Bundesliga Weekly vol.17: spectators return to stadiums

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In this Bundesliga Weekly, spectators return to stadiums in a pilot project, conflict between Salihamidzic and Flick resolved, legendary Lothar Matthäus turns 60.

Spectators have been missing during the second wave of COVID-19 lockdown. We witnessed ghost games instead. Although there is talk of a third wave of COVID-19 in Germany, some regions will begin a pilot project towards the gradual return of spectators to events.

Hansa Rostock is the first professional football team to partake in the project when they lock horns with Hallescher FC during the weekend. The health ministry in Rostock approved the health concept for 777 spectators.

Hansa is conscious of its role in the project, “For all the joy of being the first club to be allowed to play in front of spectators again, we are at the same time aware of the immense responsibility we bear with this pioneering role.”

Berlin also approved a pilot project for professional sport in three venues. They are Max-Schmeling-Halle, Mercedes-Benz-Arena and Alten Försterei. There is speculation that Union Berlin could play against Hertha in a derby, but there is no confirmation yet.

The teams have a health concept in place to guide against spreading of the virus and there is a political will for a return to normalcy. Is it too early? We will never know, however, it is a pilot project, and all pilot projects are mostly a trip to the unknown. I hope it ends well.

Conflict between Salihamidzic and Flick ‘resolved’

Bayern Munich prides itself with the mia san mia mentality. A team with excellence as a benchmark for success always leads to friction sometimes. Bayern Munich used to be called FC Hollywood for the constant drama.

I read with relief in SZ that the strife between sport director, Hasan Salihamidzic and coach Hansi Flick is ‘resolved’.

The conflict was because of a different interpretation of roles. Flick, according to SZ, called for a strengthening of the team a year ago because of injuries through the media. Salihamidzic did not like the approach. It was the beginning of minor differences that led to a major escalation. A highlight was when Flick told Salihamidzic to, “shut your mouth”, in the team bus.

They have agreed to settle the differences, but Hansi Flick’s role as current coach of Bayern Munich is in doubt with the post of the national team coach open after Jogi Löw’s exit soon. Flick’s standing in the team emboldened by the silver wares, means Bayern must agree to some concession, especially with team selection, if they are planning with him long term.

Bayern needs Flick and maybe Flick needs Bayern, however, relationships are not immutable. It is subject to mutual respect and intentionality to make it work.

Lothar Matthäus turns 60

The legendary Lothar Matthäus will turn 60 this weekend. It amazes me that Matthäus, though, respected worldwide but in Germany; he is just a pundit. He has never coached a Bundesliga team. However, Matthäus is an icon and I congratulate him as he turns 60.

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