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Bayern star Suele wary of Bundesliga returning too soon

Berlin (AFP) – Germany and Bayern Munich defender Niklas Suele admits having mixed feelings about the possible return of German league football next month amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Next Thursday, the German Football League (DFL) plans to meet via video conference with the 36 clubs in the first two leagues to discuss whether matches can resume in early May.

As public events in Germany are banned until August 31, football matches before that date could only be played in near-empty stadiums with fans locked out.

If the German authorities give the green light, the Bundesliga could be the first top European league to resume since German league matches were halted on March 13.

Most of the 18 top flight clubs in Germany returned to training last week, albeit with social distancing being observed even on the pitch.

The DFL is determined to finish the season by June 30 to ensure its clubs do not lose out on crucial TV rights revenue, but Suele is sceptical.

“There are many more important things than football at the moment,” the 24-year-old told AFP subsidiary SID.

“Of course I want to get fit and play again, but the important thing is that my family is well, that everyone is healthy.

“As football professionals, we are blessed when we see how many companies have to close or how hard some families are hit. That’s bad.

“Whether we play sooner or later is irrelevant.”

However, Suele admits he would be “very happy if we could start again. Maybe it would also be a little distraction for many fans”.

Suele has returned to training after a serious knee injury last October, and acknowledges that his comeback will probably be in front of empty terraces.

“Of course, during rehab I imagined how nice it would be to run out at the sold-out Allianz Arena (Bayern’s home ground) again,” he said.

“Unfortunately, that’s going to be a thing of the past, but I’d still be happy to be able to play with my team again.”

In Germany, games played behind locked doors are called “ghost games” and Suele insists they are a better option than no matches at all.

“From my point of view, there’s no player anyway who’d rather not play at all than have ghost games,” he added.

Just over 3,500 people have so far died due to the coronavirus in Germany.

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