Bundesliga
Bundesliga

The Bundesliga will resume behind closed doors on Saturday 16 May – and is the first European league to restart following the coronavirus shutdown.

One of the games on the day of relaunch will be the derby between Schalke and Borussia Dortmund.

Champions Bayern Munich, who are four points clear at the top of the table, travel to Union Berlin on Sunday.

Most teams have nine games to play, with the final weekend of the season rescheduled for 27-28 June.

The German Football Association (DFL) said the season would resume under strict health protocols that ban fans from the stadium and require players to have Covid-19 testing.

Around 300 people, including players, staff and officials, will be in or around the stadiums during match days.

The league has been suspended since 13 March; clubs returned to training in mid-April with players working out in groups.

Christian Seifert, chief executive of the German Football League (DFL), held a news conference on Thursday where he said despite the empty stands and other restrictions, “it was crucial to resume play”.

Other updates to emerge included:

As well as players and coaching staff, referees will also be subject to medical and hygiene regulations.

There was no clarification on the issue of matches being available free to air in Germany – talks are under way with broadcasters.

There were 10 positive results from clubs in the top two divisions following the first series of coronavirus tests – and two in the second series.

On Wednesday, Chancellor Angela Merkel eased some restrictions, allowing shops to reopen with the country seeing fewer than 7,000 deaths from coronavirus.

Seifert said: “The matches will feel different. After the first matchday, we will all know 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.”

Meanwhile, the executive committee of the World Players Association – which represents 85,000 players and athletes across world sport – will meet next week to discuss medical protocols around the return to sport.

It said in a statement: “All proposals need to be calmly and rigorously assessed by relevant experts with a clear commitment that player health and safety is not negotiable.”

‘Community aspect’ has been lost – Subotic critical about playing return

Union Berlin face leaders Bayern on the Sunday when the league returns but defender Neven Subotic has been critical of how the situation has been handled by the footballing authorities.

German football will continue despite France’s Ligue 1, the Netherlands’ Eredivisie and Belgium’s Pro League being called off.

Subotic told BBC World Service Sport: “It is a precarious situation for all of us. It is going to be impossible to come out of the league with positive remarks, it is just going to be a lot of risk management and trying to get to a finished season with the fewest casualties.

“We are not going to have games with fans and for me that is what makes it special. Playing football is fun and is challenging but what makes it exceptional is the community aspect of it.

“That is gone and I don’t want to pretend like it is not a huge thing. It is a huge thing and it is what makes it special.

“Therefore what I will definitely enjoy is the first game back with fans inside the stadium. I am looking forward to that and that is my end goal.”

Full list of fixtures

Saturday

Augsburg v Wolfsburg

Borussia Dortmund v Schalke

Eintracht Frankfurt v Borussia Monchengladbach

Fortuna Dusseldorf v Paderborn

Hoffenheim v Hertha Berlin

RB Leipzig v Freiburg

Sunday

Cologne v Mainz

Union Berlin v Bayern Munich

Monday

Werder Bremen v Bayer Leverkusen

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