Football: the summer and beyond

The corona crisis is having an impact on our everyday lives and, by extension, on football too. The Bundesliga season was paused for more than two months from March to May. And the coming season will also be significantly affected by the virus. So when will football restart? And when will spectators be allowed back into the stadiums? Below, SPIELFELD takes a close look at the situation and explains what has changed, and what will change going forward.

When and where is football on a break?

The Bundesliga ended on 27 June. The relegation play-off second leg between the Bundesliga 2 and the 3. Liga on 11 July marked the end of the professional season in Germany. But the situation is different in other countries: the English Premier League and the Italian Serie A will run to the end of July and the start of August respectively.

When and where does it restart?

The Bundesliga will restart on 18 September, with the DFB Cup First Round ties pencilled in for 11 September. France's Ligue 1, whose 2019/20 campaign was prematurely cancelled in April, will get underway again on 22 August. It will be the first major European league to get its 2020/21 season underway.

What's the situation with European competitions?

The teams currently still in European competition will have a much shorter summer break. The Europa League Round of 16 second legs  which Bayer Leverkusen, Eintracht Frankfurt and VfL Wolfsburg are involved in  will take place on 5/6 August. The remaining Champions League Round of 16 ties will follow on 7/8 August. The Europa League final tournament will begin in North Rhine-Westphalia on 10 August. The final (21 August) will be held in Cologne's RheinEnergieSTADION. The Champions League final tournament will take place in Lisbon from 12 to 23 August.

When do TSG start in the Europa League?

Consequently, qualification for next season's Europa League and Champions League competitions will begin much later. Since TSG Hoffenheim finished in sixth place in the Bundesliga, they will not be involved when the Europa League qualifying rounds kick off on 17 September. They will instead enter straight into the Europa League group stages, for which the draw will take place on 2 October, with their first match on 22 October and their sixth and final group game on 10 December. The locations that had been awarded this year's finals will now get their turn in 2021: Danzig for the Europa League, Istanbul for the Champions League.

What do TSG's pre-season preparations look like?

Contrary to previous years, TSG Hoffenheim are only planning one training camp this summer rather than the usual two. This training camp will take place at Lake Tegernsee in Upper Bavaria in mid-August. The senior squad will return to the training ground in Zuzenhausen on 2 or 3 August.

What about the international calendar?

It has already been announced that the 2020 European Championships would be postponed until 2021 on account of the coronavirus. As a result, it has been stipulated that the 2020/21 season must be completed by mid-May so that the 2021 European Championship can start on time on 11 June. However, as the coming season starts later than it usually would, the 2020/21 season will be more tightly packed. The winter break in the Bundesliga has been cancelled. Meanwhile, the Europa League group phase will be played on a weekly basis (22/10, 29/10, 05/11, 26/11, 03/12 and 10/12). The complete DFL schedule can be found here.

Will there be an effect on transfers?

Normally, the transfer window opens between 1 July and 31 August. But given that last season was prolonged, the DFB and DFL have decided to split this period in accordance with a recommendation from UEFA. On 1 July – and only on this day – players were allowed to move between clubs. The transfer window then reopened on 15 July and will remain open for an exceptionally long time – until 5 October.

When is the national team back in action?

Before the Bundesliga season restarts, the German national team will be in international action twice. The DFB squad will welcome Spain to Stuttgart in the UEFA Nations League on 3 September, before subsequently travelling to Basel to take on Switzerland in the competition three days later (6 September). Additional fixtures have been scheduled as follows: Germany vs. Turkey (friendly, 7/10 in Cologne), Ukraine vs. Germany (Nations League, 10/10), Germany vs. Switzerland (Nations League, 13/10 in Cologne), Germany vs. Czechia (friendly, 11/11 in Leipzig), Germany vs. Ukraine (Nations League, 14/11 in Leipzig), Spain vs. Germany (Nations League, 17/11).

When can fans return to stadiums?

It remains uncertain whether and when fans will be allowed back into stadiums in the upcoming Bundesliga season. The state premiers and the federal government have forbidden major events (for which there is no hygiene concept and for which the addresses of the attendees cannot be gathered) until 31 October. DFL boss Christian Seifert explained at the beginning of July that the DFL and the clubs were working on concepts in order to possibly obtain permission for special matchday operations that would foresee the partial admission of spectators. In the Netherlands, fans will be allowed to enter stadiums again to a limited extent and under strict conditions from 1 September: only one-third of the capacity may be used, and spectators must keep a safe distance of 1.5 metres. In addition, fans should neither sing nor shout to prevent the virus from spreading.

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