May 15, 2020 - Sports

Bundesliga returns with all-American battle

Kendall Baker, author of Sports
Data: ESPN; Note: The 6th place team only earns a spot in the Europa League qualifying round; Table: Axios Visuals

Germany's Bundesliga will resume play on Saturday, becoming the first major European soccer league to return to action.

The backdrop: There's still a lot of anxiety surrounding the proceedings. Second-division team Dynamo Dresden had to enter a two-week quarantine last weekend following a couple of positive tests.

The intrigue: The top four teams qualify for the Champions League, and with the top five teams currently separated by just eight points, there will be plenty of drama atop the standings.

New rule: Since players will likely not be in game shape, teams will be allowed five substitutes per match (up from three), with managers given three opportunities to use their allotment in an effort to reduce disruptions.

Player to watch: While 19-year-old Borussia Dortmund striker Erling Haaland has quickly become soccer's most-wanted teenager, I'd like to draw your attention to his teammate, 17-year-old American Giovanni Reyna.

  • You might know his father, Claudio, who won three straight national titles at Virginia, was part of four World Cup squads and is widely considered one of the best players the U.S. has ever produced.
  • Gio arrived at Dortmund last July, just a few months after fellow American wunderkind Christian Pulisic left to join Chelsea. Pulisic scored his first Dortmund goal at 17 years, 212 days old. Gio scored his at 17 years, 83 days old — and it was an absolute beauty.
"Visions abound of Reyna and Pulisic teaming up to lead the U.S. back to the World Cup in Qatar two years from now, and then really making their mark when the tournament is played on home soil in 2026. For an American soccer public still hoping for the sport to truly break through in the U.S., the possibilities are intoxicating."
— Sam Stejskal, The Athletic

Game of the weekend: Reyna and Borussia Dortmund face off against Schalke 04, which is one of their bitter rivals and features another young American in Weston McKennie.

  • TV: Saturday, 9:30 a.m. ET (FS1, Fox Deportes)

Go deeper...Special report: Coronavirus puts youth sports on pause

Go deeper

As techlash heats up again, here's who's stoking the fire

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

As controversies around online speech rage against a backdrop of racial tension, presidential provocation and a pandemic, a handful of companies, lawmakers and advocacy groups have continued to promote a backlash against Big Tech.

The big picture: Companies like Facebook and Google got a reputational boost at the start of the coronavirus lockdown, but that respite from criticism proved brief. They're now once again walking a minefield of regulatory investigations, public criticism and legislative threats over antitrust concerns, content moderation and privacy concerns.

Cities are retooling public transit to lure riders back

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

After being told for months to stay away from others, the idea of being shoulder to shoulder again in a bus or subway terrifies many people, requiring sweeping changes to public transit systems for the COVID-19 era.

Why it matters: Cities can't come close to resuming normal economic activity until large numbers of people feel comfortable using public transportation.

The policies that could help fix policing

 Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

George Floyd's death has reignited the long and frustrating push to reform a law enforcement system whose systemic flaws have been visible for years.

Why it matters: Solving these problems will require deep political, structural and cultural changes, experts and advocates say — but they also point to a handful of specific policy changes that, while not a cure, would make a difference.