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Saturday, May 30, 2020

Social distancing rules large in goal celebrations, substitute bench on Bundesliga restart

The scenes at the empty Signal Iduna Park on Saturday, which normally accommodates 80,000 people, could be the new normal for football.

By: Sports Desk | Updated: May 16, 2020 10:13:58 pm
Borussia Dortmund players celebrate Erling Haaland’s first goal (Twitter/BlackYellow)

The Bundesliga resumed with the Revierderby — Borussia Dortmund vs Schalke 04 — on Saturday, with the scenes at the empty Signal Iduna Park, which accommodates 80,000 fans in normal times, possibly mirroring how sports could be played in a post-Covid world in the immediate future.

In place of players huddling after goals, a unique sight was seen after each of the four goals Dortmund pumped past Schalke — teammates either applauding the goalscorer with claps or bumping each others’ elbows.

Erling Haaland scored the first goal in the Bundesliga in as many as 65 days but the celebration that followed was a gentle swaying of the body as his teammates followed suit from a respectable distance.

The substitutes bench also offered a unique sight, with players maintaining social distancing norms and wearing face masks. When each of the players were substituted off the field, players like Thomas Delaney and Thorgan Hazard were each given a mask in the dugout.

When substitutions were made by teams, there were no clapping of the hands between the player going out and the one going in, that tradition being replaced by a nod.

Dortmund carried out their traditional post-match team celebration as well, but this also was with a twist. The players did stretch out their hands towards each other and walk towards the empty stands, but they took care to maintain distancing in this as well.

Dortmund won the match 4-0 as Raphael Guerreiro scored twice while Erling Haaland and Thorgan Hazard added a goal each. They moved within a point of the top spot with 54 points from 26 matches.

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