28 May 2020 – The long wait is over.
- The Women’s Bundesliga resumes in Germany on 29 May
- Opening games are Wolfsburg against Koln and 1. FFC Frankfurt against Sand
- DFB Cup will also restart
After the men’s Bundesliga returned to action in Germany last week, the women’s top flight will also resume on Friday 29 May across the country. The foundation for them to do so is the hygiene concept created by the ‘sport medicine / special match operations task force’, which was drawn up jointly by the German Football Association (DFB) and the German Football League (DFL) to ensure strict hygiene guidelines and continuous testing and monitoring, among other measures.
The league will restart on Matchday 17 as defending champions Wolfsburg take on Koln, while seven-time winners 1. FFC Frankfurt face Sand.
Just like in many leagues around the world, in the middle of March the decision was made to suspend the Women’s Bundesliga in order to curb the spread of the coronavirus. Just before the hiatus Wolfsburg cemented their place at the league summit with their 15th win of the season, a 6-0 rout of bottom club FF USV Jena. Meanwhile, Bayern Munich were held to a 2-2 draw by Duisburg but retained second place in the table, leaving them just one point ahead of Hoffenheim, who they will play at home in their first fixture of the restart.
Hoffenheim have been the surprise package this season and, after finishing the previous campaign in a club-best sixth place, they have shown considerable improvement and now have designs on qualifying for the UEFA Women’s Champions League.
“The core of the team have been playing together for a long time now,” Hoffenheim head coach Jurgen Ehrmann explained to kicker.de. “The girls know our philosophy inside and out and that’s paying off. On top of that, the togetherness in the team is fantastic and the players are extremely ambitious and hard-working.” It will be intriguing to see how his side respond after the enforced football-free period.
What happens next?
The season’s final round of fixtures is planned for 28 June. There are six matchdays still to be played, plus a further two rearranged games.
Wolfsburg lead the way heading into the business end of the campaign on 46 points, eight ahead of their closest pursuers, leaving them well placed to secure a fourth consecutive league title and sixth overall.
Matters are considerably tighter in the race for the Champions League berths, with just a single point separating Bayern and Hoffenheim ahead of their head-to-head encounter on Saturday.
At the opposite end of the table, safety is very much within Koln’s reach. Sascha Glass’s side are just two points adrift of a non-relegation spot but still have two games in hand.
The women’s league is not the only competition set to resume, as the Women’s DFB Cup will also start up again. The quarter-final fixtures, which are as follows, have been scheduled for 2/3 June:
- Bayer Leverkusen – Hoffenheim
- Arminia Bielefeld – Sand
- Turbine Potsdam – Essen
- Gutersloh – Wolfsburg
The semi-finals are to take place on 10/11 June, with the final in Cologne on 4 July. As the federal government has decreed that mass events are forbidden until at least 31 August 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, the final will also be held behind closed doors.
What they said
“As a footballer I’m very happy that we’re finally able to play again. It was a very long break. Now we can finally do what we enjoy doing again. For me it’s also important that the structured day-to-day routine with the team has started up again. And now we have an objective in sight. We know exactly what we’re training for, which is why I’m very happy about this decision.”
Maximiliane Rall (Hoffenheim)
“Continuing the season sends out a strong signal for women’s football and the equal treatment of professional male and female athletes. We’re well aware of the huge responsibility that comes with resuming the season. I’m certain that our clubs will follow the guidelines laid out in the hygiene concept in a disciplined manner.”
Hannelore Ratzeburg (DFB Vice President)
“It’s a nice relief that we can play again. It will be very intense until the end of June, but we’ve been training a lot. We’ve started training as a team again and everybody is in top shape. We’re all professionals and we all did the work. I feel good, I feel ready – and that goes for my team-mates as well.”
Sara Bjork Gunnarsdottir (Wolfsburg)