Dortmund
Borussia Dortmund had hit a purple patch when action in European leagues were halted. Image Credit: AFP

Berlin: Most of Germany’s top tier football clubs started training on Monday to prepare for a possible early May continuation of the 2019-2020 season,

The German Football League (DFL) is planning to play matches behind closed doors to finish the campaign by the end of June. Emergency plans containing special rules have been prepared but they still need to be approved by the various authorities.

Like competitive games, training in larger groups of four to seven players needs to be permitted by the local authorities.

According to the newly issued coronavirus rules for professional sports, training is permitted under strict circumstances. Infection protection and hygiene regulations must be obeyed. Training has to take place with a minimum of contact between players.

Borussia Dortmund announced that they would run the training without direct man-to-man duels. Clubs provide separate locker rooms. Only one player at the time is allowed to change. Locker facilities will be cleaned after every player. Players must take showers at home.

Some clubs are instructing their players to change into their kit at home. Some supply take-away food for the players.

As soon as the season restarts, the clubs intend to intensify training sessions for the two weeks ahead of a definite kick-off date.

FC Augsburg began training in small groups on March 23, Dortmund on March 30, followed by Bayer Leverkusen and Schalke (April 1). RB Leipzig returned on April 2, while Eintracht Frankfurt (April 3) were back practising after local authorities gave them the go-ahead.

All other clubs started this Monday or Tuesday. Borussia Moenchengladbach, Freiburg and Werder Bremen are waiting for the responsible authority’s approval and haven’t announced a group training start.

“The clubs have agreed to start limited training after talks with the relevant authorities. At the same time, the league is trying to achieve a general agreement all clubs can follow,” Leipzig sports director Markus Kroesche commented.

Due to ownership structures, training options can differ in each federal state, apart from social distancing orders made in all of the country’s 16 states.

An example from Baden-Wuerttemberg might show the inconsistent picture.

While the TSG Hoffenheim is the owner of its training ground in Zuzenhausen near Heidelberg, SC Freiburg depends on the permission of the municipal authority as the city owns the training ground.

Therefore, training for Hoffenheim in small groups is allowed as it takes place on private ground. Freiburg is forced to count on home training until further announcements are made. The club claims to be in talks with local health authorities.

Hoffenheim’s managing director Alexander Rosen announced training in small groups is conducted in accordance with the strict regulations.

Due to the rules in the entire country, professional football teams are concentrating on long passing, fitness and shooting.