27 June 2019 – The fixtures for the 2019-20 season of the Bundesliga and Bundesliga 2 will come out on Friday. There are various challenges to overcome before these can be completed. But what are they? Important questions and answers:
When are the fixtures for the new season compiled?
Planning starts for the following season in the spring. In this phase, all relevant data for creation is gathered. This includes the FIFA and UEFA international calendars, as well as data from local authorities, safety bodies (police and ZIS, the central information body for sporting events), clubs and stadium operators. The next step – the actual compilation of the fixtures – begins on the basis of the gathered data after the season ends.
How are the fixtures put together?
Since 2006, the DFL has been working with specially developed software, enabling the creation of individual fixture lists. The software uses the method of integer linear programming – a branch of applied mathematics that is used for planning in logistics and telecommunications areas, too. This method makes it possible to solve complex problems that depend on various factors. All relevant data is translated into variables and fed into the software.
What happens when all the data is in the system?
Once all the variables have been fed into the system, the programme calculates various fixtures that are checked by the DFL after every calculation and then put through many other calculation loops, with the aim of achieving the best result. On average, the software runs 70 cycles until all the requirements have been implemented sufficiently. For each requirement that cannot be met by the software, the programme assigns penalty points. Of course, the software is programmed with the objective of collecting as few penalty points as possible. So, the fixtures that are ultimately calculated will have received the least penalty points comparatively.
Are the fixtures checked again manually, too?
Following the calculation, the DFL again checks whether all the relevant criteria have actually been met and whether these have resulted in a balanced and fair fixture list. Fair means, for example, that the opening matchdays are as balanced as possible for every club.
Why are the exact times of the fixtures not announced until during the season?
International competitions are the main reason why the exact times are announced once the season is under way. To allow vital regeneration periods for teams playing internationally, as a general rule, a Bundesliga matchday is scheduled once the international match dates are certain. The DFL is also in constant contact with the safety authorities to compile fixtures that are guaranteed to run smoothly for all participants. The requirements and interests of clubs, stadium operators and fans are also taken into account where possible.