The Football World Cup is on, the Bundesliga pauses for a long time. BVB sports boss Sebastian Kehl calls the now free time, which is used differently from club to club, an “unusual challenge”.
Fan events in the USA, test matches also in Asia. The football world is increasingly focusing on the World Cup in Qatar, some Bundesliga players are initially heading for other distant destinations.
The more than two-month break provides enough time to promote the league. A number of players have to wait for days off after the last Bundesliga games last weekend.
The clubs are dealing with the unusual situation that the tournament, which has been moved to winter, brings with it in very different ways. The extraordinary balancing act between loading and unloading as well as the uncertainty as to when which World Championship drivers will return will be a challenge for the Bundesliga teams.
Some first-team players start a PR program abroad, others still have training or test matches. Some professionals who are not at the World Cup still travel to their national teams. And some of the clubs send their players – if they are not bound – immediately on vacation until December. Like the SC Freiburg, who will train again on December 5. “There is more and more turning on the screw until it breaks,” Freiburg coach Christian Streich had sounded the alarm in view of the many games.
He is positive about the fact that there are now ten weeks until the restart from January 20 to 22 without compulsory games: “I think it’s great, I’ve never had a day off in November. I have no problem that there are no games. It’s never been more intense than the last few months,” Streich said. How to control the training? “By putting in a lot of work.”
“Completely uncharted territory”
A year ago, the first half of the season was over on December 19, just under three weeks later it continued. This time the break is much longer than usual, the 2nd League even starts a week later than the Bundesliga. “For us as a club coach, this is completely new territory,” Düsseldorf coach Daniel Thioune told dpa. “We are in a lively exchange among the coaches, because there are no experience values,” he reported and predicted: “In principle, the second round can be considered as a new season.”
The plans are not so easy, noted Bavaria’s Julian Nagelsmann. The record champion initially gave his few players who are not at the World Cup a week off. Then Nagelsmann has a small group together before there is another break from December 10 to the beginning of January. RB Leipzig will continue training until December 10 to maintain the level and “work off a few things,” as coach Marco Rose explained.
Several clubs initially travel abroad. Eintracht Frankfurt was scheduled to leave for Japan on Monday. VfB Stuttgart boarded a plane with fans to the US state of Texas, where 1. FC Köln will also arrive in the next few days. Leverkusen is already in the US state of Missouri. Dortmund will represent the Bundesliga in Singapore and Vietnam from 21 November to 1 December. “The unique interruption of the season in November and December means an unusual challenge for all clubs. It was important to us to make these weeks the best possible for the players who do not participate in the World Cup,”said sports director Sebastian Kehl.
Training camp in January
The intensive preparation starts at the beginning of January, more than half of the clubs are planning a training camp. The numerous FC Bayern World Cup participants will travel to Qatar just a few weeks after the tournament from 6 to 12 January. Mainz even has two training camps planned, one in December on Mallorca, one in January on the Costa del Sol. Mönchengladbach, on the other hand, deliberately refrains from doing so. December will be a “very, very individually designed training-free time” with training plans, announced coach Daniel Farke. In January, he did not want to “give away two days with travel stress”.
The break will do “really well”, said Leipzig midfielder Xaver Schlager and drew the comparison to the experiences from his home country Austria. There he had a winter break of “four, five weeks”. “It didn’t feel like the air was out in March. You start with new energy,” said Schlager, whose national team is not qualified for the World Cup. Energie also wants to collect pranks on vacation – and watch the World Cup: if he doesn’t have a TV right now, however, then he won’t start “howling” either.