I never ever thought that one day it would come down to me to put down some words about the Bundesliga.
A league that in the past I had followed only briefly and considered to be an average league aside from a couple of clubs, mainly Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund. But for the past couple of weekends I must be honest and say I am thoroughly enjoying my fix of German football.
Yes, it took a little while to get used to games being played on par to a reserve match in English football as regards atmosphere, and looking up and seeing no fans present was certainly strange alongside the occasional sound of piped music blasting into a near-deserted stadium felt weird, but after two weeks this is now not a distraction to me as I can thoroughly enjoy the action on the pitch.
Both sets of players are still showing the high intensity and commitment of playing a game in 90 minutes, even though there are no fans of either side to offer encouragement or show anger in their teams’ performance.
The Bundesliga has certainly shown the way forward for football behind closed doors. Despite some criticism from both fans and politicians in Germany, the return of the league has been a huge success for clubs and broadcasters.
The league was under fire from politicians, journalists and most importantly fans for weeks, but by now all three of the sectors have certainly changed their mind and are thriving in their regular dose of the wonderful game.
Their main fears understandably were about Covid-19 and the implications it could have on any players getting tested positive and the eventual outcome, but as it stands at the moment almost all tests from players and staff have come back negative. Dynamo Dresden have been the only team to date from both the Bundesliga and Bundesliga 2 who had to quarantine because of multiple infections.
The only real problem the DFL has had to deal with since the restart has been with some teams momentarily forgetting about the new guidelines of social distance with goal celebrations. Hertha Berlin were the first team who clearly had forgotten about this important point after celebrating their goals against Hoffenheim with some hugging, high fiving and shoulder tapping, which certainly caused some concern amongst people.
However, since the opening weekend teams have now adapted to the customary way of celebrating a goal by social distancing with a fist pump and a smile. Yes, this is going to be the way forward for celebrations in the future.
The fitness levels of all teams somewhat surprisingly has been good, considering most players would off not trained properly for almost eight weeks.
Without crowds, home advantage has been kicked in to touch with only a handful of sides registering a victory on their own patch.
The actual playing time is higher than in matches with crowds because of shorter interruptions, with players not rolling around or falling about performing to crowds this has made the game so much more watchable.
Ratings for the host broadcaster Sky Germany have been record-breaking with over six million tuning in on the opening weekend. The UK broadcaster BT Sport are also showing very encouraging opening viewing figures as well, although I expect that this will change once the Premier League restarts in a few weeks.
Overall, it must be said that the Bundesliga has led the way forward for the watching football fan. Now it’s up to all other leagues to follow suit and put the game of football back into the comfort of our armchairs, for the time being at least.
Article Written by Peter Moore