It’s a remarkable timetable given that most of Europe remains under some form of lockdown and social distancing measures remain in Germany.
The season will resume with no fans in stadiums and players required to have regular COVID-19 testing.
One of the games on the day next Saturday 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.
PREVIOUSLY, Wednesday 6:37 AM: Live sport looks to be on its way back. At a press conference Wednesday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has given the green light for the German top-flight soccer league, the Bundesliga, to restart this month.
Merkel gave permission for soccer to restart behind closed doors in the second half of May at a date to be specified. Players are expected to receive regular testing as part of a complex resumption plan. The German Football League (DFL) will have final say on the exact date for the league’s restart.
The news will bring some needed cheer to broadcasters who have been deprived of live sports since the lockdown began. The Bundesliga is one of Europe’s top leagues, featuring clubs including Bayern Munich, and is shown in more than 200 countries. While the package of those rights is not as lucrative as the UK Premier League, which remains the sport’s most valuable competition, the domestic rights deal is worth $1.25 billion per year alone.
The Bundesliga will likely become the first major European soccer league to re-start since the pandemic struck. The Netherlands and France have both ended their seasons due to the outbreak, but the UK’s Premier League and Italy’s Serie A are both working on plans to resume their seasons, potentially as early as mid-June in in the UK’s case.
Merkel also confirmed today that all shops will reopen and schools are likely to reopen gradually before the summer break. Individuals from two households will be able to meet and eat together under the easing of restrictions. However, social distancing will remain in place until early June and measures will be reassessed should there be a spike in cases or deaths.
Germany has seen fewer than 7,000 deaths during the pandemic, a far lower figure than other Western European countries including UK, Italy, France and Spain. The UK yesterday became the country with the second-highest death toll in the world from COVID-19.