Cologne's Marco Hoger with teammates during training this week
Cologne's Marco Hoger with teammates during training this week Image Credit: Reuters

Dubai: As the sporting world waits with expectation, players from German Football League (DFL) have already been on the training fields practising so that they can continue with some unfinished business. The Bundesliga is all set — of course Dana White’s UFC will be making the official start this weekend in Florida — to become the first of major sporting event to return to action in Europe following the coronavirus outbreak, with plans for spectator-free games starting later this month in Germany’s top-flight league.

It’s a known fact around that if the world does well, Germany always goes the extra step to do it better — Mercedes, BMW take a bow.

For a start, Germany is well ahead of the pandemic curve. And while other European leagues have been tainted by uncertainty and pay disputes between clubs and player unions, there is so much of “order” seen in Angela Merkel’s Germany and a strategy going forward, despite the threats thrown up by the pandemic.

At an Extraordinary Assembly held on Thursday via video conference, the 36 clubs of the Bundesliga and Bundesliga 2 agreed a resumption of match operations starting from May 16. In doing so, the DFL is following the wording of the federal and state decision, which says that the return of the Bundesliga and Bundesliga 2 would be acceptable “from the second half of May”.

While returning to the field, all the clubs in the top two divisions observed local health protocols. The second wave of coronavirus tests before the start of team trainings have been completed. And from the 1,695 tests conducted, just two cases of infection were identified and reported immediately to the local health authorities, allowing them to decide on what steps ought to be taken.

The Bundesliga’s chief executive, Christian Seifert has gone on record, in the meantime, that the league would return at all 36 stadiums, with the remaining nine games on the schedule to be completed by the end of June (the final matchdays of the Bundesliga and Bundesliga 2 are scheduled for June 27 and 28 respectively).

Imagine this: by that time, at least some of Europe’s other top leagues may not even return from their hiatus. Football’s richest domestic competition, the English Premier League (EPL), for one, is unlikely to return until July at the earliest!

But here comes the DFL offering millions of football-starved fans the surest sign yet that they will soon be able to watch some sport once again, at least far earlier than from other parts Europe.