With just under 400 Bundesliga appearances to his name, two-time UEFA Goalkeeper of the Year Jens Lehmann knows how important it is that football in Germany is about to resume. Speaking to beIN SPORTS this week, the former Schalke, Dortmund, and Stuttgart goalkeeper shared his thoughts on Germany and the Bundesliga being the first major European league to resume since almost all sport was shut down due to the global pandemic.
“We are quite relieved because there was a discussion as well that it might be postponed,” he says after news emerged that Bundesliga 2 side Dynamo Dresden had been forced into quarantine once again after two players tested positive for infection earlier this week. German officials have indicated, however, that while their game against Hannover will be pushed back, the leagues as a whole will resume as planned. “There was uncertainty and now it’s clear that we are going to kick off again and we are all looking forward to it.”
The last Bundesliga game to be played was Borussia Monchegladbach’s 2-1 home win over Cologne on 11 March, with Cologne’s Mark Uth scoring the final goal before the lockdown. On loan from Schalke, for which Lehmann played with distinction for across ten seasons and two divisions and winning the 1997 UEFA Cup, Uth’s statistic may be one he hopes fades into obscurity once a semblance of normalcy resumes. Lehmann though, has a typically pragmatic view on the situation.
“In the end, you have to live with it, because the only thing that this lockdown is based on is the hope that eventually we are going to find a vaccine or some medicine which cures it. But there’s only hope,” the Essen-born Lehmann says. Having a distinguished career that was always about facing any challenges head-on, Lehmann understands the reality of the situation. “So far we don’t have anything. Because of that, you cannot shut down everything so you have to get on with it.”
Having been infected by the virus himself, the 50-year old has now recovered, and has felt first hand how an individual can be afflicted by the illness, though the German was typically bullish about it.
“As long as the symptoms are not that bad, I think players have to cope with it… We have plenty of players who were actually infected, and most of them did not even show any symptoms. So I think for young, healthy, people with a strong immune system it’s not such a big concern.”
The eyes of Europe will be turned towards the Bundesliga this weekend, with the Ruhr derby between Dortmund and Schalke - two of Lehmann’s former clubs - set to meet in one of the five mid-afternoon games on Saturday, May 16. RB Leipzig play Freiburg at the same time, while Union Berlin host Bayern Munich for the first time in the Bundesliga on Sunday. Werder Bremen welcome Bayer Leverkusen on Monday night to round off what will be a momentous weekend, with the world watching.
Watch Jens Lehmann and Ryan Giggs on The Champions Club hosted by Angus Scott on Wednesday at 21:00 Mecca on beIN SPORTS HD11. Check www.bein.net for updates and local listings for The Champions Club and more of the latest and greatest sports and entertainment content you can enjoy from the comfort of your home.