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PHOTOS: German Bundesliga lays down strict measures as football returns behind closed doors

Last updated 1 month ago | By Waweru Titus

Balls were disinfected before the matches. [Photo: Courtesy]

The German Bundesliga returned on Saturday as Borussia Dortmund took on Schalke (Revierderby) among other mouth-watering matches that football fans were missing because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Dortmund thrashed traditional rivals Schalke 04 4-0 to close the gap on champions and league leaders Bayern Munich to one point.

From social distancing substitutes using airport stairs to disinfected balls and a potential television audience of one billion, the Bundesliga enjoyed a unique restart as the first of four major top leagues in Europe to resume amid Covid-19.

There were only 300 people at the Signal Iduna Park, a stadium that hosts 82,000 people on a derby day.

The people in the Park included players, staff, team officials, broadcasters and security personnel, as in every stadium as part of a strict health protocol.

Fans were also banned from inside and around the venues to minimise the risk of infection.

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Every shout, scream and thud of the ball bounced off the concrete tribunes and was picked up by the pitchside microphones to create a surreal atmosphere, Reuters reported.

Security officers were in the vicinity early enough to prevent fans from accessing the stadium or gathering outside to celebrate.

Inside the stadiums, masks were mandatory for everyone apart from the players.

Some other measures that were taken include:

  • Players were tested the day before matches.
  • Teams travelled to matches in three buses for social distancing.
  • Players entered pitches separately.
  • There were no handshakes.

Below are some of the photos:

Bundesliga - Fortuna Dusseldorf v SC Paderborn - Merkur Spiel-Arena, Dusseldorf, Germany - May 16, 2020 Balls are disinfected, as play resumes behind closed doors following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). [Sascha Schuermann/Pool via REUTERS]
Bundesliga - Eintracht Frankfurt v Borussia Moenchengladbach - Commerzbank-Arena, Frankfurt, Germany - May 16, 2020. A member of Frankfurt's coaching staff wears a face mask, as play resumes behind closed doors following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). [Michael Probst/Pool via REUTERS]
Bundesliga - Eintracht Frankfurt v Borussia Moenchengladbach - Commerzbank-Arena, Frankfurt, Germany - May 16, 2020, Frankfurt team members wearing face masks, keeping a distance, sit in the stands as play resumes behind closed doors. [Michael Probst/Pool via REUTERS]
Eintracht Frankfurt v Borussia Moenchengladbach - Commerzbank-Arena, Frankfurt, Germany - May 16, 2020. General view of the action and empty stands, as play resumes behind closed doors following the outbreak of COVID-19. [Michael Probst/Pool via REUTERS]
Eintracht Frankfurt v Borussia Moenchengladbach - Commerzbank-Arena, Frankfurt, Germany - May 16, 2020. A cameraman wearing a face mask prepares before the match. [Photo: Reuters]
Bundesliga - RB Leipzig v SC Freiburg - Red Bull Arena, Leipzig, Germany - May 16, 2020, SC Freiburg coach Christian Streich wears a protective face mask after the match, as play resumes behind closed doors following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease. [Jan Woitas/Pool via REUTERS]
Steward Thorsten Lange stands behind the locked stadium gates at Signal Iduna Park with a BVB mask prior to the German Bundesliga soccer match between Borussia Dortmund and FC Schalke 04 in Dortmund, Germany, Saturday, May 16, 2020. [Guido Kirchner/dpa via AP]
Bundesliga - Fortuna Dusseldorf v SC Paderborn - Merkur Spiel-Arena, Dusseldorf, Germany - May 16, 2020 Balls are disinfected, as play resumes behind closed doors. [Photo: Reuters]
Bundesliga - TSG 1899 Hoffenheim v Hertha BSC - PreZero Arena, Sinsheim, Germany - May 16, 2020. A TV camera operator wears a protective face mask before the match, as play resumes behind closed doors following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease. [Thomas Kienzle/Pool via REUTERS]
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