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It has been more than three weeks since the resumption of the German Bundesliga, but things are far from ordinary. As the first elite league to restart, all the focus has been on how everything has turned out.
Rules were changed, the stadiums are empty, and there are no handshakes. It is the new order of the game, and the world must obey. With other top European leagues set to restart in a matter of days, we look at five things we learned from the Bundesliga. Meanwhile, fans betting with Betway will be looking up to the restart of the English Premier League, the Spanish La Liga, and the Italian Serie A.
When the German Football Federation and the Bundesliga tabled their recommendations to the government, one of the main talking points was how the league would ensure player protection.
Teams arrived at their respective stadiums in several buses to facilitate social distancing among players and staff. Unlike in the past, no players were allowed to share seats in the bus, or even on the terraces.
FACE MASKS ALL OVER
We are used to seeing players leaving their team buses with their phones, wearing headphones, but something was different this time; they all had face masks. They weren't allowed to remove them until they were called out by their coaches to get into the field of play.
STADIUMS WERE TOO SILENT
Everything went on as usual on the pitch, but the stands were silent. There were no fans allowed inside the stadium, as police were deployed around facilities to ensure no entry for unauthorized personnel.
The Signal Iduna Park, the biggest stadium in Germany, and home of heavyweights Borussia Dortmund is usually a noisy stadium. It isn't the case anymore. There is no rendition of "You'll Never Walk Alone," just the sound of players calling out on each other for a pass, and coaches shouting instructions from the line. Stadiums are unusually quiet; you can hear the sound of players knocking the ball around.
THE CROWN BELONGS TO THE USUAL SUSPECTS
It would be unfair to the chasing pack of the likes of RB Leipzig, Borussia Monchengladbach, and Bayer Leverkusen, but this season is going to Bayern Munich or Dortmund. The jury is still out, but from how the first three matches have been played, it is easy to see the gap in class between the top two sides and the rest.
RB Leipzig started the season so well; people believed it was time they toppled Bayern Munich for their first-ever Bundesliga title. Things are different, and the new boys are stuttering. Disappointing draws have seen them lose ground to the bigger boys.
On the other hand, it is business as usual for the Bavarians and Dortmund. They are dealing with everything thrown at them in style, with the league's top scorer Robert Lewandowsky doing what he does best, and the Dortmund front line exchanging goals like shirts. Betway has consistently played them as favorites in every game.
PLAYERS ARE UNFIT
We cannot say the same after watching the fourth game after the restart, but these are not the players we are used to seeing during the regular season. Football took a break for more than two months, and clearly, time took its toll on most of the players. Some matches appear more like training sessions, but the lack of aggression could be blamed partly on players avoiding too much body contact and tough tackling.
In a few weeks, we'll have more leagues back on our screens. The rules will be the same, and that is the new normal. Either way, enjoy football, and bet on all the action with Betway, and follow live streams or watch on TV.