‘We hate Mondays!’ German league to ditch Monday matches after fan protests

The German Football League (DFL) on Wednesday confirmed that Monday night matches will be scrapped in the Bundesliga from the 2021/22 season.

'We hate Mondays!' German league to ditch Monday matches after fan protests
At a game in Bremen earlier this year, Werder Bremen fans protest against the Monday matches. Photo: DPA

While other European leagues are prolonging their football weekend with televised Monday kick offs, Germany's top flight is bucking the trend, following pressure from fans.

Fans rallied against the five matches held on Monday nights – Montagsspiele – last season, when the initiative was first introduced, either with silent protests at matches or boycotts.

Some supporters also threw tennis balls on the pitches to demonstrate their dissatisfaction. Others held up colourful signs or posters with 'gegen Montagsspiele' (against Monday games) written across them.

The first Monday night kick-off this season is on December 3rd when Nuremberg host Bayer Leverkusen.

Now, in what appears to be a result of the fan protests and complaints by the clubs, when the new TV contract starts with the 2021/22 season, the five TV matches will be switched to Sundays and the Monday games will be scrapped.

The German Football League (DFL) posted a statement bout the decision to stop the Monday Games on Wednesday. The organization said: “The DFL can confirm that a decision was made as early as September to abandon Monday games in the Bundesliga when the next media rights deal is negotiated.”

On Tuesday, several fan groups had announced nationwide campaigns and a boycott of some matches.
However, all this will still  take place despite the news from DFL, the fan organizations “Unsere Kurve” and “Pro Fans” confirmed.
“It's not only about Monday games in the first league, but also in the second and third leagues – and basically about games during the week,” explained Jochen Grotepaß, spokesman for “Unsere Kurve”.
In Leverkusen, supporters had also announced that they would boycott the Nuremberg match completely.
Nevertheless, the Bundesliga clubs want to meet their obligations with the Monday games in the current TV contract.
Michael Gabriel, head of the Fan Projects Coordination Office (KOS) in Frankfurt/Main, said he saw the abolition of the Monday games as a “signal that football is listening”.
“I am sure that this will be very, very positively received by the fan scene,” he said.

By the end of September, spectators in the first three leagues had expressed their dissatisfaction with what they saw as a growing gap between supporters, clubs and associations, as well as the increasing commercialization of football. 'We're taking our game back!' – is the fans' motto.

In view of the often fierce fan protests, some club managers had backed them – which Borussia Mönchengladbach's manager Max Eberl criticized in 'Sport Bild' in September.
He said: “We clubs voted unanimously for these games because we think it is right from a sporting point of view,” adding that it makes it possible “to relieve some of the pressure on teams that play internationally”. 

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Putellas becomes second Spanish footballer in history to win Ballon d’Or

Alexia Putellas of Barcelona and Spain won the women's Ballon d'Or prize on Monday, becoming only the second Spanish-born footballer in history to be considered the best in the world, and claiming a win for Spain after a 61-year wait.

FC Barcelona's Spanish midfielder Alexia Putellas poses after being awarded thewomen's Ballon d'Or award.
FC Barcelona's Spanish midfielder Alexia Putellas poses after being awarded thewomen's Ballon d'Or award. Photo: FRANCK FIFE / AFP

Putellas is the third winner of the prize, following in the footsteps of Ada Hegerberg, who won the inaugural women’s Ballon d’Or in 2018, and United States World Cup star Megan Rapinoe, winner in 2019.

Putellas captained Barcelona to victory in this year’s Champions League, scoring a penalty in the final as her side hammered Chelsea 4-0 in Gothenburg.

She also won a Spanish league and cup double with Barca, the club she joined as a teenager in 2012, and helped her country qualify for the upcoming Women’s Euro in England.

Her Barcelona and Spain teammate Jennifer Hermoso finished second in the voting, with Sam Kerr of Chelsea and Australia coming in third.

It completes an awards double for Putellas, who in August was named player of the year by European football’s governing body UEFA.

But it’s also a huge win for Spain as it’s the first time in 61 years that a Spanish footballer – male or female – is crowned the world’s best footballer of the year, and only the second time in history a Spaniard wins the Ballon d’Or. 

Former Spanish midfielder Luis Suárez (not the ex Liverpool and Barça player now at Atlético) was the only Spanish-born footballer to win the award in 1960 while at Inter Milan. Argentinian-born Alfredo Di Stefano, the Real Madrid star who took up Spanish citizenship, also won it in 1959.

Who is Alexia Putellas?

Alexia Putellas grew up dreaming of playing for Barcelona and after clinching the treble of league, cup and Champions League last season, her status as a women’s footballing icon was underlined as she claimed the Ballon d’Or on Monday.

Unlike the men’s side, Barca’s women swept the board last term with the 27-year-old, who wears “Alexia” on the back of her shirt, at the forefront, months before Lionel Messi’s emotional departure.

Attacker Putellas, who turns 28 in February, spent her childhood less than an hour’s car journey from the Camp Nou and she made her first trip to the ground from her hometown of Mollet del Valles, for the Barcelona derby on January 6, 2000.

Barcelona's Spanish midfielder Alexia Putellas (R) vies with VfL Wolfsburg's German defender Kathrin Hendrich
Putellas plays as a striker for Barça and Spain. GABRIEL BOUYS / POOL / AFP

Exactly 21 years later she became the first woman in the modern era to score in the stadium, against Espanyol. Her name was engraved in the club’s history from that day forward, but her story started much earlier.

She started playing the sport in school, against boys.

“My mum had enough of me coming home with bruises on my legs, so she signed me up at a club so that I stopped playing during break-time,” Putellas said last year.

So, with her parent’s insistence, she joined Sabadell before being signed by Barca’s academy.

“That’s where things got serious… But you couldn’t envisage, with all one’s power, to make a living from football,” she said.

After less than a year with “her” outfit, she moved across town to Espanyol and made her first-team debut in 2010 before losing to Barca in the final of the Copa de la Reina.

She then headed south for a season at Valencia-based club Levante before returning “home” in July 2012, signing for Barcelona just two months after her father’s death.

In her first term there she helped Barca win the league and cup double, winning the award for player of the match in the final of the latter competition.