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Dublin: 9°C Thursday 22 October 2020
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'There was no noise - you shoot or score a goal and nothing happens'

Bundesliga players got a taste for playing behind closed doors today.

BORUSSIA DORTMUND’S COACH and chief executive spoke of the “very strange” and “surreal” experience of games being played in empty stadiums after their side beat Schalke as the Bundesliga returned to action.

Second-placed Dortmund won 4-0 to close the gap on leaders Bayern Munich to one point as the Bundesliga became the first top league to resume play since the coronavirus pandemic forced the season to be put on hold in March.

Dortmund’s CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke said it had been unsettling to watch the game in the club’s empty Signal Iduna Park, where more than 80,000 spectators would normally have roared on the teams.

borussia-dortmund-v-schalke-04 Source: Martin Meissner

“There is something surreal about it. In the two hours before the match, you receive text messages from all over the world, people who tell you that they are going to watch the match on TV,” Watzke said.

“And then you drive through your city and there is absolutely nothing happening. You have to get used to it.”

Dortmund winger Julian Brandt said the club’s defeat at Paris Saint-Germain’s Parc des Princes behind closed doors in February had helped them acclimatise to the echoing stands.

“We had a small advantage,” said Brandt, who helped create two goals on Saturday.

“We’d already played behind closed doors in Paris and we knew the feeling of silence in the stadium,” he said, referring to the 2-0 away defeat which saw the German team exit the Champions League in the last 16.

“Of course, we’d have preferred normal conditions, but in the end, football is football and we tried to have fun,” added Brandt.

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“It was tough on the legs at the end, because of the long break.”

borussia-dortmund-v-schalke-04 Source: DPA/PA Images

Head coach Lucien Favre landed a playful punch on the arm of ex-captain Sebastian Kehl on the Dortmund bench at the final whistle, but it was Schalke chairman Clemens Toennies who felt bruised.

“4:0 against Schalke – that’s quite okay,” said Favre as Dortmund avenged their 4-2 home derby defeat a year ago.

He admitted it was strange playing in such exceptional conditions.

“There was no noise – you shoot at the goal, make a top pass, score a goal – and nothing happens,” said the Swiss.

“That’s very, very strange. We really missed our fans.

“It’s hard to judge how good the game was, but the players were very focused.”

- © AFP 2020

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