Just over two months after it went on hiatus, the Bundesliga makes its triumphant return this weekend.
If all goes to plan, there will be eight games from round 29, with many will be broadcast across the Fox network in the US, starting with the Revierderby: Borussia Dortmund vs. Schalke at 9.30 ET on Saturday.
It’s highly unlikely that any other major league will return before June—if at all—so why is it that the Bundesliga is able to return so soon?
Why can German action return when countries who share a border with them—like France, Belgium and the Netherlands—have all made the decision to cancel their top flight seasons?
Well, Germany has a low COVID-19 mortality rate due to one of the world’s best responses to the pandemic.
The key to their success has been mass testing, which is being ramped up even more as lockdown measures are being lifted, and a very well resourced universal healthcare system that hasn’t been strained as hard as healthcare systems in other nations.
Much like South Korea—whose soccer league was able to return last weekend—they have been praised for early diagnosis, early quarantine and a rapid response.
The German Soccer Federation has carried out over 2,000 tests on players and staff in its top two leagues and teams were able to return to training under strict social distancing conditions a few weeks ago.
Of course, German soccer is not completely out of the woods: the aforementioned 2,000 Bundesliga tests came back with 10 positive cases, FC Cologne suffered a recent outbreak and Dresden will not play in the second tier this weekend due to an outbreak that has required the entire team to isolate.
A significant breakout at another team could put a halt to the proceedings in Germany.
But for now, the signs are good that the show will go on.
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