Bundesliga to have shorter winter break next season

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Soccer - Germany - Bundesliga - Borussia Dortmund v Schalke 04 re-start

BERLIN (Reuters) - The Bundesliga season kicks off on Sept. 18 with champions Bayern Munich taking on Schalke 04 and will only have an 11-day winter break as the German Football League (DFL) adapts the schedule amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The DFL on Friday said Bayern would face Schalke in the season opener but should the Bavarians reach the Aug. 23 Champions League final they would be given a few extra days to rest. Borussia Dortmund launch their season against Borussia Moenchengladbach.

Clubs will have a shorter than usual winter break with the season stopping on Dec. 21 and resuming on Jan 2 to fit in national team obligations and matchdays for European competitions. Bundesliga winter breaks in the past were as long as six weeks sometimes.

The last season was interrupted for two months by the pandemic before resuming in May and finishing in late June.

The German Supercup between double winners Bayern and league runners-up Dortmund will be played on Sept. 30.

The DFL is working on a concept to allow a limited number of fans in the stadium when the season restarts. The German government has banned spectators from all major events until Oct. 31.

(Reporting by Karolos Grohmann; Editing by Christian Radnedge)