The Bundesliga's much envied traditional winter break will be a lot shorter from next season onwards after the German Soccer Federation (DFB) decided this week to cut the vacation by three weeks.
German soccer teams will have to return and face wintery conditions sooner than before
German soccer traditionally grinds to a halt for a month and a half during the winter while the Bundesliga takes one of the longest breaks in the sport. Leagues without a break, such as the English Premiership, have long looked to Germany with envious glances as its teams toil away through a cold and busy winter schedule.
The winter break has also been cited as one of the reasons for the German national team doing so well in international competitions, as its players are fresher by the time the big summer tournaments come around.
However, contrary to this belief, the DFB said the intended reduction of the break will allow the national team to prepare in better conditions for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, should it qualify. The thinking behind this is that the season will end sooner, giving the players more of a break before the World Cup begins in June 2010.
Soccer organizations see World Cup benefits
The opening round of matches of the 2009-10 season will be held between Aug. 7-10 with the 34th and final round of matches coming on May 8, 2010. The winter break will be between Dec. 21 and Jan. 15.
"The compromise found by the federation and the German league is absolutely positive for preparations for the 2010 World Cup," federation Secretary-General Wolfgang Niersbach said.
German league chief Holger Hieronymus also welcomed the move, for different reasons.
"Our championship has the longest break in Europe," he said. "We need to have more weekend games because those played in midweek aren't interesting enough for the clubs from a financial point of view, or for the fans."