June 29 – The German Bundesliga became the first major European league to conclude after the unprecedented coronavirus shutdown in March with serial champions Bayern Munich cruising the victory at Wolfsburg this weekend, Thomas Muller making history and Werder Bremen condemned to the promotion-relegation play-off.
In the middle of May, Schalke 04 and Borussia Dortmund kickstarted the resumption of the German topflight with the ‘Rivierderby’, a match that gained the worldwide attention as the Bundesliga was the first major European league to return to action after the coronavirus suspended play in March.
To the envy of other European leagues, Germany introduced the ’new normal,’ including fake crowd noises, five substitutes, social distancing and face masks on the bench, temperature checks and disinfected balls, and completed its domestic league this weekend, with Berlin set to stage the German cup final between Bayer Leverkussen and Bayern Munich this Saturday.
The quick restart, enabled by Germany’s performant response to the coronavirus pandemic, was largely driven by the need to avoid a rebate from TV broadcasters. Last week, the DFL was the first major league to negotiate a new rights agreement in times of the coronavirus and, even if there was a slight drop-off in value, the market remained stable. The new deal with Sky and streaming giant Dazn is worth €4.3 billion, down from the previous €4.6 billion agreement.
Bayern Munich can seal the double this weekend after they clinched an eighth consecutive Bundesliga crown a fortnight ago. On Saturday, the Bavarians were in typically ruthless fashion dispatching Wolfsburg 4-0 away from home on the final day of the season.
Thomas Muller, who, along with Robert Lewandowski, has been rejuvenated by coach Hansi Flick, provided a record 21st assist in the match before scoring his club’s 100th Bundesliga goal of the season in the final minute of the match.
At the bottom of the table, Paderborn and Dusseldorf were relegated. Werder Bremem’s thumping 6-1 win over FC Koln handed the club a lifeline, avoiding direct relegation. Bremen will encounter Heidenhem in the promotion-relegation play-off after Heidenhem lost 3-0 to league leaders Arminia Bielefeld, who gained direct promotion to the Bundesliga alongside VFB Stuttgart.
Contact the writer of this story, Samindra Kunti, at moc.l1594070710labto1594070710ofdlr1594070710owedi1594070710sni@o1594070710fni1594070710