Madrid Desk, May 25 (efe-epa).- Two match days have passed since the Bundesliga kicked off again behind closed doors, heralding a new reality for top-flight football — one that seemingly does away with home field advantage.
The frenetic atmosphere drummed up by Germany’s football fans, renowned across the whole of Europe, has been put on mute, as fans are forced to stay and watch the action from home.
There is no yellow wall at Borussia Dortmund, no pressure from the fans at Bayern Munich’s towering Allianz Arena.
Other leagues in Europe will no doubt be looking to the Germans, the first major league to get back underway, to see what they are in for when professional football slowly gets back on its feet after the hiatus brought on by coronavirus.
The grandiose stadiums have been stripped of their purpose and traveling teams no longer have to bear the brunt of a 12th opponent — the fans.
In the 18 games played so far over the two weekends that have lapsed since the Bundesliga took back to the pitch, only three home teams have managed a win. Two of those came as no surprise: Borussia Dortmund thumped Schalke 4-0 and Bayern Munich sent Eintracht Frankfurt packing from the Allianz Arena with 5-2 on the scoreboard. In the Berlin derby, Hertha thrashed Union 4-0.
Five fixtures ended in a draw and no fewer than 10, more than half the fixtures played, saw the visitors come away with a win.
The apparent lack of home advantage is something clubs will have to assimilate to along with the sense of emptiness in the stadium, goals being met with almost total silence and, of course, the new hygiene rules, under which players have been urged to refrain from hugging and high-fives when celebrating a goal.
Even so, some clubs are coming up with initiatives to mask the sadness of empty stadium seating.
On Saturday, Borussia Mönchengladbach fixed 12,000 cardboard cut-outs of fans in their seating area. Evidently they provided little atmosphere, but it at least covered up an otherwise vacuous space.
It did little to help in the end, though, as a visiting Bayern Leverkusen bagged a victory by three goals to one.
At FC Koln’s home game against local rivals Dusseldorf, meanwhile, local fans were replaced with a dummy dressed up as a stormtrooper from Star Wars as well as stuffed goat cuddly toys, a nod to the home team’s famed mascot, Hennes the goat.
Spanish football is also getting ready for a come back from 8 June, according to Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez, offering some relief to a country that has been cooped up for two months. EFE-EPA