football | Bundesliga: Why the matches of the 33rd day do not take place at the same time

Status: 04/05/2022 6:16 p.m.

This season, new on the 33rd day of the Bundesliga: the nine matches are no longer launched at the same time. Only one result: Bayern wins the bowl on a Sunday.

When FC Bayern Munich kick off a championship celebration for the tenth time in a row on Matchday 33, something new happens. For decades, all games were kicked off at the same time on the last two matchdays of a season – Saturdays at 3:30 p.m. It’s different this season. “Across both leagues, Matchday 33 will be played in the future as a regular matchday with staggered kick-off times,” the DFL announced in March 2020 when they offered the media rights for the 2021/2020 seasons. 22 to 2024/25. Match day is now one like the other 32 before.

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That’s why Bayern will receive the championship trophy, which will be handed over by DFL boss Donata Hopfen, on a Sunday this season when VfB Stuttgart visits. Kick off is at 5:30 p.m. The Bundesliga is breaking with an old custom.

DFL: “The practice is also implemented elsewhere in Europe”

The fact that Matchday 33 was changed in this way is related to television marketing. More broadcast dates are possible, there is more money for the clubs. “The decision for this practice, which is also implemented in other major European leagues or in the group stages of the World Cup, was taken during a global reflection before the last call for tenders for German-language media rights,” the DFL said when asked by the sports fair.

In the major European championships, only the French league schedules all its matches simultaneously on the penultimate day. Even the last match day is far from being fixed at the same time everywhere, in Italy and Spain the last matches are sometimes given at different times. The Bundesliga and the 2nd Bundesliga are not going down a new path. And yet something is lost.

Last match days in Europe’s top leagues
league penultimate day of match last day of match
England quirky simultaneously
Spain quirky quirky
Germany quirky simultaneously
Italy quirky quirky
France simultaneously simultaneously

Merry chaos of the ninth conference only on the 34th day

Stuttgart’s Krassiimr Balakov celebrates his goal on the penultimate day of the 2001 game against Schalke.

Image: imago

Because with the decision of the DFL, the happy chaos of the nine-player conferences on radio and television is only preserved on the last day of the match. The penultimate matchday is particularly memorable: in 2000/01, Schalke 04 lost 1-0 at VfB Stuttgart in the last minute, while Bayern Munich took a 2-1 lead against 1. FC Kaiserslautern almost at the same time and thus took the lead in the table. Schalke’s four-minute championship followed a week later.

There were always exceptions to the kick-off on the penultimate matchday:

  • In 1963/64, there were 14 days between the last two matchdays of the first Bundesliga season. Borussia Dortmund and Hamburger SV played their match on the penultimate day between the two dates. Until the 1970s, kick-off matches were at least customary on all other match days.
  • In 1968/69 Kaiserslautern played Braunschweig on Fridays.
  • In 1969/70, matchday was spread over three days.
  • In 1971/72, the matches Cologne – Duisburg and Oberhausen – Mönchengladbach were played on Fridays.
  • In 1976/77, 1. FC Köln played Borussia Dortmund on Fridays.
  • In 1981/82, Bayern Munich played Arminia Bielefeld on Friday and the following Wednesday they lost 1-0 in the European Cup final against Aston Villa.
  • In 2018/19, Eintracht Frankfurt’s game against Mainz was postponed to Sunday as Eintracht were in the semi-finals of the Europa League.
  • In 2020/21, in the tight season schedule after the Corona hiatus, exceptions had to be made for Leipzig and Dortmund, who were in the cup final and needed rest days.

Even the last matchday was not always sacred: in 1989/90 Bayern played Borussia Dortmund on the last matchday at 6:30 p.m. after all the other matches.

Context: preventing manipulation

“The last two Bundesliga matches and the 2nd Bundesliga must be played simultaneously in each division”, has always been the rule. The context of the obligation to whistle the matches at the same time is to exclude from the outset any conceivable manipulation of the matches. Knowing in advance the results of a competitor can be useful or encourage manipulation. It is also possible to agree on results that both teams use.

Such constellations are rare on the penultimate day, but theoretically possible again and again on the last. Therefore, on the last day of the match, all matches must be called at the same time.


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