A potential restart of the Bundesliga season edged a little closer today after the German Health Minister, Jens Spahn, and the Prime Ministers of North-Rhine Westphalia and Bavaria, Armin Laschet and Markus Söder, told the newspaper BILD that they were in favour of a resumption of matchday operations starting 9 May. The approval of the health authorities and the Robert Koch Institute will be required if Bundesliga matches are to be held behind closed doors.

"It will be a show of trust from politicians if we are allowed to resume playing from 9 May. Had the league not presented such a well thought-out concept, politicians might well have decided differently. We are now in their debt," explained Hans-Joachim Watzke in the evening. The Borussia Dortmund chief executive officer took part in the "BILD-Talk" conference call along with the German Health Minister, the two Prime Ministers, the DFL chief executive Christian Seifert and Bayern Munich chief executive Karl-Heinz Rummenigge.

Laschet said that the DFL has presented a "well thought-out concept", which "shows that there are safeguards. I could imagine that we could return to playing behind closed doors."

After consulting the professional association "Akkreditierte Laborore in der Medizin" in Germany (ALM e.V.), the newspaper Die Welt had already established and reported last week that there were sufficient capacities available for the medical tests that needed to be carried out: "The capacity of the 107 laboratories that have recently participated in the ALM data collection was increased to 110,000 tests on a daily basis. That makes a total of 550,000 tests per week. But only 294,000 tests were performed during Holy Week."

Hans-Joachim Watzke reiterated: "Football does not have a special role. Car manufacturers are resuming production, construction sites are being worked on, hairdressers will open soon, other shops too. We'll go about our work in the Bundesliga; it's not a hobby, it's a profession."

Nonetheless, Söder warned that it would be a "tightrope walk", adding: "We now have to be careful not to overdo it or be frivolous. Games with crowds in the stadium are completely unthinkable." But at the same time, he admitted that "a weekend with football is much more bearable than a weekend without football".

German Health Minister Jens Spahn explained: "Given the overall concept, games behind closed doors are definitely possible again. What is decisive is that the infection risk is minimised. A piece of normality would return for millions of football fans from 9 May, even if the stadiums are empty."

There are nine rounds of matches left to play. Matchday 33, which would have seen Borussia Dortmund visit Rasenballsport Leipzig, was initially scheduled to take place on 9 May. "My hope is that we do not lose a single tradition-steeped club in the Bundesliga during this process. That's what we're fighting for," declared Watzke, adding: "I hope that it will bring many fans some joy to see their clubs back in action come May."
Boris Rupert