The Bundesliga is set to restart this weekend with strict guidelines in place, but there is still some concern surrounding the health and safety protocols. Certain parts of Germany have been experiencing spikes in corona virus cases as certain restrictions have been lifted, which has heightened the anxiety surrounding the Bundesliga’s restart.
Former Bayern Munich legend Stefan Effenberg recently voiced his concern speaking to Sport1 (via Daily Mail). Some of the guidelines that are in place, he said, are slightly contradictory. If the players aren’t supposed to hug or high five each other when they’re celebrating goals, how are they supposed to avoid close challenges and duels during the match, he argues; “For example, the players shouldn’t cheer, clap or hug when they hit a goal. In a soccer game, despite all the regulations, duels still have to be fought. What about a standard situation, a free kick, or a corner kick?” This remark was in response to the guidelines that the DFL recently sent out to all Bundesliga clubs outlining all of the match rules and regulations pertaining to health and safety protocols.
He went on to say that the guidelines on the pitch during matches shouldn’t be as strict, just as long as all of the proper testing protocols are followed off the pitch in the buildup to matches: “In addition, it should actually be ensured that the players on the pitch are healthy after sufficient tests. Then the guidelines don’t make sense to me.”
Interestingly enough, Effenberg feels at Bayern might be one of the teams who will actually benefit from the concept of Geisterspiele (ghost games). Bayern, he said, doesn’t usually rely on their supporters to conjure up a strong performance in the same way that other teams in the Bundesliga are heavily influenced by their supporters. Instead, he thinks Bayern is able to perform at a high level regardless of the lack of support in the stadium, which isn’t the same for some of their rivals: “‘I think that the ghost games are a disadvantage for the Frankfurters, for example, because they are a power at home due to their fans. The same should apply to Borussia Dortmund with the ‘Yellow Wall.’ I know how difficult it is to play there. I therefore think that the situation around the ghost games is an advantage for Bayern. In terms of performance, they are often not so dependent on their fans.”
Despite the growing cases of the virus in certain German states, the Bundesliga is still set to resume as scheduled, but that could change. While Effenberg may have some valid arguments, the DFL remains confident that they’ve done everything they can to ensure the health and safety for everyone involved in putting on the Bundesliga matches.