The Bundesliga has become enough a part of North America’s sporting culture that if one attempts to translate the name from German to English through Google, it comes out as — no kidding — Bundesliga.
So the return of Germany’s top soccer league following two months of absence due to the COVID-19 pandemic will not, for so many, require the manufactured affection endemic to American’s sudden interest in the Korean Baseball League.
Germany, with a population of nearly 84 million, has had 167,000 confirmed cases and nearly 7,000 deaths since the COVID-19 outbreak began. It reported only 685 new cases Tuesday.
The Bundesliga was given approval by chancellor Angela Merkel to resume competition without fans in the stands in mid-May, according to Sky Sports. An exact date has not been chosen by the league, whose principals will meet Thursday in Frankfurt to discuss the resumption and schedule for completion.
Most teams have nine games remaining in the season, with the title race involving at least four strong contenders: leaders Bayern Munich (55 points) and contenders Borussia Dortmund (51), RB Leipzig (50) and Borussia Monchengladbach (49).
The league’s return figures to be closely watched by other major European soccer leagues, as well as the NBA, NHL, MLS and Major League Baseball here. None of the inactive American team sports has yet announced a date or plan for resuming competition.
Young Canadian star Alphonso Davies has made 17 starts for leaders Bayern. U.S. midfielder Tyler Adams should be back from the injuries that have plagued his season for Leipzig. Werder Bremen striker Josh Sargent probably lost a bit of the momentum gained when he started and scored in a 2-2 draw in his team’s 2-2 draw against Hertha Berlin, but he remains an active part of Bremen’s attack force.
Weston McKennie remains a regular starter at FC Schalke, withheld from the starting lineup only when injured. And we can continue to watch teenaged midfielder Gio Reyna, the son of U.S. soccer legend Claudio, develop at Dortmund. Prior to the break, he scored his first senior-level goal in a DFB Pokal cup game against Bremen and earned an assist in the Champions League against Paris Saint-Germain.
German soccer has been ambitious about its return to action. Not only have the 20 teams in the Bundesliga been training for the past month, but also those in 2.Bundesliga, the country’s second division.
With 1,700 people tested for the coronavirus as Germany approached its return, 10 turned out to be positive. That did not derail the plan to reopen.
“The appropriate measures – for example, the isolation of the affected persons – were taken immediately by the respective clubs in accordance with the specifications of the local health authorities,” Germany’s DFL said in a statement.