Football is back! And Erling Haalalnd became the first footballer to score the goal in Bunedsliga in 65 days. His goal gave way to the new kind of social-distancing celebration.
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. Dortmund won the derby 4-0.
With a strict health protocol governing the fragile restart, which includes no fans, face masks for everyone but the players, no handshakes and no group celebrations, Haaland’s goal celebration started trending soon on social media and so did the team’s appreciation clap for the ‘Yellow Wall’ despite no fans being inside Signal Iduna Park.
This club man! 😭💛@ErlingHaaland pays tribute to the Dortmund fans who couldn’t be at the game today.
— beIN SPORTS (@beINSPORTS_EN) May 16, 2020
Following the game, Haaland was interviewed by beIN SPORTS but it didn’t look like the Norwegian was in a talkative mode. The interviewer asked why the players decided to clap the ‘Yellow Wall’ despite no fans and Haaland replied: “Why not?”
Haaland did not say anything after that and looked at the interviewer with a raised eyebrow. The interviewer proceeded to ask if it was a message the Bundesliga outfit wanted to send out. Haaland then said there was and the reporter asks what the message was.
The striker responds: “To the fans.”
He is then asked if fans are everything to football. “Yes, it is,” Haaland responds, before leaving with a ‘thankyou’.
Goal celebrations around the Bundesliga on Saturday were limited to smiles, thumbs-up and the occasional fist or elbow bump as mask-wearing substitutes, dispersed in the stands to keep them apart, applauded from the sidelines.
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