German football didn’t have the smoothest of returns initially when it couldn’t successful even host a full round of opening weekend fixtures after second division side Dynamo Dresden were forced into isolation following positive tests for coronavirus. At that stage the already ambitious return of German professional football was looking tenuous and most didn’t hold out much hope it could be brought back so shortly after the country had been in lockdown.
Yet, weeks on from that rocky first round of fixtures, the Bundesliga has been confidently kicking on and steadily completing its backlog of fixtures. Despite unusual, sometimes disruptive requirements and eerie empty stadiums the teams of Germany’s top two divisions have battled it out on the pitch as both a beacon of hope to the rest of European and even world football as well as a shining example of just how successfully football can be brought back under the difficult circumstances.
There has been no spikes in infection rates, even minor ones, as a result of the matches nor have fans congregated or sought to try and view the behind closed doors matches. Everyone so far has treated the new restrictions, however obtuse and logistically frustrating they might be, with the utmost respect. They’re there to keep everyone safe and that message seems to have been taken on board by all those involved in the restarting of German football.
It has allowed other leagues around Europe to observe and learn, planning their own returns. The top leagues across England, Spain and Italy among others are now scheduled to return in similar circumstances while other smaller European leagues in the likes of Denmark have equally returned and are playing out their league games in the unusual, socially distanced world we now live in.
Innovative thinking and resourcefulness has seen everything from crowd sounds being pumped into stadiums to virtual grandstands in Aarhus in Denmark as clubs look to overcome the disconnect between players and fans and address the odd nature of the circumstances. It might not be the football we left behind but in Germany the game is alive once more.