In this week's exclusive column, Dimitar Berbatov reveals his delight that top level football is returning and talks about the challenges of playing behind closed doors...
"Sometimes it can affect you performance when you go out there and there are no fans, you know it's a serious game but in a way you body and mind can tell you it's like a practice game, which can lead to bad games and performances, which isn't a good thing."
Next week football is back with the return of the Bundesliga, which is good news. I am looking forward to seeing how they are going to implement everything. Hopefully everything will be good and most importantly everyone will be safe.
The Germans are, as always, leading the way and showing how things can be done. I'm excited and I hope everything goes smoothly as they have planned, that many other leagues can follow.
Playing behind closed door is very different but safety of people is most important
Playing behind closed doors isn't going to be the same and everybody knows that. It will be quiet and you will be able to hear all the players talking on the pitch and communicating with their coaches. The atmosphere won't be there and it's going to be different for every team. Some are going to take it okay and others may suffer from it.
Sometimes it can affect you performance when you go out there and there are no fans, you know it's a serious game but in a way you body and mind can tell you it's like a practice game, which can lead to bad games and performances, which isn't a good thing. But for the sake of everybody it needs to be this way at the moment, the safety of everybody is the most important thing.
I played a match for Bayer Leverkusen behind closed doors away from home against Roma in the Champions League group stage (pictured below). It wasn't good, you could see that both teams were feeling the same thing, there were no fans, no atmosphere, it was quiet and you could hear everyone talking. It was almost as if it was a practice game, except that it was a Champions League match and you had to motivate yourself even more because of it. I actually scored one of my best goals ever in that game, I wanted to motivate myself and I said that it didn't matter and it was still a football game that we had to win, or at least not lose.
When there are no fans, the home team doesn't have the advantage or in some cases that pressure of the supporters, you don't have to think about if the fans are going to boo you if you make a bad pass or if you don't play well. It can have another effect for the away team because there are no fans to boo or intimidate them, we all know that sometimes fans can win a game. It all depends on how players motivate themselves and how they prepare for this situation.
Hopefully when they step on to the pitch and start playing for the results their minds are going to only be on the game, but that is going to be difficult.
Bundesliga is a great league to follow
From my personal experience the Bundesliga is great, if you want to grow as a football player it's the best place. At Leverkusen they gave me my chance, and it didn't matter if I had good games or bad games they always believed in my ability and throughout my journey there I met and played against really good players.
I had phenomenal team mates at the time and I learnt a lot from them, I also suffered a lot in the first year when we lost all three finals. But overall, the Bundesliga and the way they organise their football is great. A lot of things have changed since I played there and now it is even better than before.
One thing that hasn't changed though is Bayern Munich are still the dominant team.
There are some very strong teams in the league, Dortmund are better than they used to be, which is mainly down to Jurgen Klopp and how he changed them, but the team I also like to watch from time to time is RB Leipzig. They are currently third and they have a very exciting squad. They like to play good attacking football, they respect every opponent but you can tell that they aren't afraid of anyone and you saw that against Spurs in the Champions League.
Their coach is unbelievable as well and hopefully, they can keep their star players, Timo Werner and Dayot Upamecano are two that will attract a lot of attention. I hope they keep them though because teams will be watching them and when Bayern Munich, Barcelona, Real Madrid and any other big established teams come in for players, it is difficult to keep hold of them.