Coronavirus: Doll hails DFL 'brilliant concept' as Bundesliga gears up

The Bundesliga will become the first of Europe's major football leagues to return during the COVID-19 crisis and Thomas Doll is impressed.

Former Hannover coach Thomas Doll is upbeat about the return of Germany's top-flight football.   -  Bongarts

Former Germany star Thomas Doll is enthused by the Bundesliga's pending return and praised the German Football League (DFL) for getting the professional game up and running once more.

The Bundesliga and 2. Bundesliga will resume on Saturday, with the Revierderby clash between Borussia Dortmund and Schalke a standout fixture.

Bayern Munich continue its pursuit of an eighth consecutive title at Union Berlin on Sunday.

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A detailed programme of coronavirus testing and social distancing measures have been put in place by the DFL to ensure the smoothest progress possible after the German government granted permission for sport to return, and ex-Hamburg and Eintracht Frankfurt midfielder Doll is impressed.

"I am more than ready for the restart," Doll told Stats Perform. "Everybody who loves football must have been missing it really bad - even if we know that there are a lot of topics, which are even more important than football.

"I also talked to a lot of guys, everybody is happy about the restart. There is a difference between an arena with spectators and an empty one, but I think everybody is aware of the fact, that there is no other possibility right now."

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An extensive roll-out of COVID-19 testing to all of Germany's top 36 clubs has formed a key pillar in the restart plans.

Cologne entertains Mainz on Sunday despite confirming three positive tests – reported to be two players and a physiotherapist – last week, while Dynamo Dresden's 2. Bundesliga meetings with Hannover and Furth will be rescheduled after their squad were placed in quarantine for two weeks.

"I think the restart can succeed, if everybody is acting according to this brilliant concept of the DFL, which is not that easy to handle," Doll said. "If everybody sticks to this it can work out.

"We already saw a lot of tests, to I think about 2,000 persons only in the Bundesliga. Cologne were affected already, unfortunately now it is Dynamo Dresden and Hannover. That's too bad, because you don't want to be behind the other teams."

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The Bundesliga's restart plans were cast in an unhelpful light when experienced Hertha Berlin attacker Salomon Kalou posted a now-deleted Facebook video of himself flouting social distancing and safety measures at the club's training groud.

Hertha suspended the Ivory Coast international and Doll feels the club had little choice.

"There was no other possibility to protect the club," he added. "The decision was not only made by [head coach] Bruno Labbadia, the whole club decided to suspend Kalou.

"By now Kalou realises his mistake. But that's no excuse for his failure.

"He is not 18 anymore, so at his age you should be a little bit smarter. He already had paid his price for that. He put Hertha in a very bad situation, so they only had the option to pull the ripcord."

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