Themeans more live action for sports fans, but it also means we'll get a closer look at some of the top American players in Germany. United States men's national team star midfielder Weston McKennie is one of them. The Schalke standout will lead his club into the . .
The Texas native joined CBS Sports HQ on Thursday to talk about the league returning, training and more.
"I'm definitely excited," McKennie said. "One of my biggest attributes is slide tackling. Just going into tackles and fighting. That's something I defineitely miss and can't wait to get back to doing."
The league has been suspended for two months, but will be the first major European league to resume. The Premier League, Serie A and La Liga have yet to return, while France's Ligue 1 had the rest of its season called off.
Organization, planning and proper testing saw Germanbefore the Bundesliga formally announced the May 16 start date on Thursday. Teams in Germany have been training for weeks, moving to groups of 6-8 recently.
"We've been really strict. We've been trying to follow the guidelines that have been given to us so that we could be able to start back up as soon as we could," McKennie said.
The former FC Dallas youth product said there are separate locker rooms for players, and masks are required if players need treatment from a trainer.
"For a long time we were just doing passing exercises that way we didn't come in contact with anyone," McKennie said. "It felt like preseason a bit because we did a lot of fitness and a lot of running, but I think it will definitely pay off when we start playing again."
McKennie, who detailed to CBS Sports last month what it was like being, said the whole situation has been strange but has looked at it in a positive light.
"It's really different. It's something that's very mentally demanding. It's summer time, you get the summer vibes, you're outside, you see the sun shining and you are like "Ah, it's time to go home.' And then this whole thing happens where you don't play for two months and you have to pick back up," McKennie said. "I try and look at it in a positive way. There's a lot of people out there that have it much worse, and there's a lot of people out there that are really struggling through this as well."
McKennie can't wait for the match against Dortmund and fellow U.S. soccer talent Gio Reyna. Schalke is currently in sixth place and in a qualification spot for the Europa League. Dortmund is in second place, firmly in the title fight but four points behind Bayern Munich. McKennie said playing in the legendary Signal Iduna Park without fans will be something else, while adding that they are going to play as if there were fans.
"It's going to definitely take me on a trip back down memory lane when I was a young kid not playing in front of anyone, nobody on the sidelines. It will be different, it will be a bit awkward because if you make a mistake or something, you'll definitely hear the reactions of the coaches," he said. "It will be weird. I think if we do score, we will probably celebrate like there are fans still there, just with the distance between everyone."
A win could put the team well on the track for European qualification, which is the squad's main objective. McKennie hopes to put the ball away a couple times before the season ends.
"Our goal is to be farther ahead of the other teams fitness-wise and also and hopefully playing-wise with our touches," McKennie said. "We are hoping to stay top six and qualify for [any] European competition."