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What will the Premier League return look like? Lessons from the Bundesliga
German top flight has seen lots of big wins but less dominance from home teams since the restart; follow the Premier League's return from June 17 on Sky Sports
Last Updated: 16/06/20 2:58am
The Premier League will return on Wednesday - but what has the Bundesliga taught us about how the final rounds of matches in England could play out?
The German top flight got back underway on May 16 and there have been intriguing trends emerging from post-lockdown football in that country which could affect the crucial climax to the Premier League season.
Here, we pick out some of the significant shifts that have been seen in the Bundesliga and how they could translate to the Premier League...
- Premier League fixtures: The new kick-offs and dates
- Premier League restart: The live games on Sky Sports
Home advantage reduced
There were just 11 home wins in the first 55 Bundesliga games played after the restart, which suggests matches behind closed doors have a real impact in terms of reducing home advantage.
Prior to the lockdown, over 43 per cent of matches ended with the home team victorious. That percentage dropped to just 20 per cent following the resumption without fans.
So how would a similar drop-off affect the Premier League run-in? It would be bad news for relegation-threatened Aston Villa.
They have won a greater proportion of their points at home than every other team except Norwich. The Villans also have six Villa Park fixtures remaining, the joint-most number of home games any side has left.
Villa will have to find a way to take points off the likes of Sheffield United, Chelsea, Wolves, Manchester United, Crystal Palace and Arsenal without their home support if they are to stay in the Premier League.
"Home advantage is about the support. There's no doubt being in an environment you know, getting changed before a game, being in a stadium you know, of course it helps slightly," Jamie Carragher told The Football Show.
"I played at Anfield my whole career and when playing there, I felt like I knew every position on that pitch. But the big thing about home advantage is the crowd, and the influence of the crowd on the referee. There's no doubt about that."
The big thing about home advantage is the crowd, and the influence of the crowd on the referee. There's no doubt about that.
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More muscle injuries? Possibly. More subs? Certainly.
There were 14 muscle injuries during the first round of Bundesliga matches in mid-May, and the sudden shift from training to competitive games could see a similar number of players pick up problems in the Premier League.
Speaking to Sky Sports, former England physio Gary Lewin said that while you can build up physical fitness through running and strength sessions, nothing compares to the full-contact competitiveness you get in training sessions, and more importantly in friendly matches or reserve games.
"You would expect to see more muscle injuries occur," he told The Football Show. "It's also the reaction times, how the body reacts to jumping, landing, and that then puts pressure on joints.
"But the main issues people will worry about are the muscle injuries."
To try to counter that problem, the Bundesliga allowed clubs to use as many as five substitutes during a match, following a temporary amendment to the rules by FIFA.
"That's a very, very good idea," said Borussia Dortmund boss Lucien Favre before Germany's resumption. "You must clearly say that all teams, without an exemption, won't be fully ready."
The Premier League clubs have agreed to do the same to help prevent players from sustaining injuries. As with the Bundesliga, teams will only be able to make those substitutions at three different moments in the match.
"It's a sensible thing to do, without a doubt," said Sky Sports pundit Jamie Redknapp. "Even going forward, I don't think it's a major problem, if you have good squads, it gets players involved.
"People want to see players fit and able to play, and there will probably be more injuries than usual because players won't quite be at that match fitness or match tempo, so five subs makes a lot of sense."
There will probably be more injuries than usual because players won't quite be at that match fitness or match tempo, so five subs makes a lot of sense.
Big wins on the cards
There have been 166 goals scored in the 55 games played since the Bundesliga got back underway. That works out as around three goals per game - just shy of the 3.25 goals per game average pre-lockdown.
However, while the average number of goals in matches has stayed fairly consistent, in actual fact there have been some commanding victories - which raises the question of whether better sides are able to make their quality count more emphatically in the new environment.
Almost half of games since the Bundesliga restart have been won by two or more goals (24 out of 55) - and on 14 occasions sides have opened up at least a three-goal margin on their opposing team.
Big wins in the Bundesliga since restart
Hoffenheim 0-3 Hertha Berlin
Borussia Dortmund 4-0 Schalke
Werder Bremen 1-4 Bayer Leverkusen
Hertha Berlin 4-0 Union Berlin
Bayern Munich 5-2 Eintracht Frankfurt
Mainz 0-5 RB Leipzig
Schalke 0-3 Augsburg
Bayer Leverkusen 1-4 Wolfsburg
Bayern Munich 5-0 Fortuna Dusseldorf
SC Paderborn 1-6 Borussia Dortmund
Borussia Monchengladbach 4-1 Union Berlin
SC Paderborn 1-5 Werder Bremen
Hertha Berlin 1-4 Eintracht Frankfurt
With those big wins come the inevitable celebrations. However, players are not supposed to be hugging team-mates after scoring right now. While that rule hasn't always been followed in the Bundesliga - sometimes the emotion of scoring has proved too much - many players are getting creative with how they mark a goal.
