It was reported that over a billion people watched the resumption of the Bundesliga when Borussia Dortmund took on Schalke on May 16.
That is an audience unlike anything the German top flight has ever witnessed before and the question now has to be, given that the eyes of the world have been on Germany’s best; has the Bundesliga captured a brand new audience?
First things first, even if the Bundesliga was the only football around the globe available to watch on the telly, it was hardly like anything we had ever seen before.
Eerie stadiums and echoed shouts greeted football fans from across the globe and in many respects, a lot of fans were left feeling rather numb. The peculiarity of that opening weekend carried on when the Bavarians made their way to the nation’s capital to do battle.
Happy to be back 🙌 pic.twitter.com/go2xzsmFT2
— Erling Haaland (@ErlingHaaland) May 16, 2020
The glorious May sunshine on a warm Sunday afternoon in Berlin may have shone down on Bayern Munich’s opening 2-0 win against Union but the football on offer had you nodding off into a deep haze before half time.
Now, that is no direct fault of the Bundesliga’s, indeed, if that match had been played with a crowd then you can be sure Union’s fierce little ground would have been rocking. Alas, it wasn’t and fans around the world have been left with a sleepy impression of the Bundesliga.
But then you have the title race which could work as a shot in the arm to the Bundesliga. Going into the resumption, all the talk was about Dortmund wrestling back control over Bayern Munich with the conventional wisdom suggesting that a frantic battle down the home stretch could draw in a mass of new fans.
Only, in the third game back, Dortmund took on Bayern at Signal Iduna Park and lost 1-0, resulting in a seven-point gap opening up at the top of the table. Right then, that was fun whilst it lasted.
The last outside hope has to be that fans who have never watched the Bundesliga before took a shine to the kits they wear, otherwise, it’s hard to see how the Bundesliga would have nestled its way into the hearts of spectators.
— FC Bayern English (@FCBayernEN) May 26, 2020
In fairness, many of the off-putting features of the Bundesliga as far as stadium atmosphere goes or the lack of it, in this case, will be present in all the returning leagues.
Basically, ghostly atmospheres won’t be a problem exclusive to the Bundesliga but where the other leagues may actually draw in genuine interest will be with their respective storylines.
Take England’s top flight, for example, where Leicester City were one of the favorites to finish in the top four in the Premier League betting before the break, while Sheffield United were among the favorites to finish in the top six after a fairytale of a first season back in the Premier League.
That’s the beauty of the Premier League, it isn’t nearly as black and white with such a huge discrepancy between the very best and the rest, like in the Bundesliga.
The hope now is at least, that the Premier League will do what it does best and entertain the entire world with its unrivaled narratives when it returns.
As for the Bundesliga, well, emulating the Premier League was always going to be a tough act to follow. Sadly, the predictability of German’s top flight was there for all to see and it now looks like a foregone conclusion that Bayern Munich will win their eighth league title in a row.