Today, with exactly 4 weeks until the start of the season the DFL published the fixtures for the forthcoming season. As if this didn’t make it difficult enough for fans to attend games, there is still no exact date for the fixtures yet! For those who haven’t yet experienced the lottery of attending a Bundesliga game, the fixtures at the start of the season are given a specific weekend for the game, but not a specific date and time. For example, St. Pauli’s first game of the season at home to 1860 Munich (whose fans will have to travel 800km from Munich to Hamburg, a 14 hour round trip) will be played on the weekend of Friday 19th July until Monday 22nd July.
This means that the date could be on one of four possible dates, either Friday 18:00, Saturday 13:00, Sunday 13:30 or Monday 20:30. Once each weekend is assigned, the DFL then announce the exact date of the fixtures in batches, usually batches of 6 or 7 games at a time. Until these are announced, a fan wanting to plan a trip in advance to a game must take into account that the full weekend. This is bad enough for a fan in Germany who may have to organise time off work, childcare arrangements, hotels, travel, etc. But it’s also an absolute nightmare for foreign fans of the Bundesliga who want to attend a game but simply can’t book in advance unless they plan to arrive either before Friday afternoon and leave on Tuesday morning. If fans wait until the fixtures are confirmed however then they also risk incurring higher prices for flights and accommodation.
It’s expected that the DFL won’t confirm the first batch of fixtures for another 7-10 days, leaving fans with no way of making plans to attend games, and those travelling from abroad a huge gamble as to whether to travel without knowing when the fixture is played.
The Bundesliga is a great league, but this system is a nightmare for the fans. DFL – sort it out!