Good morning, everyone!
With two important matches against RB Leipzig in the coming days, Borussia Dortmund will need all hands on deck not only in the squad, but fully fit. Unfortunately, a few of Dortmund’s key players have picked up minor knocks over the last few weeks, not including Mateu Morey’s more serious knee injury. Let’s run through a few updates real quick:
Manuel Akanji Returns to Training
According to Ruhr Nachrichten, Akanji has returned to training following an extra day of rest that he was given. BVB’s coaching staff must have determined that Akanji’s furious run of matches over the last weeks were enough for the Swiss center back to deserve a day off. It doesn’t seem like his health is going to be an issue come this Saturday (I say as I knock furiously on wood).
More Gio Reyna/Erling Haaland Updates
Meanwhile, we covered earlier this week how young guns and carpooling buddies Gio Reyna and Erling Haaland both looked ready to return to the squad this weekend. However, according to RN, neither player has officially returned to training. While this doesn’t necessarily mean that they won’t be ready to face Leipzig in the league, it does cast a bit of doubt, and indicates that even if they can make an appearance, they might not be fully fit. Needless to say, this would be very detrimental to BVB’s hopes of winning all three points against Leipzig.
Watzke Wants Fans in the Stands Next Season
Watching Dortmund play at the Westfalenstadion just isn’t the same without the fans. Seeing the Yellow Wall in person should be on the bucket list not only for any BVB fan, but for any fan of the sport.
It’s hard to argue that Dortmund’s uncharacteristically poor home record this season has very much been influenced by the COVID-19 pandemic forcing games to be played in empty stadiums.While the COVID situation in Germany means that fans won’t be able to return to the stands for the remainder of the season, or even during the EUROs over the summer, if vaccinations continue and cases start declining, it may be possible to have fans return when next season starts in August. According to Kicker, BVB CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke hope that by the time the new season starts, Germany will have vaccinated enough people that it’s safe to let fans into the stands.
Germany’s vaccination rates so far have been surprisingly slow, much slower than the United States and the United Kingdom. Only 8% of the population has received both doses of the vaccine, far below the 70-90% threshold required for herd immunity, although about a quarter of the country has gotten at least one dose. Germany is also currently seeing new cases significantly higher per capita than the US, although the seven-day average has been decreasing over the last week or two. Hopefully, with the EU’s early acquisition issues in the past, the German vaccine program can ramp up, so that cases are low enough to allow fans to return in August.
Chelsea Advance to the Champions League Final
At this point, I’ve pretty much checked out of the Champions League. I had no lost love for any of the four teams in the semifinals, and now that Chelsea and Manchester City are set to face each other in Istanbul, I’m not sure I’ll even bother tuning into the game. Who am I kidding, of course I will.
While I’m no Chelsea fan, it was at least nice to see Christian Pulisic and Thomas Tuchel, two former BVB players, make some noise on the big stage.
The Daily Buzz
Who will you be rooting for in the Champions League final?