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“I’m calling it ‘flying blind’,” Hertha Berlin coach Bruno Labbadia said.

“With so few days of preparation, it’s impossible to say where we stand.”

With no crowd noise to mask the odd swear word, RB Leipzig’s coach Julian Nagelsmann admitted he will have to curb his language.

“I will try to behave in a socially acceptable way in the (coaching) zone,” he quipped.


For coaches and players alike, this weekend’s matches will be played in exceptional circumstances.

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In Saturday’s key game, Borussia Dortmund host Schalke in the 156th Ruhr derby.

For the first time in the fixture’s 95-year history it will be behind closed doors, when 82 000 passionate fans would normally pack out Dortmund’s Signal Iduna Park.

On Sunday, FC Union host leaders Bayern Munich, who were four points clear at the top when matches were suspended in March, at their compact Alten Foersterei stadium in east Berlin.

The boisterous home crowd helped Union beat previous leaders Dortmund, and Moenchengladbach, there this season.

However, those fans will be absent when star-studded Bayern run out. And the reigning champions are hungry to close out the season with an eighth consecutive Bundesliga title.

“When I see the emotions we have developed over the last few days, even in a training game, it shows our greed for regular competition,” Bayern forward Thomas Mueller wrote on LinkedIn.

Not everyone is so enthusiastic.

“In Germany, the players are in a weak position,” Union defender Neven Subotic told Deutschlandfunk radio.

“We were informed after all decisions had been made.

“I don’t want to talk my way out of the responsibility – but there was no representative body of the players.”

The clubs want to finish the nine rounds of matches by June 30 in order to claim around 300 million euros ($324 million) in television money.

However, the fear is that an outbreak of the virus within the league could once again halt the season.

In curbing the risk of infection, players and staff are being tested regularly and each club has been in a week-long quarantine before this weekend’s matches.


However, some have already broken the guidelines.

Augsburg’s new coach Heiko Herrlich has stood himself down for Saturday’s match at home to Wolfsburg after breaking the quarantine by leaving the team hotel to buy toothpaste.

“I made a mistake,” Herrlich said. “I did not live up to my function as a role model for my team and the public.”

Likewise, ex-Chelsea striker Salomon Kalou, 34, is suspended by Hertha Berlin for shaking hands with teammates in a video he posted.

Despite his profuse apology, the league and politicians slammed the Ivory Coast striker for flaunting the rules.

The coronavirus has caused 7 824 deaths in Germany, which still has 173 152 cases of the virus. The figures are far lower than other major European countries, partly because of rigorous testing at the onset of the pandemic.

A poll by broadcaster ARD showed 56 per cent of the German public are opposed to the return of league football during the pandemic.

The onus is on the players to ensure Saturday’s restart is a success.

“Down to the last player, everyone knows to abide by the rules,” said Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge