It looks like Bayern Munich will be welcoming fans back to the Allianz Arena after all.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Bayern and all other German teams have been playing in empty stadiums for the past three months. However, the opening game of the 2020-21 Bundesliga season between Bayern and Schalke 04 will take place in front of a limited number of spectators. 7,500 is the exact number, which is 10 percent of the 75,000 seater Allianz Arena.
According to a report from Bayerischer Rundfunk, The heads of the state chancelleries of Germany agreed that stadiums could host fans in 20% stadium capacity, but only if the respective cities’ new COVID cases did not exceed 35 per 100,000 people. As of now, Munich is over the threshold with 45.53, but the lower incidence number of the city itself (34) allowed the club and city to come to a compromise.
According to FCB president Herbert Hainer, “a great health and hygiene concept was presented” and will be implemented on Friday night. Of course, necessary measures will be taken to an extreme: personalized cards will mark where every fan is sitting, and all infections will be traceable. This particular match will also serve as a trial to see what measures work or not so that Bayern can better prepare for their second home match, which will be against Hertha Berlin on the 4th of October.
Former Bavarian Prime Minister Edmund Stoiber emphasized the need to start letting fans back into the stands. “As a cultural asset without spectators, football is not attractive in the long term,” he said. “It would be sad if the Bundesliga opened with a ghost game on Friday.”
It remains to be seen what sort of atmosphere the players and fans can expect on Friday. But whatever the case may be, the fact is that FC Bayern will be playing in front of their home fans for the first time in six months. Let’s hope that everyone turns out safe and sound, and of course, that the team delivers.