How did the Bundesliga do as Europe’s first major league to return?
La Liga is back. Serie A is back. The Premier League is back. Football fans have a lot more options when it comes to watching matches on television. Germany's Bundesliga was the first major league to return, but with the title race over and Bayern Munich crowned champions, some of the new viewers it picked up over the past few weeks might decide to look elsewhere for their fix of live football. The relaunch of the Bundesliga was a huge success, with record viewing figures in both the UK and the US for the first weekend. However, Bayern Munich living up to expectations and defeating Borussia Dortmund in Der Klassiker soon after football returned put an end to an exciting title race. The rest of the league remains thoroughly entertaining, with the races for the Champions League and Europa League as well as the relegation battle going down to the wire, with positions changing on a regular basis as teams take points from each other. The Bundesliga allowed football fans to see exactly what matches would be like during the coronavirus pandemic as players and staff returned to stadiums but fans did not. Matches sounded eerie with no supporters in the stands, so broadcasters decided to pump in fake crowd noise to make things seem a little more normal. Fans tuning into the Premier League and other top-flight divisions have benefited from football restarting early in Germany, but will they continue to watch the Bundesliga? Thousands more tuned in than ever before, with some people even joining the official Fantasy Bundesliga game in the absence of their usual fantasy football apps. This should help keep some of the new viewers on board even with the disappointing lack of a title race, but the one thing that should appeal to new viewers in the long-term is the constant stream of young talent on offer. In the past few weeks, we have seen standout performances from some of the world's best youth, including a first club hat-trick from Jadon Sancho, Kai Havertz coming of age in the world's eyes as a stand-in striker for Bayer Leverkusen, and Alphonso Davies being suggested as the world's best left-back at just 19 years of age. The Premier League will likely remain as the best place to see some of the world's best players, but in the past month or more, the Bundesliga has shown that it is the location to turn to if you want to see the wonderkids of the world.
Ronan Murphy (@swearimnotpaul)