For better or worse FOOTBALL IS BACK!!!
The coronavirus or more specifically Covid-19 continues to incapacitate the world but some countries have responded better than others to the situation and are moving towards some form of normalcy. While countries like England, Spain, and Italy look to restart football sometime in June it is Germany who are trying to lead by example and so the Bundesliga is resuming this weekend. Germany responded well to the outbreak and while cases are still occurring the German FA have decided its time to bring football back. The stadiums will remain empty, testing will occur regularly, players have been isolated for weeks, substitutes will wear masks and the manager will also be required to shout from a distance. Celebrations will be a muted affair with social distancing while teams like Monchengladbach are going to be placing cardboard cutouts of fans in the stadium. Sky Sports have decided to allow fans to be able to cast certain chants etc into the stadium. Whatever the case it will be weird but all eyes are on the Bundesliga to see whether football can return and if the Germans can make it work then others can adapt their plans accordingly.
Hoffenheim vs. Hertha Berlin
Hoffenheim restart at 9th with a possible chance at a 6th place finish while Hertha Berlin are 13th with 28 points 7 behind Hoffenheim. Hertha need to beat Hoffenheim to create any chance at reaching Europe. Out of their last 5 games Hoffenheim lost 3 and drew 2 while Hertha have lost 2 drawn 2 and won 1 of their last 5 games. The two teams were clearly in similar patches of form and it should be an interesting game.
Augsburg vs. Wolfsburg
Augsburg sit 14th as they entertain Wolfsburg who are 7th in the league. Augsburg sit 5 points above the relegation zone and so need to start winning games to avoid dropping down the league. Wolfsburg are looking at a 6th place finish as they sit a point behind Schalke and that could be enough to get them into the Europa League. Augsburg lost 4 of their last 5 games and drew the other while Wolfsburg were on an unbeaten run having drawn 3 and won 2. Wolfsburg should still be the team to win this game even with the long gap since the last game.
Dortmund vs. Schalke
The game of the weekend comes to us in the form of the Ruhr Derby as Schalke travel to Dortmund. Dortmund are 2nd 4 points behind Bayern while Schalke are 6th and 10 points behind Leverkusen. Dortmund are very much in the title race but need to win this game to reduce the gap from the league leaders. Schalke have plenty of games to maybe make the top 5 but a loss this weekend would make it almost impossible and could see them drop down the table. Dortmund were on a great run of form having won 4 games and lost only 1 while Schalke had drawn 3 and lost 2. Dortmund are the clear favourites but a derby can see anything happen even without a crowd and so this should be an entertaining game.
Dusseldorf vs. Paderborn
A relegation clash as 16th placed Dusseldorf take on bottom of the table 18th placed Paderborn. Dusseldorf are 4 points from safety while Paderborn are 10 points from safety and almost certain to be relegated this season. Dusseldorf cannot lose this game otherwise an increasing gap could see the relegation zone break off from the rest of the table. Dusseldorf had drawn 3 won 1 and lost 1 while Paderborn had lost 4 and drawn 1. Dusseldorf should be the team to win this fixture although Paderborn have nothing to lose at this point.
RB Leipzig vs. Freiburg
3rd placed Leipzig take on 8th placed Freiburg in an interesting clash towards the top of the table. Leipzig were in great form during the first half of the season but have broken off recently as they sit 5 points from Bayern. Freiburg are a point behind Schalke and part of the group trying to finish 6th so that they can stand a chance at Europe. Leipzig had drawn 3 and won 2 of their last 5 games while Freiburg had won 2, drawn 1, and lost 2 of their games. Leipzig should have too much in the tank for Freiburg and should get three points in the bag although Freiburg can give them good competition.
Frankfurt vs. Monchengladbach
Frankfurt are 12th as they welcome Monchengladbach who sit 4th in the table and still in a title race. Frankfurt have not been at the levels of previous years this season as they look to finish in the top 10. Monchengladbach like Leipzig dominated the first half of the season but games took a toll on them and they find themselves 6 points behind Bayern but still with a lot to play for as a loss could also see them drop out of the top four with Leverkusen just 2 points behind them. Frankfurt lost 3 won 1 and drew 1 of their last 5 games while Monchengladbach have won 3, drawn 1 and lost 1 of their last 5 games. Monchengladbach should win this but Frankfurt have the quality to cause an upset.
Koln vs. Mainz
10th placed Koln take on 15th placed Mainz with 6 points separating the two teams. Koln can enter the top 10 with a win while Mainz will want to create an even bigger gap from the relegation zone. Koln had lost 2, and won 3 of their last 5 games while Mainz had won 2, drawn 2 and lost 1 of their games. Two teams in similar form but Koln have been the better side this season and so should edge out three points.
Union Berlin vs. Bayern Munich
Union sit 11th in the table having been newly promoted this season while Bayern are top of the table with a 4 point gap. Union have impressed this season and have caused some upsets along the way as well while Bayern started the season poorly but had returned to their best in the 2nd half of the season which saw them reach the top. Union had won 2, drawn 1, and lost 2 of their games while Bayern had won 4 and drawn 1 of their games. Union are a likeable team but Bayern should be one step too far although an upset is always on the cards.
Werder Bremen vs. Leverkusen
Werder Bremen are 17th and staring at relegation as they entertain Leverkusen who are 5th and looking to enter the top four. Bremen have been extremely poor this season and sit 8 points from safety with relegation looking a certainty which would be a massive blow to the historic club. Leverkusen started the season poorly but picked up form and now find themselves in and around a title race. Bremen lost 4 and drew 1 of their last 5 games while Leverkusen had won 4 and drawn 1 of their last 5 games. This should be 3 simple points for the away side.
That is the first weekend back for the Bundesliga and it should be an interesting one as well. The hope is that it goes through without any issues and no further spread of viruses amongst players so that more leagues can start opening up. For the Bundesliga it is a great chance at some TV revenue as the whole world tunes in to support the German teams, I personally am supporting Dortmund, COME ON!!!