Yesterday’s match was the first Bundesliga match – and the first football match to be conducted amidst the coronavirus pandemic. So how did it go?
Quite weird, really. Sure, Dortmund won 4-0 over Schalke. Although fans had got a taste of matches being played in an almost empty stadium, during the early pandemic stages – this match was different. There was complete silence in the stadium. No mascot was standing, neither did the players follow their usual routine of smiling and waving at the fans. The match was more like a “business” affair – to the point, to close a deal.
“It’s strange and unfamiliar, it makes your heart bleed,” commented Michael Zorc – Borussia Dortmund’s sporting director, on the near-empty stadium and eerie atmosphere. Only 300 people were allowed inside, in batches of 100. Temperature checks were done for all, and masks were worn.
Each kick and pass reverberated within the stadium walls and shouts of players could be heard clearly. Within the first half hour, Erling Haaland scored the first goal for Dortmund, setting the course of the match, followed by Rahphael Guerreiro and Thorgan Hazard – but his team players couldn’t go near him to celebrate due to social distancing rules. We saw some of the team awkwardly celebrating within their own spaces after a goal – rather amusing.
“It was very, very special,” Dortmund coach Lucien Favre said in the virtual post-match news conference. “There’s no noise, you create a chance, you play a top pass, a goal and … nothing. It’s very, very weird. We miss our fans very much. It was just a very different match.”
In the end, however, we all wonder the same thing. Is it safe enough to conduct matches like this?
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