Football fans have another chance to experience behind closed doors matches this weekend, as the Bundesliga plays its second round of fixtures since returning.

Last week supporters saw some of the new rules in place, with teammates unable to celebrate together and those on the sidelines having to sit 2m apart while wearing face masks.

Another new rule that will remain in place for the remainder of the current Bundesliga season allows teams to use up to five substitutes, instead of the more regular three.

However there are good reasons for the change, and it could be seen more widely once other leagues return to action.

Why five substitutes?

Bundesliga stars have been training in small groups since mid-April, only returning to full-team training shortly before last weekend’s matches.

A Bundesliga substitutes bench in 2020 - everyone 2m apart and wearing masks
A Bundesliga substitutes bench in 2020 – everyone 2m apart and wearing masks
(Image: MARTIN MEISSNER/POOL/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock)

As a result their match fitness is significantly lower than usual, making them more susceptible to cramp and injuries.

As a result, five substitutes are now allowed to help protect players.

Borussia Dortmund boss Lucien Favre welcomed the decision ahead of last week’s Bundesliga return, saying: “I am happy that we can substitute five players.

“That’s a very, very good idea. You must clearly say that all teams, without an exemption, won’t be fully ready. It will come. But this is the first match. We have not played a friendly. It’s a very, very good thing.”

Will we see five substitutes in the Premier League?

Chelsea manager Frank Lampard during a self isolating small group training session at Chelsea's training ground on May 19
Chelsea manager Frank Lampard during a self isolating small group training session at Chelsea’s training ground on May 19
(Image: Chelsea FC via Getty Images)

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Premier League players are facing similar challenges to their German counterparts, having to train on their own until this week.

On Monday Premier League clubs voted to start stage 1 of ‘Project Restart’, which allows players to train in groups of five or less, although social distancing must be observed and contact training not yet allowed.

The new rules have been described as “as safe as it can be” by Newcastle boss Steve Bruce, though some players such as Watford captain Troy Deeney say more questions need answering before they return to training.

The Premier League can choose to allow clubs to also use five substitutes per match when the season restarts, with world football’s lawmakers, the IFAB, giving the green light to leagues to take up that option if they wish.

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