Just like nothing happened, Norwegian teenage sensation, Erling Haaland scores for Dortmund in an emphatic win over Schalke 04 on Saturday, 16th May 2020. However, the empty seats in the stadium, and the masked substitutes gave a glimpse of how football’s return will not feel normal for a long time.
Football had been one of the first major casualties of the COVID-19 pandemic. Packed stadiums, filled pubs, and many other of its traditional ingredients would have been potent breeding grounds for the virus. Thus, the football world had to remain on hold as governments battled to control the spread of the pandemic.
As of when this article was published, Google says there have been 310,000,000+ confirmed deaths from the coronavirus. Meanwhile, about 1.67 million people have recovered out of the 4.6 million confirmed cases. The statistics show the extent the virus is spreading worldwide.
Yet, in a bid to keep the spirit of the entertaining game alive, the German League, Bundesliga, took the first courageous step. Its first fixture since 11th March saw Schalke visit Dortmund, in a match played without a crowd.
Since the decision to resume the German League – and other European Leagues subsequently – became official, there have been mixed reactions. Notable footballers, managers and pundits have given their voices for and against the decision. In the end, those who were in favour of the resumption won.
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Notably, the players did their best to adapt to the new situations they found themselves in. Through-out the game, they made contact only when absolutely necessary. Many noticed that this affected the pace of the game between Dortmund and their local rivals, Schalke. In addition, players did not celebrate goals in the usual fashion; group hugs were missing.
In the end, the hosts added three more goals to Haaland’s opener to see off their opponents. Most fitting of all, the Dortmund players did their customary celebration at the end of their home games; they clapped and cheered to the empty stands. A gesture that their fans watching from home would definitely appreciate.
Other fixtures in the Bundesliga continued from then on all-through Saturday and barring any unfortunate circumstance, would go on until likely, fans begin to return to the stadiums. While major football competitions like the European Championship have been shifted to 2021, there is a possibility that other Leagues like the Spanish La Liga and English Premier League could return by the beginning of June.
The Italian Serie A has no rumoured date of resumption; and the French Ligue 1 has already been canceled with Paris Saint-Germain crowned as champions.
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