American Football

No fans but Bundesliga returns

While fans weren't allowed — the most obvious difference to normal match days — the Bundesliga's six gamesno doubt boosted morale among those watching on television around the world who craved actionin a top league. Not to mention the clubs themselves which desperately need the lucrative television money to operate and thrive. Follow @cnnsport Indeed, the Bundesliga is the first major European soccer division to return to action, perhaps providing a template in some ways for how American sports leagues can proceed. Germany's top tier regularly attracts an average of 43,300 people every game, but these matches are being played behind closed doors. "It was weird, but we were ready for the fact that there wouldn't be any spectators," said Leipzig defender Lukas Klostermann after his side's 1-1 home draw against Freiburg. The Bundesliga's hiatus lasted nine weeks, with the three other elite soccer divisions in harder-hit countries in Europe — the UK's Premier League, Spain's La Liga and Italy's Serie A — not yet providing a set date for their comebacks. Those leagues surely were keeping an eye on how Saturday went. Germany, which has been praised for its handling of the pandemic, has reported over 173,000 coronavirus cases with nearly 8,000 deaths, according to the World Health Organization.The Bundesliga enforced strict rules ahead of the restart. "We've had so many other things to organize, to respect, and to solve," FC Koln's head of football, Frank Aehlig, said in a virtual press conference before this weekend's games. "It's completely different from what we know from our normal business."

Other differences

Teams spent a week in quarantine before games, shuttled players — who are regularly tested — to stadiums in multiple buses rather than one, and more than one dressing room was used per team, too. Even then, social distancing rules had to be followed. There were staggered warmups and teams entered the pitch at different times with no mascots, in another change. Substitutes donned masks and sat not in the dugout but between the dugout and stands at Borussia Dortmund's Signal Iduna Park, well apart from teammates. The match ball was disinfected prior to kickoff, presumably resulting in the referee appearing to enter the field last. More than 80,000 fans would usually have shown up to watch Dortmund face Schalke 04 in one of soccer's fiercest rivalries but instead the lone sounds were coaches and players yelling out instructions and clapping encouragement and shrieks of pain from players when fouled. The first goal in any game came at Dortmund and from the most likely contender, Erling Braut Haaland. The 19-year-old deftly deflected Thorgan Hazard's cross with his left foot in the 29th minute as Dortmund thrashed Schalke 4-0 to move within a point of idle leader Bayern Munich.Erling Braut Haaland celebrates after scoring for Borussia Dortmund Saturday. He celebrated with a dance at a distance from his teammates, devoid of much noise. When Dortmund medical staff attended to Haaland on the pitch in the second half, they also wore masks. A mask was given to Dortmund's Thomas Delaney when he was substituted in the 67th minute. The customary celebration post game from Dortmund players — arms being raised and lowered — happened but not while holding hands with teammates and when Haaland spoke after the game to the Bundesliga, the microphone was covered with something lookiRead More – Source