Hey, no game weekend?
Why the Bundesliga is now pausing for a week
By David Needy
1/23/2022 5:54 p.m
Next weekend, the Bundesliga and the 2nd division will suddenly take a break, many football fans don’t have the interruption on their list. A decision from almost a year and a half ago is the reason. The top clubs look forward to the game-free time differently.
After the winter break, the ball is finally rolling again in the Bundesliga and in the 2nd division. Although (almost) no spectators can go to the stadiums due to the corona pandemic, football fans are cheering and suffering with their teams from the living room, just as they did after the restart of the season in spring 2020. But all of a sudden the game will start next weekend after only three (Bundesliga) or two matchdays (2nd division) since the break. From January 28th to 30th (Friday to Sunday) there will be no games in the top leagues. How come?
Anyone who now suspects the next round of the DFB Cup at the weekend is wrong. However: At least the draw for the pairings for the quarter-finals with former ski star Felix Neureuther as Losfee will take place next Sunday (7.15 p.m./ARD) instead of. So it will still be exciting footballing days, because all the cup winners of the past 29 years have already been eliminated, in addition to the Bundesliga clubs Union Berlin, SC Freiburg, RB Leipzig and VfL Bochum, the second division clubs FC St. Pauli, Hamburger SV and Karlsruher SC are also in the win and Hannover 96 in competition. However, the quarter-finals will not be played until March 1st and 2nd.
It is also wrong who thinks of further international matches of the German national team under new coach Hansi Flick. Joachim Löw’s successor with the perfect record of seven wins in seven games is free next weekend. However, this does not apply to some of his international colleagues. And that’s exactly what the upcoming short Bundesliga break is all about.
Messi and Neymar in action
The leagues are actually suspended for internationals. And those that had to be canceled and postponed because of the corona pandemic. The decision to do so was made almost a year and a half ago. In August 2020, the FIFA Advisory Committee decided: “The international window from 31 August to 8 September 2020 will be replaced by a window from 24 January to 1 February 2022 – for all confederations except UEFA.” That means the DFB team doesn’t have an international match these days, nor do the other national teams in Europe.
But while the DFB-Elf does not have to play again against Israel and the Netherlands until the end of March, there are a number of games taking place outside of the European continent, in many parts of the world, for which the top European clubs have to release their players. So not only the Bundesliga is paused, but also the English Premier League, the Spanish La Liga, the Italian Serie A – and so on.
The international games are by no means friendlies. Qualifying matches for the World Cup in Qatar are taking place on several continents – in Asia, North/Central America and the Caribbean as well as South America. Brazil with superstar Neymar competes in Ecuador, Argentina with Lionel Messi at nemesis Chile. The USA and Canada also meet, as do Japan and China and Iraq and Iran. The World Cup qualifying playoffs of the continental association UEFA will only play the semi-finals and finals on March 24th and 29th.
For some of the top German clubs, this break comes at the right time, for others at the wrong time. Borussia Dortmund, for example, which is currently still waiting for the diagnosis of the injury to its top scorer Erling Haaland, is certainly happy to have a little more time until the next Bundesliga game. The duo Manuel Akanji and Thomas Meunier can also recover by then. Borussia Mönchengladbach – just one win and one draw in seven defeats in the last nine competitive games – and VfB Stuttgart – four bankruptcies and a draw in the last five games – will welcome the break to check all the adjustments.
Union Berlin, on the other hand – the Köpenickers have been in a Champions League spot since the weekend – would certainly have liked to continue their series of four wins from the past five games. The same goes for SpVgg Greuther Fürth, who have not been defeated for four games, and Werder Bremen in the 2nd Bundesliga. Under new coach Ole Werner, the Hanseatic League have won all five of their games. On February 4th, the ball will roll again in the upper and lower house.