The Bundesliga, the top-tier of German football, returns this weekend with a full program of league matches after over two months without any action. In doing so they become the first major European football league to resume, although the precautions taken to enable to matches to take place mean that this is far from a return to normality.
The teams have been in isolation for seven days in hotels, being tested regularly to ensure that nobody who takes the field has been infected with COVID-19. All matches will be played behind closed doors with no fans in attendance and the streets around the stadiums also cordoned off.
The Bundesliga is well-known for the amazing support that the clubs receive at matches, so for the fixtures to be played in near-silence for the foreseeable future will take some getting used to. However, while the passion of the German fans can’t be replicated, one club has used the power of print to try and replicate a normal matchday experience in an innovative way.
Fourth-placed Borussia Mönchengladbach decided to launch a campaign called Stay at home. Be in the stands which encourages fans to buy a printed cardboard cutout of themselves to be installed inside the stadium. The cutouts cost £16.50 each, with the profits being donated to local causes and charitable projects.
The task of printing the cutouts has also been given to two printing firms in Mönchengladbach who were forced to close due to the coronavirus.
The team’s first home match is on Saturday 23rd May against Bayer Leverkusen when it is believed that over 8,000 ‘supporters’ will be displayed inside the ground. We’re not too sure the Mexican wave will be very successful however…