Football

Injuries under the spotlight as Bundesliga continues

Injuries are likely to be under the spotlight as the Bundesliga stages its second round of matches at the weekend, after last week’s restart produced a number of victims.

Leaders Bayern Munich, chasing an eighth successive title will host Eintracht Frankfurt on Saturday (May 23), while Borussia Dortmund, who are four points behind in second, visit Wolfsburg.

Last week’s restart was generally viewed as a success, albeit in a surreal atmosphere without spectators at any of the games.

However, at least half a dozen players suffered injuries, highlighting concerns about plunging straight into competitive action after a two-month stoppage, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, without warm-up matches.

The most conspicuous was 17-year-old American midfielder Giovanni Reyna, who was denied a first start for Dortmund by an injury during the warm-up when they faced Schalke 04 in the Ruhr Valley Derby.

He was replaced by Thorgan Hazard who himself went off with an injury during the 4-0 win, while Schalke pair Jean-Clair Todibo and Amine Harit also suffered injuries.

Other casualties included Sebastian Rudy and Ihlas Bebou of Hoffenheim, Borussia Moenchengladbach’s Marcus Thuram and Per Ciljan Skjelbred of Hertha Berlin.

Although teams can now make five substitutions per match instead of the usual three – a temporary measure brought in especially to deal with the unusual circumstances – the upcoming flurry of fixtures leaves players even more vulnerable.

A midweek round of matches next week means that teams will be playing thrice in a 10-day period.

“The players will be flat after 60 minutes,” warned Marc Lorenz, a midfielder with second-tier Karlsruher, earlier this month.

“Even the five substitutions allowed won’t help. That’s when the fatigue will come and then the serious injuries.”

“There are many who would be playing for a new contract,” he added.

“If one of them tears a cruciate ligament, no one will sign him. Health is priceless.”

The next 10 days will show whether or not his fears are unfounded. – REUTERS

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