The standout example was Erling Haaland's celebration after scoring for Dortmund against Schalke on the opening weekend, with his dance routine and team-mates stood at a distance making for an iconic image.
What will Premier League players come up with?
Clubs getting creative in the stands
With no supporters to fill the thousands of seats in stadiums, German clubs have been getting creative.
Borussia Monchengladbach, for instance, have over 12,000 cardboard cut-outs of fans around Borussia Park. Club supporters can pay around £17 to have their image printed out and placed around the ground, with the money going to local charities.
La Liga also looked for a way to fill their stands, with their first game back in Spain on June 11 between Sevilla and Real Betis featuring artificial crowd noise as well as virtual fans superimposed on the stands.
While Premier League clubs may look to fill their arenas in similar ways, Sky Sports viewers will be able to enjoy a range of bespoke and team-specific crowd noises and chants to bring the vibrant atmosphere of the Premier League to the restart. Viewers can choose between the added crowd sound or stadium noise, along with Sky Sports commentary.
Premier League games on Sky Sports
Crowd noise available on Sky Sports Main Event, Sky Pick and Sky 1 unless stated
Wed June 17: Aston Villa vs Sheff Utd - 6pm, Sky Sports
Wed June 17: Man City vs Arsenal - 8.15pm, Sky Sports
Fri June 19: Norwich vs Southampton - 6pm, Sky Sports, Sky Pick
Fri June 19: Tottenham vs Man Utd - 8.15pm , Sky Sports
Sat June 20: West Ham vs Wolves - 5.30pm, Sky Sports
Sun June 21: Newcastle vs Sheff Utd - 2pm, Sky Sports, Sky Pick
Sun June 21: Aston Villa vs. Chelsea - 4.15pm, Sky Sports
Sun June 21: Everton vs Liverpool - 7pm, Sky Sports, Sky Pick
Mon June 22: Man City vs Burnley - 8pm, Sky Sports, Sky Pick
Tue June 23: Leicester vs Brighton - 6pm, Sky Sports
Tue June 23: Tottenham vs West Ham - 8.15pm, Sky Sports
Wed June 24: Man Utd vs Sheff Utd - 6pm, Sky Sports, Sky Pick
Wed June 24: Liverpool vs Crystal Palace - 8.15pm, Sky Sports
Thu June 25: Southampton vs Arsenal - 6pm, Sky Sports
Thu June 25: Burnley vs Watford - 6pm, Sky Sports, Sky Pick (Crowd noise on Sky Sports PL, Sky Pick, Sky 1)
Sun June 28: Watford vs Southampton - 4.30pm, Sky Sports, Sky Pick
Tue June 30: Brighton vs Man Utd, 8.15pm, Sky Sports, Sky Pick
Wed July 1: Everton vs Leicester - 6pm, Sky Sports
Wed July 1: Bournemouth vs Newcastle - 6pm, Sky Sports, Sky Pick (Crowd noise on Sky Sports PL, Sky Pick, Sky 1)
Wed July 1: West Ham vs Chelsea, 8.15pm, Sky Sports
Thu July 2: Sheff Utd vs Tottenham - 6pm, Sky Sports
Thu July 2: Man City vs Liverpool - 8.15pm, Sky Sports
The Sky Sports Crowds feature will not be available to NOW TV customers
Watch the Premier League with Sky Sports
The Premier League 2019/20 season will provisionally restart on Wednesday, June 17 and Sky, the UK's leading football broadcaster, will make 25 games available 'free to air' - including Everton vs Liverpool on the first full weekend back - for everyone in the UK to enjoy.
Sky Sports will show 64 live Premier League games when the season resumes. In addition to the 39 matches already scheduled to be broadcast exclusively live on Sky Sports before the coronavirus interruption, 25 more matches will be available on both Sky Sports Premier League and Sky's free-to-air Pick channel, allowing the whole nation to be part of the return of live sport.
Free-to-watch highlights of every remaining Premier League game this season will be available from shortly after the full-time whistle on the Sky Sports website, Sky Sports App and Sky Sports Football YouTube channel.