Sports | May 6, 2020 11:13 am

Germany’s Bundesliga Will Be First Major European League to Return to Action

The earliest possible return date is May 15, with a May 22 start also under consideration.

Germany's Bundesliga Will Be First Major Soccer League to Return
Lars Lukas Mai of FC Bayern Muenchen (front) controls the ball. (M. Donato/FC Bayern via Getty)
FC Bayern via Getty Images

Germany’s Bundesliga will become Europe’s first major soccer league — and the largest sporting league to date, period — to return to the pitch amid the COVID-19 pandemic, with the country’s federation announcing that play is expected to resume later this month.

With the country’s government on board with the return, the heads of the German Football League will make an exact decision about the Bundesliga’s return date when they meet on Thursday. Fans will not be allowed into stadiums during matches, since a ban on mass gatherings in Germany has been extended until at least August 31.

The earliest possible return date is May 15, but a May 22 start date is also in play. With nine matchdays left to play, the league is committed to finish its season by June 30. Teams have been training in small groups since early April. Clubs will head into the resumed season using extended rosters, but it is still not clear what will happen if a player or staff member tests positive for COVID-19.

Professional soccer leagues in France, Belgium and the Netherlands have canceled their seasons, while leagues in Italy, Spain and England are hoping to return in June. Perennial favorites Bayern Munich currently lead the Bundesliga by four points.

“The eyes of Europe and all of the world will be on us,” Bayern Munich captain Manuel Neuer wrote in an op-ed in the German newspaper FAZ on Wednesday.

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