The Bundesliga is currently taking place in front of a few spectators. Players should take regular corona tests. But what is the situation behind the scenes? Nils Petersen from Freiburg talks about the challenges.
According to the Robert Koch Institute, the number of corona infections in Germany is on the rise again. The Bundesliga currently plays to a few spectators and up to 20 percent of the tickets can be sold. The new situation is also a challenge for players.
But what exactly does it feel like to be constantly tested and observed? Freiburg attacker Nils Petersen speaks in an interview with Chillreport about his experiences, the lockdown and the “special role” of football.
Photo series with 20 photos
Chillreport: Mr. Petersen, how do you deal with the ongoing corona tests?
Nils Petersen (31): It has become a habit to take the test twice a week. However, I have more and more respect for the test. There are now some positive results. It is not obvious that the test will be negative. Otherwise, I always hope that another week has passed and that we have 3.30 pm on Saturday so that nothing bothers you. I am happy that it started well and that three match days took place. The concept seems to be working.
How did you feel when football started again, when the world was still standing?
Football has developed good concepts. Concepts that have also been adopted from other sports and professions. But of course there was concern at first because we knew that many were suffering. Many other professions and livelihoods were at stake at the time. I was only happy again when the people on the street were happy that it was okay and that I was approached again. On Monday people could take our game apart again. Before that, the bad conscience was partly present. Also in my own circle of friends I saw that there were very different problems than football.
Was that also a topic of conversation for you and your fiancé at home in the different professions?
She works at the court. We were both lucky enough to have jobs that we were allowed to do. Football continued. She couldn’t stay away from her job either.
How did you experience the lockdown?
It was a new situation for me. I’ve heard the word “slower” everywhere. That is quite right. Otherwise I can see on the social networks who is on vacation and under the palm trees and think I am missing something or must be active like the others. Now I was forced to slow down and could deal with my own four walls and develop new hobbies. So that I can enjoy other things, like a full football stadium, more because it just became natural.
Looking back, would you do anything else?
I got through it well. I’d be lying if I said it was a disaster. I was more afraid of how football would go, because it is our calling.
How did you use the free time?
We made TV evenings or I signed up for the newspaper. I’ve never done that in recent years. I had my last subscription when I was still living at home. Everything else always works online. I haven’t done anything either, it doesn’t exist anymore.
How is football without spectators for you as a player?
If I had to make a pros and cons list, the only advantage would be the away game, where we have less resistance. Spectators can shout balls across the line. We had 3,000 spectators in the stadium against Wolfsburg and I got goosebumps. At first I saw the 3,000 spectators as I usually do with the 24,000. If you think there would have been 24,000 fans, you can’t imagine it anymore. It was all so natural: Full cabin, good atmosphere, everyone is stuck in traffic afterwards. Suddenly everything is different and you miss it completely. There was less pressure without the crowd, but I missed that pressure. Bringing a few thousand spectators to the goal is brutal.
SC Freiburg: Petersen scored a goal in the match against VfL Wolfsburg in front of 3,000 spectators. (Source: Jan Huebner / image images)
Do you think there will be full stadiums again this season?
Certainly not in the first half of the season. In fact, it would surprise me until the end of the season. Autumn and winter are only now coming, as long as the number of infections increases, there is no reason for further relaxation. I hope at least it stays the way it is. A full stadium would be a dream.
What have you taken out of the situation for yourself?
Slow down and take your time. Life has become soon enough. It’s an internal struggle to turn off your phone and put it away, but I highly recommend it. Every now and then I catch myself wasting time on my cell phone pointlessly. There are only things that make more sense. Especially at my age when you know that football is over.
How long can you keep your shape?
My wish is to play in the Bundesliga for another three or four years. Whether I can do that is up to me.
What is your goal with Freiburg?
We lost personnel, but we also got good players. That is why I would like it if we position ourselves well in the middle of the table. But that would also be optimistic. I am also happy when we land higher.
You have times in one said t online interviewthat you’d rather watch the 2nd division instead of the Premier League. Is it still so?
I watched Paderborn against Hamburg and not Arsenal against Liverpool. I think that says it all.Already watching Robin or Luca’s matches (Petersen’s ex-teammates Koch and Waldschmidt, editor’s note). But I appreciate and love German football.