Germany’s Bundesliga becomes the first “big league” to restart after the Covid-19 shutdown, with Bayern Munich heading for the title with Lewandowski back.
The German Football League decided last week to resume the first and second divisions from May 16 after two months suspension, with teams undergoing a seven-day isolation period after testing for the new coronavirus.
Bayern Munich, who are leading will begin the final nine matchdays with a trip to Union Berlin on Sunday with Borussia Dortmund, four points behind the Bavarians, playing Schalke 04 a day earlier.
“The Bundesliga manages to become the first big league worldwide to restart,” Bayern CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said.
“And with the Bundesliga as the only league to be broadcast on TV, I expect we will have an audience of a billion,” he told SportBild magazine on Wednesday.
Strict health regulations mean all games will be played without spectators and with only 300 essential staff and officials allowed in and around the stadiums.
Players have been told not to spit, celebrate in groups, or touch hands with teammates, while some clubs will use music and cardboard cutouts of fans to enhance the atmosphere at matches.
The Bundesliga is keen to complete the season by June 30 for contractual reasons and is aware of the risk of another suspension if there are many positive virus cases among players.
It has already warned of the “existence-threatening” financial situation of several clubs due to the suspension and another interruption would be disastrous for both the league and clubs.
This interruption has allowed Bundesliga’s top scorer, Robert Lewandowski to recover from a leg injury that would have ruled the Bayern forward out of several matches if the season was not halted.
Lewandoski has been fit for weeks and will be looking forward to picking up where he left off and add to his 25 league goals as he chases the season record of 40 set by Gerd Muller in 1972.
Dortmund, on 51 points, one ahead of RB Leipzig, are going to start without their injured captain.
“If Bayern are in top form then the title will be decided by them, especially when they have such a lead,” he said.
“But will still try to win this nine-game tournament to create the theoretical conditions to end very high up.”