It’s back. The return of football in Europe is in sight (excluding Belarus, where it’s been business as usual.) South Korea became the first league to return to action following the coronavirus. Obviously there have been some major changes to ensure the safety of everyone involved; no crowd, no handshakes, substitutes wearing masks and maintaining a social distance on the bench. These are all factors which will be taken into consideration wherever football is played in the near future, and is likely to be commonplace for some time to come.
Unless you’ve been following the Nicaraguan league, the Bundesliga will be the first opportunity to watch live football for the best part of two months. Although a variety of programmes have been showing classic matches from yesteryear nothing compares to the real thing. Even though, under normal circumstances the league breaks over summer, the hiatus has been longer than normal with no international tournaments between seasons.
There are a number of fans who follow all football throughout the year, but for most casual fans the Premier League would be the only tournament they maintain an interest in. However, with the top division in England not returning until next month (at the very earliest) attention turns across the channel to Germany.
Under strong leadership Germany has taken control of the pandemic, and the Bundesliga has now marked its calendar to complete the remaining fixtures of the season. As a follower of the Premier League the rivalries are familiar, names are well known and the narrative is set. With an unfamiliar league, it’s time to get up to speed with what’s going on, who are the teams and who are the players.
Having done some research on the clubs, do you remain neutral? Or do you choose a team support? It’s definitely more entertaining watching a match with a vested interest. One of the common comments I get from people not interested in football is they wouldn’t watch a match if they didn’t want a team to win. To them there doesn’t seem to be a point. Back to choosing a team, what makes your decision? The colour of the kit, the location, the style of play, whoever is best (I don’t feel I could do that. Something about the British underdog mentality, perhaps. The having grown up in the 90’s with the majority of the school supporting Manchester United. Where are they now)?
I hope from a health and safety perspective it is a success. Even if you’re not interested in football (why are you still reading) it is a silver lining in a sky full of clouds, and a semblance of a return to normality. No other European league is returning for the next few weeks; France, Belgium and The Netherlands have already scrapped a return. This means German football will have more viewers than ever on , and it might be their opportunity to take advantage. The Bundesliga is one of the top five leagues in the world with Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund regularly competing in the latter stages of the major European competitions. It is highly likely once the casual fan starts watching the Bundesliga for the rest of the season they will be hooked (I would have said caught the bug, but doesn’t seem right currently) and continue to watch even after the other leagues return later in the year.