Bundesliga Player Performance Levels Come Under Scrutiny
Much has been made of the financial impact that COVID-19 is currently having on clubs all around the world and although the fears attached to long-term survival are yet to dissipate, there is perhaps a more pertinent aspect to consider.
Due to player welfare being at the forefront of everyone’s minds over the past couple of months, the delicate issue of safety in both training and on-pitch environments, has been a hot topic for discussion.
While with competitions such as the Bundesliga now primed and ready for a restart, the focus will not only be on results, but also player performance and more importantly, the effects that any enforced hiatus will have had.
As clubs in Germany’s top two division prepare to take to the field once again, the enforced hiatus has created a feeling more akin to first day of the season and not the run-in for either the title race or avoiding relegation.
Usually if a club has a slow start, it can be excused by having ring rust or not finding their groove early on and although these excuses may still be labelled over the next few weeks, there can be little margin for error at the same time.
Take Bayern Munich under the previous stewardship of Niko Kovac, the former Croatian international had a rather forgettable stint at the Allianz Arena and by November of last year, he was already shown the door.
He was in charge of the defending Bundesliga champions for just four months and with the Bavarian outfit in disarray, many felt that this was finally the changing of the guard within the German football landscape.
However, the say a change is as good as a rest and with Hans-Dieter Flick subsequently installed, his charges now find themselves top of the table and poised to win an incredible eighth straight league championship.
Thankfully for Bayern, they had time to absorb a string of early poor performances and also make any necessary changes - something that will not be afforded to them or any of their other 17 top flight counterparts, in the last nine weeks of the season.
Which is why this pause could also end up being the great equaliser and with no one really knowing who has dealt with this current scenario the best, the scope for upsets and shock results will have increased considerably.
With training drills being reduced and participation groups scaled down, its pre-match practice but only really in name and although the Bundesliga is known for its fast-paced brand of action, the pace might be a little slower in the next few weeks.
Although with additional substitutions now permitted, any drop in pace could be mitigated by sharing the workload considerably and this decision to allow more replacements, was obviously made with decreasing fitness levels in mind.
Then again, the news that a major league is back on the agenda, is welcomed by all of football’s global community and with the eyes on the world now firmly on the Bundesliga, other competitions will be able to take lessons from this restart.
While although the product on show may prove to be a little rough around the edges, there’s no doubt that the final few weeks of the German season will prove to be entertaining as ever and who knows, there may just be a few twists and turns along the way.
Written by Dan Tracey
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