Bundesliga returns with Borussia Dortmund aiming to continue title challenge in local derby


Borussia Dortmund host Schalke when the Bundesliga becomes the world’s first major league to return amid the coronavirus pandemic this weekend.

The widespread outbreak has taken over 300,000 lives across the globe but, in an attempt to boost morale, German football is set to return.

Most of the worldwide football has been suspended since the virus caused a huge shake-up of modern life – although countries like Belarus and Nicaragua never stopped.

Germany have felt the pain of 7,928 deaths from the pandemic – nothing near the feeling suffered by Britons who have lost friends or family within the UK total of in excess of 33,000 – but Chancellor authorised the return of the sport as lockdown restrictions eased.

Dortmund head into their Bundesliga restart fixture with Schalke just four points behind leaders Bayern Munich.

The Black and Yellows have aspirations of ending Munich’s seven-year run of consecutive title championships.

Just 22 miles separate Dortmund from Schalke’s VELTINS Arena, but it will not be familiar territory for either side with supporters barred from attending due to safety concerns.

Team News

Dortmund will be without two key midfielders when Schalke head to Signal Iduna Park at the weekend.

Emre Can and Axel Witsel will both miss the local derby but coach Lucien Favre hopes the duo will return soon.

The Black and Yellows will also be without Dan-Axel Zagadou (knee) when the Bundesliga returns after a two-month suspension.

Captain Marco Reus is also a doubt having injured a muscle in a German Cup outing in February.

BVB defender Nico Schulz is also injured and unlikely to feature in the game due to a muscle injury

Schalke have their own injury concerns with defender Ozan Kabak confirmed as unavailable for Saturday’s game.

Kabak’s defensive team-mate, Benjamin Stambouli, and midfielder Omar Mascarell will miss out through long-term injuries.

From the dug-outs

Two weeks ago three FC Koln officials tested positive for coronavirus; second-tier side Dynamo Dresden put their entire squad and coaching staff into isolation after two players tested positive.

The news put the Bundesliga’s return at doubt but Dortmund’s managing director said the league’s restart was vital for club’s financial futures.

“A positive test won’t be a catastrophe as long as we have the rules and recommendations for how to get along with it,” he said. “We are relieved and satisfied we can restart because without a restart not only Dortmund, but the Bundesliga would get in really big problems.”

He added: “We’d never prefer to play without spectators but in a crisis like this, without any alternative, going behind the curtain is better than no games.”

Schalke boss David Wagner spoke of his excitement towards the Bundesliga’s return.

“One huge advantage is that we aren’t just playing any old match, but rather the derby!

“Even though the fans can’t be with us in the stadium, I know that they will be fully backing us.”


About Author

When not busy covering local news for EssexLive, Matt Lee can be found in the press box at Portman Road covering Ipswich Town's return to the Championship and push for the Premier League.

Comments are closed.