For the third time this season, we are taking a break from European league football. For the two qualifiers of the Mannschaft against Belarus and Northern Ireland the Bundesliga pauses for 12 days. Needless to say, at this time there is no Champions League, no Europa League, no German Cup as well. As we had it in September and October, the unlikely high voltage games of the Mannschaft (a win against Belarus in the not sold out Borussia Park would Germany bring to the EURO 2020).
Speaking of which: In the run-up to the Belarus match, the press conference had to answer Manuel Neuer and Leon Goretzka hardly questions about the national team. Instead, it was about the Bundesliga: To Bayern’s interim coach Hansi Flick, to the possible return of Pep Guardiola to Munich and so on. Even the journalists have no mood for the interruptions in late summer and autumn.
Sure, after all, the Bundesliga is just as exciting and the table is very close. With Borussia Mönchengladbach there is a team at the top, that experts had always predicted in the extended circle of candidates for the Europa League. Bayern and Dortmund are far from being in the lurch and in addition the first coach dismissals hailed in the last few days. Well, such a break is convenient as rotten meat on an organic farm.
Even Bayern’s President Uli Hoeness confirms: “The Bundesliga has a very different appeal than these internationals. You really have to think about whether in the very best football time you should not play the Bundesliga.”
Hoeness, who generally has the job of shirking his hand, may be right, but FIFA will not change the terms of reference in the next five years, which FIFA will draft in consultation with the leagues. The International Match dates are nailed down to 2024 in the game calendar of the World Association.
International break in January?
However, Hoeness also sent a proposal on which it is worthwhile to discuss: “The internationals could take place in January, when it is cold.” A few years ago, the Bundesliga winter break was shortened by two weeks, but room for international matches is at the beginning or middle of January always – at least from the point of view of German clubs.
On the second weekend of January, a week before the Bundesliga starts the second half of the season, the games are underway in the Premier League, Serie A and Ligue 1. The Super Cup will be held in Spain (or Saudi Arabia). Now, these leagues could change their game plan to fill the “gap” in November (or alternatively in September or October) with the January fixtures. Questionable, if there everyone is with us.
Pre-qualifying round for the little ones?
Another alternative would be a pre-qualification (World Cup and European Championship) for smaller associations such as Andorra, Faroe Islands, Liechtenstein or Gibraltar to streamline this bloated qualification mode. As much as one allows the small associations the games against large teams – the quality of the games would be also on a higher level.
Regarding possible changes, we have to wait until the EURO 2024, which takes place in Germany, and settle for annoying breaks in the Bundesliga – even if it is just one or two matchdays old.