MUMBAI: Taking the first step towards normalcy in sports, the Bundesliga is set to take centre stage globally on Saturday, 16th May, as the first of Europe's elite football leagues to resume official competition for its 2019-20 season since the world was disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Even though the matches are to be played behind closed doors, for fans across footballing universe this return to live sporting action shines as a positive ray of hope.
After a hiatus of two months, Star Sports, India’s leading sports broadcaster, will show exclusive live action of the Bundesliga, on Star Sports Select 1/HD & Star Sports Select 2/HD starting 16th May. The league has another nine game weeks to go and all the football fans can rejoice at having the chance to watch one of the most exciting leagues this season.
A slow start to the season by current leaders and traditional powerhouse Bayern Munich saw them in an unfamiliar 4th position before Hans-Dieter Flick was handed over the reins of the team. With a fresh dose of energy and a new approach, Bayern Munich turned things around quickly registering no losses in their last 10 games which saw them move to the top of the table.
In hot pursuit of the leaders, sitting just 4 points back are Borussia Dortmund, who are scheduled to play against fierce rivals FC Schalke on Saturday in the ‘Revierderby’. RB Leipzig who are just 4 points adrift off Bayern and 1 off Dortmund round off the top 3 in one of the closest seasons in a really long time.
The top 5 teams are separated by only 9 points and the title race could see some interesting ebbs and flows to keep the interest alive in the coming weeks. In football crazy Germany, keeping in adherence with social distancing norms, Matchday 26 will see Bundesliga being played in empty stadiums without fans as the clubs return to competitive play after a forced 2-month hiatus.
Former Borussia Dortmund defender Patrick Owomoyela spoke about the title race on Star Sports show, Football United, saying: “It’s good that it’s a close race, Bayern has to come to Dortmund for another game. This is an opportunity for Dortmund to snatch 3 points off them. Everything is possible. It’s mind games down the stretch as we are resuming play after 2 months because of the lockdown. The first game back for us is the Revierderby and I hope we win, as it’s a home game for us, but the glitch is that the home advantage that we would normally have isn’t there. It will all come down to who is more focused and determined in this game.”
Bundesliga has steadily gained a fan following especially for clubs like Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund. Over the last decade, Bayern Munich’s dominance and Dortmund’s attacking style of play has caught the eyes of many football fans in India. However, teams like RB Leipzig, Schalke 04, VFL Wolfsburg, Bayer Leverkusen and FC Cologne have also proven that they are willing to battle in every match. The players in Bundesliga have been sought after by all top clubs from around the world and it will be interesting to watch them back live in action.