The Bundesliga is currently taking place in front of a few spectators. Players have to take a corona test regularly. But what is the situation behind the scenes? Freiburg’s Nils Petersen speaks about the challenges.
According to the Robert Koch Institute, the number of corona infections in Germany is rising again. The Bundesliga is currently playing in front of a few spectators, and a maximum of 20 percent of tickets can be sold. The new situation is also a challenge for players.
But how exactly does it feel to be constantly tested and always under observation? Freiburg striker Nils Petersen speaks in an interview with t-online about his experiences, the lockdown and the “special role” of football.
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t-online: 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 cannot be taken for granted that the test will be negative. Otherwise, I always hope that another week has passed and that it’s Saturday 3:30 p.m. so that nothing interferes. I’m happy that it got off to a good start 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 still?
Football has developed good concepts. Concepts that have also been adopted from other sports and professions. But of course there was anxiety 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 streets were happy that it was going again and that I was spoken to again. On Mondays, people could take apart our game again. Before that, the bad conscience was partly there. I also saw in my own circle of friends that there were completely different problems than football.
Was that also a topic of conversation for you and your fiancé at home in the various professions?
She works in the district court. We were both lucky enough to have a job that we were allowed to practice. The football went on. She couldn’t stay away from her job either.
How did you perceive the lockdown?
It was a new situation for me. I’ve heard the word ‘slow down’ everywhere. That is totally apt. Otherwise I can see in the social networks who is on vacation and under the palm trees and think I am missing something or have to be active like the others. Now the deceleration was inevitable and I was able to deal with my own four walls and develop new hobbies. So I can enjoy other things, like a full football stadium, more because it just became a matter of course.
Looking back, would you do anything differently?
I got through well. I would be lying if I said it was a disaster. I was more afraid of how things would go with football because it’s our calling.
How did you use the free time?
We made TV evenings or I subscribed to the daily newspaper. I’ve never done that in the last few years. I had my last subscription when I was still living at home. Otherwise everything always works online. I didn’t do anything either, it doesn’t exist anymore these days.
How is football without spectators for you as a player?
If I had to make a list of pros and cons, the only advantage would be the away game, where we have less resistance. Spectators can shout balls over 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 usual the 24,000. If you think that there would have been 24,000 fans, then you can no longer imagine that. It was all so natural: Full hut, good atmosphere, everyone is stuck in traffic afterwards. Suddenly everything is different and you totally miss it. There was less pressure without the audience, but I missed that pressure. Bringing a few thousand spectators to the goal is brutally lacking.
SC Freiburg: Petersen scored a goal in the game against VfL Wolfsburg in front of 3,000 spectators. (Source: Jan Huebner / imago images)
Do you think there will be full stadiums again this season?
Definitely not in the first half of the season. It would surprise me even until the end of the season. Autumn and winter are only now coming. As long as the number of infections is increasing, there is no reason for further relaxation. I hope it will at least stay as it is. A full stadium would be a dream.
What did you take away from the situation for yourself?
Decelerating and taking your time. Life has become fast enough already. It’s an internal struggle to switch off and put your phone away, but I highly recommend it. Every now and then I catch myself wasting time on my cell phone pointlessly. There are just 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’s why I would be happy if we position ourselves well in the middle of the table. But that would also be optimistic. I’m also happy if we end up higher up.
You have times in one t said online interviewthat you would rather watch the 2nd division instead of the Premier League. Is it still like that?
I watched Paderborn against Hamburg and not Arsenal against Liverpool. I think that says it all.I’m already watching Robin or Luca’s games (Petersen’s ex-teammates Koch and Waldschmidt, editor’s note). But I appreciate and love German football.