The stands at the Signal Iduna Park may have been empty on Saturday, but that didn’t stop the Borussia Dortmund players celebrating their victory over Schalke with their absent fans.– © DFL
Following their comprehensive rout of Schalke in the Revierderby on Matchday 26,Borussia Dortmund players paid tribute to the 80,000 supporters who would usually be roaring in delight from the stands of the Signal Iduna Park– especially the iconicSüdtribüne, the Yellow Wall, home to 25,000 hardcore fans who bleed black and yellow.
“It was for the fans,” emphasis Ed Erling Haaland, who had the distinction of becoming the first goalscorer of the Bundesliga restart when he turned in Thorgan Hazard’s cross on the half-hour mark.
“The team deserves a big compliment,” admitted Sebastian Kehl, the head of Dortmund’s licensed player division. “It felt strange, for the lads too, you could see it in their celebrations. They went over to theSüdtribüneafter the game to give a round of applause to all of our supporters watching on television.”
Bundesliga football may have returned this weekend following a two-month hiatus brought on by the coronavirus outbreak, but fans will be unable to enter stadiums again until next season to prevent the spread of the disease. Yet even if world football’s most loyal followers are absent in body, they are very much present in spirit.
It was spontaneous,”Julian Brandt admitted toSky, of the players’ decision to applaud the empty Yellow Wall. “When theSüdtribünecelebrates it’s completely different, of course. It’s also difficult not to celebrate our goals, but we’re trying to stick to the rules as best we can.”
Erling Haaland celebrated scoring for the 10th time in just nine Bundesliga games while socially distancing from his team-mates.- Borussia Dortmund
Had they been present, the Dortmund faithful would no doubt have reserved some of their loudest cheers for Germany international Brandt, who was involved in all four of his side’s goals, causing Schalke innumerable headaches and providing assists for Raphael Guerriero and Hazard. It was BVB’s first home victory over the Royal Blues since November 2015, and keeps them within touching distance of leaders Bayern Munich.
Lucien Favre’s side have now won eight of their last nine Bundesliga games and boast the division’s only unbeaten home record in 2019/20, having won 10 and drawn three of their 13 outings at the Signal Iduna Park. Next week sees them travel to European hopefuls Wolfsburg, who claimed a last-gap win over Augsburg on Saturday to go sixth.