There will be no Yellow Wall at Dortmund when the Bundesliga returns to action next week after a suspension of play that will have lasted two months. The end-zone section of Borussia Dortmund fans is what long has made games at Westfalenstadion such a spectacle.
The absence of this grand tradition no doubt will represent a sacrifice for those who love German soccer, the Bundesliga or the sport in general. We have learned over the past two months, though, that the absence of sport itself is a far more obvious detriment.
Young American talents Weston McKennie and Gio Reyna will be part of the most prominent game as the Bundesliga resumes its suspended season with a round of nine games May 16-18. McKennie’s Schalke 04 will play Saturday, May 16 at Reyna’s Borussia Dortmund at 9:30 a.m. ET.
Germany’s DFL announced that fans will not be permitted at any games because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but the return to action for one of the world’s top sports leagues can be viewed as a positive development for those hoping to see various sports back on the field.
Sports in the United States began shutting down March 11, when the NBA suspended its season after Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for the coronavirus. NASCAR will return May 17 with a race at Darlington in South Carolina. The PGA Tour is expected to resume in June. But none of the NHL, NBA or MLS has been able to schedule a resumption date, and Major League Baseball and the NWSL haven’t yet begun their seasons. All are missed here.
Most teams in the Bundesliga have nine games remaining, with the season scheduled to be concluded the weekend of June 27-28. Players, coaches and game officials will have to follow strict protocol relative to hygiene.
Bundesliga games in the United States air on Fox Sports, which has not yet announced its schedule for telecasts.
“The interest is big. I see reports from across the world that we are the first major league to return,” DFL president Christian Seifert said in a news conference Thursday. “This can only happen because we have the privilege to live in one of the most modern health systems in the world.”
Seifert said the shutdown had imperiled the existence of some German clubs and that returning will aid their survival, although he did not specify the teams and whether they were in Bundesliga or 2.Bundesliga, the second division, which also will resume competition.
“The matches will feel different,” he said. “After the first matchday, we will all now why we prefer games with fans. But that is the framework we have to operate in, and I expect the best possible sport within this framework.”