The shock announcement from Germany's Robert Koch Institute on Friday that Germany would be be doing away with its classification of "COVID variant" areas obviously had huge ramifications for footballers in the Bundesrepublik.
While many German footballing professionals are now headed to their national teams in the UK, website Sportbuzzer and German footballing magazine Kicker released their own bombshell on Sunday evening.
When the Bundesliga returns, it appears as if the highly anticipated showdown between second-place Leipzig and defending champions Bayern München will take place before real live fans.
And so it begins...
|Red Bull Arena.||Photo: GEPA Pictures/Christian Schroedter/POOL via Picture Point|
Although the hosting club itself has thus far declined to comment publicly, journalists at Kicker and Sportbuzzer report that the first Bundesliga match to feature supporters in the seats since October 24th, 2020 will be announced tomorrow morning at a 10:00 a.m. press conference in Leipzig.
The German federal state of Saxony has received approval to begin re-implementing the hygiene concept it used this past autumn. Attendance will be restricted far below the 20-percent-capacity cap in use through the first five rounds of 2020/21 Bundesliga play. Only 999 spectators will be allowed in for this first match.
Kicker and Sportbuzzer claim that Leipzig mayor Burkhard Jung will confirm the plan during the Monday morning presser. Rapid tests and additional security measures will be added to the concept already used in September and October of last year.
While it may constitute a relatively small first step, but with plenty of other sporting organizations standing at the ready, a snowball effect cannot be ruled out.
Germany's federalist constitutional structure means that only a explicit directive from the governing regime can prevent all 16 individual states from immediately beginning to plan their own concepts over the international break. The recent actions of the RKI suggest that no further such directives will be forthcoming.
Over the weekend, 777 fans were already permitted into to watch a third-tier match between Hansa Rostock and Hallescher FC in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern.