Football update and Bundesliga review

There is midweek Bundesliga football in Germany to look forward to

Will Reilly provides an update on what is happening in Europe’s top football leagues

Football update

The resumption of top-flight European football has moved closer with the announcement on Wednesday (May 6th) that the German Bundesliga season will restart in the second half of this month.

The Bundesliga’s General Assembly will convene in Frankfurt on Thursday (May 7th) to discuss the health and safety protocol relating to Covid-19. They are also expected to announce a start date and fixture list for the remainder of the Bundesliga season. Each side has nine matches left to play, except for Eintracht Franfurt and Werder Bremen, who have ten to play. Our review of the season so far can be found below.

An announcement on Bundesliga 2, which is also expected to resume this month, is expected on Thursday, too.

 

Here’s the current situation with Europe’s top leagues.

In France, the Ligue 1 season has been abandoned and will not resume until September when a new season will, hopefully, begin. PSG were crowned as champions despite the truncated season.

The Eredivisie season in Holland was also abandoned, with the season being declared null and void..

Last Friday (May 1st), all 20 Serie A clubs in Italy confirmed their desire to complete the 2019-20 season but the Italian sports minister sounded doubtful.

In Spain, testing of players for coronavirus began on Tuesday {May 5th) ahead of segregated training on Thursday and an intended resumption of the La Liga season.

It was reported on Tuesday (May 5th) that Portugal’s Primeira Liga season would resume on May 30th.

Last Friday (May 1st), English Premier League clubs confirmed their desire to complete the season with the idea that neutral venues would be used. This season’s remaining matches, if played, will, as with all countries, take place behind closed doors with no crowd in attendance.

Germany, as detailed above, will lead the way on football’s resumption. Players having been back in training since April.

The German minister for the interior and sports, Horst Seehofer, has been supportive of plans to complete the season. However, he has stressed that, if any player or member of management tests positive for Covid-19 once the season restarts, the entire club, plus their most-recent opponent, will have to go into quarantine for 14 days.

On Tuesday (May 5th), reports emerged that the German health minister Jens Spahn had backed a resumption date for the Bundesliga season of May 15th. Final approval of this, and news of any attached conditions plus the fixture list, are expected, as referred to earlier, on Thursday (May 7th).

 

The Bundesliga season so far

Prior to its enforced break, the Bundesliga looked set for a thrilling finish. The league table as it stands is as follows. Each side has so far played 27 games and has nine left to play, except Eintracht Franfurt and Werder Bremen, who have ten:

 

1. Bayern Munich 55 points, Goal Difference of 47

2. Borussia Dortmund 51, GD 35

3. RB Leipzig 50, GD 36

4. Borussia Mönchengladbach 49, GD 19

5. Bayer Leverkusen 47, GD 15

 

Five points then separate Schalke (37 points), who are sixth, from Cologne in tenth.

Despite having lost just three games this season, Leipzig had got into the habit of drawing games, drawing four and winning two of their last six Bundesliga matches. However, they won four and drew one of their first five league matches this season so could well land running again following the enforced break.

Possible Liverpool target Timo Werner has now scored just once in Leipzig’s last six matches, although he has scored five in his last nine league starts. He, too, might have benefited from the break.

Champions for the last seven years, Bayern Munich are favourites to gain their 29th Bundesliga title in total. The league was formed in 1963.

Successive league defeats for Bayern on November 30th and December 7th were followed by 14 wins and one draw (in all competitions) with a clean sheet being kept in each of their last four games.

Robert Lewandowski missed their last three matches owing to a hamstring injury but is fit again. The Polish striker has scored a remarkable 39 goals in 33 appearances for Bayern this season.

Borussia Dortmund were in the process of finishing the season well, having won seven of their last eight league matches, their only defeat coming at Bayer Leverkusen (4-3) on February 8th.

Recent acquisition, teenager Erling Braut Håland, had been garnering the headlines with 12 goals in his first 11 appearances for the side, many of them coming from the substitutes’ bench. However, hot property Jadon Sancho has also had an eye-catching season, which includes 13 goals in his last 18 Dortmund appearances.

By contrast, Borussia Mönchengladbach’s form had become patchy, with five wins, three draws and four losses in their last 12 league games. In the last eight of them, they failed to keep a clean sheet. On the upside, a return to the line-up saw Lars Stindl score five goals in his last four starts.

Bayer Leverkusen had been finishing the season at a gallop, with 12 wins, one draw and one defeat in their last 14 matches in all competitions. They scored three-or-more goals in six of the last nine of those games, although clean sheets were tougher to come by, with just two from their last eleven matches.

 

Verdict

In what looks a three-horse race, Bayern Munich are going to be a tough nut to crack, but with Håland and Sancho having such good seasons, Dortmund are still in with a big chance and, with RB Leipzig potentially likely to benefit more than most from the break, a return to their form from earlier in the campaign would certainly see them in the hunt.

 

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