Live sport is slowly making its return to the world and fans cannot get enough of the action with one of the premier football leagues in the world getting back underway overnight.
Germany’s top tier Bundesliga was back on the pitch with fans tuning in across the globe to take in the sight of players running around. Of course the sight of games being played in front of empty stadiums still caught many fans off guard.
Borussia Dortmund’s contest against Schalke was compared to a “training session” with coaches and players’ shouts all heard at the silent stadium.
Without supporters in the stadium the intensity of the game appeared to suffer, with footballers giving their thoughts on unprecedented circumstances online. Crystal Palace fullback Patrick van Aanholt said it just wasn’t the same.
And with the return came confusion from both players and fans as some goals were celebrated with teammates keeping a solid distance as they went through their celebrations.
Hertha Berlin players won’t be punished for hugging and kissing as they enjoyed a much-needed victory when German football resumed on Saturday, the Bundesliga confirmed after the match.
In order to obtain the political green light to resume this weekend, the Bundesliga agreed strict rules to avoid the spread of coronavirus.
Yet, while players in other games celebrated with elbow taps or solo dance routines, Hertha’s players hugged and kissed as they won, 3-0, in Hoffenheim.
Hertha started the game 13th on the table with only seven wins in 25 games and under new management. But eyebrows were raised when Belgian defender Dedryck Boyata kissed teammate Marko Grujic on the cheek after their team’s first goal. A breach of the strict guidelines put in place.
“The fact is that this is part of football,” said Bruno Labbadia, who was named as Jurgen Klinsmann’s replacement during the lockdown.
“We’ve been tested so many times that we can allow it.”
“If you can’t celebrate anymore, the whole thing breaks down. I’m just glad that the team had reason to cheer today.”
“Emotions are part of the game.”
The German Football League (DFL) had presented the German authorities with a 51-page document, which convinced the federal government and regions that football could be allowed to resume behind closed doors.
In an accompanying document sent to clubs, the DFL said hugging and hand contact in celebration of goals should be avoided and that preference should be given to “elbow or foot contact”.
But on Saturday, a DFL spokesman confirmed there would be no punishment, as it had only offered “guidelines” on how goals should be celebrated.
“For celebrations, only advice has been given and therefore there can be no sanctions,” a DFL spokesman said.
As part of its program to ensure a safe return, the DFL has tested players and coaches regularly for the virus and teams have been in quarantine for the past week.
Along with Boyata, Borussia Monchengladbach star Marcus Thuram also raised eyebrows when he appeared to kiss his teammates while celebrating a goal.
The Borussia Monchengladbach star looked to peck his fellow player on the cheek after scoring his side’s second against Frankfurt. Any contact outside of challenges is banned – and subs have even been made to sit two metres apart.
But Thuram, 22, the son of France legend Lilian, will also not be punished by Bundesliga bosses after it was confirmed they will take no action on players who flout guidelines.
Herta defeated Hoffenheim 3-0
Wolfsburg defeated Augsburg 2-1
Dortmund defeated Schalke 4-0
Dusseldorf drew with Paderborn 0-0
RB Leipzig drew with SC Freiburg 0-0
Monchengladbach defeated Eintracht Frankfurt 3-1
– with wires