29. Poland’s Ekstraklasa should resume on May 29, with Legia Warszawa holding an eight-point lead over Piast Gliwice.
But the biggest news could come at the end of this week: English leaders are discussing a return of the most popular league on the planet, the Premier League, possibly on June 8. Most teams have nine matches left in their campaign (with four still having to play 10), and there is still much up for grabs.
The Premier League title is not one of them, with Liverpool set to win its first title in three decades. The Reds have a 25-point lead on Manchester City (which has a game in hand), and could win the championship with two more wins.
While the Cityzens are certainly set to finish in the top four, they may not be able to play in next season’s UEFA Champions League, thanks to a two-year ban they are facing. While that situation should be cleared up in the next month, that could lead to the fifth-place team heading into the Champions League.
Right now, Leicester City is in third on 53 points, Chelsea is fourth on 48 points, Manchester United is in fifth on 45 points, while both Wolverhampton and Sheffield United have 43 points (Sheffield United has a game in hand).
Manchester United could be poised to make a run into the top four, getting a huge boost from this break. Paul Pogba and Marcus Rashford, who leads the team in scoring, should be ready to go. They will be needed, as the plans call for all the remaining matches to be played before the end of July.
It is looking more likely that the two UEFA competitions will return in August, with games scheduled to take place every three or four days until the finals.