Bundesliga matches will be played behind closed doors from November 2 after it was announced Germany would return to a partial lockdown amid a significant increase in coronavirus cases.
German chancellor Angela Merkel and the regional leaders of the 16 states decided on a raft of new measures to control the spread of the virus on Wednesday.
One of these is to prevent any supporters from attending professional sports in the country.
Ahead of the 2020-21 season, Bundesliga clubs announced they would be ready to welcome back fans if public health authorities considered it a safe step to take, having played out the final weeks of the 2019-20 season behind closed doors.
The largest attendance under the restrictions was Borussia Dortmund’s home clash with Freiburg when 11,500 fans watched on, while other clubs – including reigning champions Bayern Munich – did not reopen their stadiums due to the high number of COVID-19 cases in the surrounding area.
Dortmund’s managing director Hans-Joachim Watzke accepts the decision but insists supporters were safe inside the club’s stadium.
“In view of the extremely increased number of infections in Germany, the decision by politicians to be able to continue gaming operations without spectators for the time being must be accepted,” he told Sky.
“Nevertheless, I would like to state that the Bundesliga never posed a threat due to an elaborate, coherent hygiene concept valued by experts. We all at BVB hope that we can play again in front of our great fans as soon as possible.”
The restrictions do not come into place until Monday, which means Bundesliga fixtures this weekend could still yet be played in front of supporters.
The German government is expected to reconvene on November 11 to reassess the situation, but it is believed the new measures will be in place until at least the end of the month.
RB Leipzig lead the Bundesliga after five games with 13 points, with champions Bayern Munich and Dortmund sitting just a point behind.
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