The Bundesliga is finally back and the footballing world now has competitive action for which we’ve all been so desperately starving for. The restart could not have been possible with all of the proactive decisions made by the DFL and the medical task force they put into place with strict match guidelines. It was a little bizarre seeing the empty stands during the first slate of matches, but it’s a necessary precaution that has to be taken, in addition to all of the on field, pitch side, and locker room guidelines that have been put into place. Hertha Berlin had some trouble with the goal celebration, social-distance guidelines in their 3-0 win over TSG Hoffenheim, though.
After level pegging at 0-0 for the first 45 minutes, Hertha Berlin broke the deadlock with a lucky deflection from a long-range volley effort from Peter Pekarík. During the goal celebration, Berlin’s Dedryck Boyata appeared to have kissed teammate Marko Grujic on the cheek, temporarily forgetting the new guidelines that have been put into place. Players aren’t supposed to engage in hugging, hand shaking, or close contact of any kind during goal celebrations, but the moment got the better of Boyata, especially considering how important the goal was at the time. Of course, all of the new restrictions are a big adjustment for players as matches resume, so players violating the guidelines during the first week of matches may be given the benefit of the doubt.
Dedryck Boyata becomes the first player in Europe to break strict social distancing regulations in the Bundesliga... after appearing to kiss teammate Marko Grujic. pic.twitter.com/vcKFD4pIVN— City Chief (@City_Chief) May 16, 2020
There was also an incident during Borussia Mochengladbach’s 3-1 win over Eintracht Frankfurt when Marcus Thuram appeared to have planted a smooch on teammate Ramy Bensebaini after his goal (‘Gladbach’s 2nd of the match). Perhaps it was Thuram returning the favor to his teammate for providing the assist after a nifty bit of footwork; it was essentially a tap in for Thuram. Ironically enough, Thuram started off his goal celebration with social distancing, but when Bensebaini came to greet him, he appeared to give him a peck on the cheek.
Enjoyed watching Bundesliga this morning even if bit weird in empty stadiums. Thought players should have made better effort to avoid touching during celebrations/subs. Was shocked Thuram kissed teammate — league says no punishment incoming — wonder what German government thinks. pic.twitter.com/HaqPh0JXvM— Martin MacMahon (@martinmacmahon) May 16, 2020
After reviewing both incidents, the Bundesliga has said that neither set of players or clubs as a whole will receive punishment. While they did technically violate the guidelines, the league probably decided to give them leeway since it’s an awkward adjustment in an emotional game. This can serve as a warning for the rest of the league.