The German government has formally approved the return of the Bundesliga! On Wednesday, the government approved a plan that would have the soccer league return to competitive matches on either May 15th or May 22nd, according to ESPN. The specific date will be decided on Thursday when the league convenes for an “Ordinary Assembly.”
The league suspended after 25 matches and has nine remaining, with plans on finishing the season by June 30th. The geisterspiele or “ghost games” would be played without fans in attendance as there is a ban on mass events in Germany until the end of August.
Players have been training as individuals and in small groups since early April, so there will not be an extensive start-up needed to get players in shape. This is notable for those awaiting the return of professional leagues in America. Players have been able to work out on their own, but it is almost exclusively with whatever is available in their own home. There was talk of NBA players being able to start working out in public gyms soon, but that has been delayed due to different social distancing rules in different states.
ESPN is reporting players and staff are tested regularly and 1,724 tests were conducted last week in a first wave of all 36 clubs of the upper two tiers. Ten cases of Covid-19 were identified and those players and staff are self-isolating. A second wave of testing has been conducted, per ESPN, with no information released yet.
When play was suspended, Bayern Munich held a four point lead atop the standings over Borussia Dormund, and another point on top of RB Leipzig. SC Paderborn 07 and Werder Bremen hold the two relegation spots at 16 and 18 points, respectively, with Fortuna Dusseldorf in the relegation playoff spot at 22 points.