It wasn’t Liverpool vs Manchester United or Arsenal vs Spurs. But it was live football. After a two-month coronavirus shutdown, that was good enough for many match-starved fans. The German Bundesliga yesterday became the first major league to resume, with five games played behind closed doors, including a Ruhr derby between Borussia Dortmund and Schalke 04. The restart was a moment that fans, administrators, TV bosses and politicians hope will prove a first morale-boosting step towards normality.
From Dortmund, BT Sport’s coverage panned round a cavernous and virtually empty Westfalenstadion. Substitutes perched on seats two metres apart wearing face masks, while the players’ shouts echoed eerily. The fans were missing, and they were missed.
The combination of recorded cheers and tinny music that accompanied each of Dortmund’s four goals made their absence starker.