We asked a German football expert what Sheffield Wednesday can learn from their return to action

All eyes have been on Germany in recent weeks after the top two tiers of their football pyramid made a return to football ahead of all other major leagues.

Sunday, 31st May 2020, 7:00 am
Updated Sunday, 31st May 2020, 3:35 pm

The return of the Championship still seems a little way off, but with the Premier League fixture list back up and running as of June 17, it might be closer than we think.

We spoke to 2.Bundesliga writer Tom Nuttall-Jones – who specialises in the coverage of Jos Luhukay and Matt Penney’s St Pauli – what notable differences there has been in the division since its return.

English football fans have been watching the return of football in Germany from a distance. How's it all gone?

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I think on the whole it has to be considered to have gone well so far, and certainly, the example set by one of Europe's best leagues (not to mention the Bundesliga) returning relatively smoothly will have given other nations confidence to press ahead with their return plans.

Naturally, there will always be dissenting voices, and certain fan groups have been particularly negative about having any football whatsoever go ahead in this way, but I think the consequences of not going ahead would have been felt extremely harshly by certain smaller clubs.

Ultimately this has been a necessary evil and I think the football that we get back at the end of it will be more similar to what we had than if we had waited this out indefinitely.

Have there been any notable differences in style of play in the 2.Bundesliga since the comeback?

HAMBURG, GERMANY - MAY 27: Robin Himmelmann of St. Pauli chats to Kevin Mueller of 1.FC Heidenheim after the Second Bundesliga match between FC St. Pauli and 1. FC Heidenheim 1846 at Millerntor Stadium on May 27, 2020 in Hamburg, Germany. (Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)

It has certainly felt notable! It did seem initially jarring and I think the reaction of a lot of people was "this feels like a training game". There was certainly some truth in that - I read from a few outlets that in the first weekend tackles and dribbles attempted were significantly lower than normal, so clearly at first there was some trepidation from the players to get up close and personal, in spite of the comprehensive testing.

But I think there is on some level the illusion of no intensity because of the lack of atmosphere, I don't think style of play has been significantly different and games have stayed competitive and entertaining.

It will be interesting to see whether that changes, and how England copes when we're playing packed schedules during hotter months than we usually see football in.

What impact has the five sub rule had? Have they been used tactically? Have they been used earlier etc?

It's quite tough to say why, but managers have usually been taking advantage of the extra two subs, and they are often used earlier. It's likely for a combination of tactical flexibility and managing their players' fatigue.

I'm sure your readers know how difficult it is to decipher what Jos Luhukay is thinking - he may have set a new record last week for football's first competitive quadruple sub in St Pauli's 4-0 loss to Darmstadt.