German Soccer Faces uphill Battle to Convince Public, Fans

DÜSSELDORF, Germany — The German politicians have been persuaded to allow soccer to resume in the country despite the coronavirus pandemic. The public, it seems, still needs to be convinced.

Three polls from German broadcasters published Thursday and Friday showed at least half of respondents saying they are against the plan to restart the season.

The top two divisions will resume on May 16 following a two-month suspension, playing in empty stadiums. The decision was made after German Chancellor Angela Merkel met with state governors on Wednesday and gave their approval.

But even German soccer's hardcore fans — whose colorful displays are usually a major part of the league's marketing appeal — have their doubts about playing without fans inside the venues.

"Soccer without fans is nothing," read a joint statement from several Bayern Munich fan groups after the league decided Thursday on a restart date. "Soccer alone in front of the TV at home can be nice, too. But it would surely never have developed into a mass phenomenon."

When the Bundesliga hosted its first game in an empty stadium in March, shortly before the league was suspended, hundreds of Borussia Mönchengladbach fans gathered outside and celebrated a win with the players. Fan groups from various clubs have asked their members not to stage a repeat when games resume.

High-profile German athletes in Olympic sports, too, have raised concerns about special treatment for soccer at a time when they can't compete and some can't train.

When the season was suspended, Bayern held a four-point lead over Borussia Dortmund. Leipzig was a point further behind in third.

"What happened earlier this season doesn't matter any more. Everyone's starting from scratch," Bayern coach Hansi Flick told the dpa news agency. "Games without spectators are something particular. It's all about the mentality."

Bayern players trained in Munich on Friday on a field enclosed by a large curtain before moving into a hotel for a quarantine period — a league requirement — ahead of their first game on May 17 at Union Berlin.

Other clubs are finding creative ways to adapt.

Werder Bremen coach Florian Kohfeldt said he is moving training sessions to the stadium as his team prepares to host Bayer Leverkusen on May 18.

"We're training all the time in the same atmosphere that there will be on game day," Kohfeldt said.


LISBON, Portugal (AP) — Cristiano Ronaldo is set to make a record sixth appearance at the European Championship with Portugal's squad.

Top Stories


A pregnant woman was driving in the HOV lane near Dallas.

General News

NEW YORK – Meropi Kyriacou, the new Principal of The Cathedral School in Manhattan, was honored as The National Herald’s Educator of the Year.


Sour Patch Kids Oreos? Peeps Pepsi? What’s Behind the Weird Flavors Popping Up on Store Shelves

Van Leeuwen Ice Cream usually draws customers with gourmet takes on classics like vanilla and pistachio.

Artificial Intelligence will provide us with one surprise – hopefully mainly good ones – after another far into the future, but for some people, especially writers and readers of science fiction, some of the news will be old news.

NEW YORK – Teatro Grattacielo presents The Young Artists Series: G.

NEW YORK – Effie Lazaridou, CEO of New Agriculture New Generation (NANG), spoke with The National Herald about the organization which she has led since it began in 2018 and which aims to create employment and entrepreneurship opportunities for young people in the agrifood industry in Greece.

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti  — Haiti’s main international airport reopened Monday for the first time in nearly three months after relentless gang violence forced authorities to close it.

Enter your email address to subscribe

Provide your email address to subscribe. For e.g. [email protected]

You may unsubscribe at any time using the link in our newsletter.