The northern derby in the 2nd Bundesliga was pure drama. The top Bundesliga game at 6.30 p.m. was also electrifying. But the noon conference left a lot to be desired. Does German football have a problem?
It was the 80th minute of the game in the Augsburg WWK Arena when Florian Niederlechner released the spectators in the stands and in front of the devices at home. The native Bavarian scored the 1-0 for his FCA against the favored Gladbachers – giving his club their first win of the season.
But no matter how remarkable the surprising winning goal against the top club from Gladbach may have been: the specialty of Niederlechner’s first goal of the season was that it marked the first scream of the Bundesliga conference on Saturday afternoon – excluding the furious 7-0 Munich against Bochum.
One more time to note: The games between Bielefeld and Hoffenheim (final score 0-0), Mainz and Freiburg (final score 0-0) and Augsburg and Gladbach (final score 1-0) went goalless up to the 80th minute, while the only one with the most goals The afternoon game was so one-sided that the inclined consumer of the Bundesliga conference on pay TV asked himself on the sofa: “Who is still watching this?”
Seven goalless halves
The fact is: Before the top game began on Saturday evening, the audience counted a total of six goalless halves of the game (in Cologne against Leipzig (final score 1: 1) a seventh was added). Due to the previous European Cup games, the DFL scheduled a 15:30 game for the second time this season for the new kick-off time on Sunday evening (7.30 p.m., Wolfsburg versus Frankfurt, in the live ticker on t-online).
A total of ten games move from the kick-off time on Saturday afternoon, which fans dubbed “holy”, to Sunday evening. The equalization of the match day has not progressed compared to the past four seasons, but has remained the same.
The fact that traditional clubs like Schalke 04 and Werder Bremen relegated last season and are currently playing in the second division, and in their place niche clubs like Mainz 05, TSG Hoffenheim or FC Augsburg “mix it up” on Saturday afternoon seems a thorn to many viewers in the eye – and rightly so.
By the way, Munich’s 7-0 win against Bochum was the first game of the season that Bayern played at 3:30 p.m. The second largest German club, Borussia Dortmund, will have only played two games on Saturday afternoon after six match days.
But if the TV viewer who wants to follow the Bundesliga live only has the choice between a completely one-sided game by the record champions and three boring duels at 3:30 p.m., then that shows one thing above all:
The TV conference as a “product” has been devalued, the games that are more attractive on paper, with Stuttgart against Leverkusen, Dortmund against Union and Wolfsburg against Frankfurt, will only take place on Sunday. Because also the TV rights holder DAZN, who has been broadcasting all Friday and Sunday games since this season, wants the Dortmund and Munich residents in their program.
So the ones who suffer are the fans of Saturday afternoons, who not only get fewer games, but also have less attractive options for the single game. Not to mention the sports show on ARD, which has fewer and fewer arguments for being watched at all.
“Who else is watching this?” so remains the central question. The answer from the German Football League (DFL) is still likely to be: “Enough people.” But match days like the 5th of the 2021/2022 season could be a warning that people will soon be tired of the former premium product Bundesliga on Saturday afternoon.