Five takeaways from the Bundesliga comeback

Here are the five things we learned from one of the oddest weekends in the history of football.

Germany gave fans across the world their first taste of elite football for two months. Is the sign of a new normal fans will now have to get used to?   -  Reuters

Bayern Munich maintained its four-point lead at the top of the Bundesliga as Germany gave fans across the world their first taste of elite football for two months amid empty stands and stringent hygiene guidelines designed to curtail the spread of the coronavirus.

Here are the five things we learned from one of oddest weekends in the game's history.

READ: Bundesliga the example to follow - La Liga chief Tebas offers congratulations

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Union Berlin's bare terraces   -  Getty Images

 

A vision of the future?

The Bundesliga has a head start of at least a month on the other major leagues aiming to restart this summer, and some of strange scenes seen in Germany will become the new normal should football return to England, Italy and Spain.

La Liga and Serie A are aiming for mid-June as a potential start date for their suspended seasons, and fans in both countries may have to get used to silent, empty stadiums, socially-distanced goal celebrations, footballers in face masks and the spectre of players catching COVID-19.

Italy's clubs for example are debating a medical protocol that currently rules that if a player tests positive for the virus he and anyone who has come into close contact with him must be quarantined for two weeks, in contrast to Germany where only the player is isolated.

How Bundesliga teams fare under their hygiene regulations could provide the model for the coming months.

READ: It’s TV at home as German football returns with ‘ghost games’

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Bayern celebrates against Union   -  Getty Images

 

Bayern show no ring-rustiness

Heading into his team's tough trip to giant-killer Union Berlin, Bayern Munich coach Hansi Flick wondered whether his team would be able to last a full 90 minutes after only being given the go-ahead to resume full team training last week.

However a dominant display in the German capital, against a team that had already beaten two different league leaders at home this season, showed why Bayern is the strongly-tipped to win its  eighth straight league title.

Bayern had two thirds of possession at the Alten Foesterei stadium, and once Robert Lewandowski slotted home his 26th league goal of the season from the penalty spot five minutes before the break, the result was never in doubt as the champions went on to claim a 2-0 win.

READ: Bundesliga: Lewy's 40th goal, 50 for Bayern under Flick

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It was business as usual for Dortmund's Erling Haaland.   -  Getty Images

 

Haaland talks on the pitch

In the aftermath of Dortmund's 4-0 thumping of Ruhr rival Schalke, teen striking sensation Erling Braut Haaland was a young man of few words with the awaiting media desperate for something from the 19-year-old goal machine.

However, according to AFP subsidiary SID, Haaland mumbled a total of eight English words to reporters, including “Why not?” and “Yes”.

 

It didn't really matter, as Haaland had done his talking on the pitch, picking up where he left off before the world went into virus lockdown.

The Norwegian, who turns 20 this summer, swept home the opener, the league's first goal of its restart, before laying on the first of Raphael Guerreiro's brace, showing once again that he is Europe's player to watch.

He has 41 goals this season in all competitions and 13 for Dortmund in just 12 games since joining in January from Red Bull Salzburg.

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In the dugouts, players and coaching staff wore masks and sat at a distance of 2.5 metres as per the instructions laid out before the restart.   -  Reuters

 

All eyes on Germany

Specialist website DWDL.de reported on Sunday that over six million people in Germany watched the first top-tier matches in two months, with 3.68 million tuning into broadcaster Sky Germany's subscription channels on Saturday.

A further 2.45 million tuned into the 'Konferenz' -- a simultaneous live broadcast of the five afternoon games -- on free-to-air Sports News Channel.

Sky Germany had a market share of 27.4 percent on their pay-to-view channels and 18.2 percent on their free channel.

The German Football League (DFL) told AFP that matches were televised by more than 70 broadcasters worldwide, all on previously-agreed deals.

British newspaper the Daily Mail reports that UK viewers were left frustrated as the BT Sport application showing the matches buckled under the weight of demand from fans.

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Ghost games   -  Getty Images

 

Fans protest 'ghost games'

Germany has one of the world's most vibrant football fan cultures, with raucous fans packing stadiums where entrance fees are priced at a fraction of what Premier League fans have to shell out.

And while millions tuned in to watch some live football, a significant portion of match-going supporters are livid at the idea of games going ahead without the noisy backdrop provided by German fans.

On Saturday Augsburg fans left a banner inside their team's ground which read “Football gives life -- your business is sick”.

St Pauli, meanwhile, on Sunday published a picture on Twitter of a banner that read: “Football lives through its fans! Without you, it's all nothing!”

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