What′s new in the Bundesliga? | Sports| German football and major international sports news | DW | 14.08.2017
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What's new in the Bundesliga?

The Bundesliga has several changes in store for the new season. Fans will have new rules, new faces, new kickoff times and a couple of changes in terms of refereeing to get accustomed to. Here is an overview.

Video Assistant Referees

The biggest change for the new Bundesliga season has to be the introduction of video assistant referees. The video assistants are to follow the action on a number of different monitors showing the action from various camera angles and will be able to provide input in a limited number of situations; whether a goal should or should not be given, penalty decisions, red cards and in cases in of mistaken identity. The final word however remains in the hands of the referee on the field. The use of video assistant referees working from a separate location from the stadium "will make the game fairer," the head of the project, German former FIFA referee Helmut Krug told DW.

The first female referee

It's been a long time coming but for the first time in the Bundesliga's 54-year history, a woman will be among its pool of referees. Bibiana Steinhaus, 38, will cut her teeth as a Bundesliga referee this season after having gathered a wealth of experience over several years in the second division - and at several international women's tournaments. Many Bundesliga players will already know her from her work as a fourth official in the Bundesliga. The other new faces are Martin Petersen, 32, Sven Jablonski, 27, and Sören Storks, 28. Wolfgang Stark, Günter Perl and Joachim Drees have all departed after having reached 47, the Bundesliga's mandatory age of retirement for referees.

Bibiana Steinhaus Schiedsrichterin (Imago/Sportfoto Rudel)

Bibiana Steinhaus is set to become the Bundesliga's first female referee

Three new kickoff times

Each matchday is to be spread out more than ever before. On five matchdays, a game will be played at 8:30 p.m. local time on a Monday, not particularly convenient for gainfully employed traveling fans. Five times a match will be scheduled for 1:30 on a Sunday afternoon. This will mean that on those matchdays, only for games will kick off at the traditional starting time of 3:30 p.m. on Saturday. The late match on Sunday will now kick off at 6:00 p.m.

Television rights

For many years, fans have been able to watch every single Bundesliga match simply by purchasing a subscription to pay-TV channel Sky. This season, though, a total of 45 matches will be broadcast by someone else. Discovery of the United States has acquired the rights to 30 Friday games, which are to be broadcast on Eurosport - for an extra charge, of course. It also has the rights for the matches on Sunday afternoons and Monday evenings, in addition to the Super Cup and the relegation matches for the Bundesliga and the second division. Four matches are to be broadcast on "free" TV. Public broadcaster ZDF is to show the Friday matches on Matchdays 1, 17, and 18. It has already broadcast the Super Cup.

Deutschland Fußball Bundesliga Fernsehen (picture-alliance/dpa/A. Gebert)

A subscription to pay-TV channel Sky will no longer get you access to all of the Bundesliga games live

Advertising on sleeves

The clubs have a new source of revenue. Now they can sell advertising on the sleeves of their jerseys to the highest bidder. Until now, the sleeves on the jerseys of all Bundesliga clubs had been reserved for a logistics-services company.hell

Newly promoted sides, European debutants

Stuttgart and Hannover are back after spending a season in the second division. After finishing second in the Bundesliga last season, RB Leipzig are set to take their first steps in the Champions League, while, fourth-placed Hoffenheim face Liverpool in a bid to qualify for the group stage.

New coaches

Five new faces will be on the touchlines in Bundesliga stadiums this season; Dutchman Peter Bosz has taken over at Borussia Dortmund, while the young Domenico Tedesco will be in the dugout at local rivals Schalke. Hannes Wolf earned promotion in his first season at Stuttgart, while Sandro Schwarz has been promoted from within at Mainz. Also new on the sidelines; Heiko Herrlich at Bayer Leverkusen.