In all of the football associations around the world, people are discussing how to return to activity safely and setting dates for this return. The Champions League and the Europa League should have their champions being crowned during the month of August, but until then, we won’t have the same conditions for everyone.
COMPETITIVE RHYTHM VS PRACTICE RHYTHM
We know how difficult it is to have control over COVID-19 in the world, especially because the conditions aren’t the same for every nation. Because of that, each country has its time to try and return to normality.
In Europe, the countries who have suffered with the disease first already have more control and sports are starting to return sooner. Germany is maybe one of the countries that dealt better with the situation, creating a safe protocol, and the Bundesliga is already in full swing, with matches with a lot of quality.
Other countries are expected to return soon, still having to deal with the more cautious measures from the government but trying to create policies for the particularities of each region. From the news we’ve been seeing, Spain and Portugal are the countries who are closer to returning their national leagues, still during the first weeks of June.
THE MAIN LEAGUES
The Premier League, in England, continues to not have a clear definition, because right now we only have date suggestions, but no official announcement so far. Italy is on the same page, with the clubs already preparing for a return, but still somewhat far from an official return to competition
As for France, just like some other countries such as the Netherlands and Belgium, they’ve already decided to put an end to their domestic leagues, defining the champions, and the clubs who are fighting for the European spots are still awaiting a decision. What does all of that mean? Well, that there won’t be equality of conditions between the teams who are still dreaming about a Champions League or Europa League title.
— B/R Football (@brfootball) June 1, 2020
Those that returned earlier have a more established competitive rhythm and they will have already finished their league even (case of the Germans), having players on a competitive level and time to prepare the players who were injured and fatigued due to this return.
What will the situation be like for Englishmen and Italians? They will have to squeeze in the rest of their schedules in a period of maybe less than a month, with players facing a mind-boggling rhythm and being at an absurd risk of contracting injuries.
But the worst-case is the ones that won’t return to competition. They will be 5 months without playing a high-level football match and then will have to play in a competition that is worth such an important title, against teams who are much better prepared than them.
WHO HAS THE ADVANTAGE ON THE RACE FOR TROPHIES?
The Europa League stopped on the Round of 16, and the teams who are still on the competition are on very different situations. From the 16 clubs who are still in it, 3 of them are German (Leverkusen, Frankfurt and Wolfsburg), and they should be the ones who are better prepared.
Two of them are Italian (Inter and Roma), two are from England (Wolves and Manchester United), two from Spain (Sevilla and Getafe) and the others are from countries who only have one representative: Copenhagen (Denmark), Basaksehir (Turkey), Olympiakos (Greece), Rangers (Scotland), Shakhtar (Ukraine), Basel (Switzerland) and LASK (Austria).
On this competition, although some clubs are better than the rest, most of the respective national leagues should return before the Europa League definition in August. Now let’s check the Champions League’s situation.
— UEFA Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) June 1, 2020
Still alive on the competition (already qualified onto the quarter-finals and still playing in the Round of 16): Real Madrid, Barcelona and Atlético de Madrid (Spain), Atalanta, Juventus and Napoli (Italy), Bayern and Leipzig (Germany), PSG and Lyon (France), Chelsea and Manchester City (England).
Once again, I see the Germans having an advantage over the others. Spaniards, Italians and Englishmen are still unknown regarding their official return and how they will react until the beginning of August.
As for the French, they are in a completely uneven situation right now. Lyon and Paris Saint-Germain will go a total of 5 months without an official match, and then they will have to make their return on a Champions League match. PSG will already play in the quarterfinals, because they’ve eliminated Dortmund in the 8th finals, but Lyon will have to face Juventus, in Italy, in order to try and advance to the quarterfinals.
There won’t be justice, but it’s what we have left for the rest of the season. Unfortunately, this season will go down in history with an asterisk, so that we are forever reminded of how bizarre it was.