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Who’s saying what as the Bundesliga returns

Berlin (AFP) – The German Bundesliga on Saturday became the first major European league to resume playing after a two-month coronavirus lockdown.

Matches were played without fans while goal celebrations were banned and benches observed social distancing.

AFP Sport looks at the reaction:

“There is something surreal about it. In the two hours before the match, you receive text messages from all over the world, people who tell you that they are going to watch the match on TV, and then you drive through your city and there is absolutely nothing happening. You have to get used to it.”

— Borussia Dortmund chief executive Hans-Joachim Watzke after his team’s 4-0 win over local rivals Schalke

“There is no noise, you shoot at the goal, you make a great pass, you score, and nothing happens, it’s very, very weird.”

— Dortmund coach Lucien Favre

“Not necessarily for the players, who may have to buy one less Lamborghini, but for the economy that depends on it — the coaches, ground staff, fan shops. On a match day, some shops, including fast-food stands, rake in revenues equivalent to that of a normal week.”

— Long-standing Dortmund supporter Marco Perz on why it was crucial the German season restarted

“For us the situation is not really new. We have already been training in empty stadiums. But it is sad not to have fans in the stadium. In the long run, it doesn’t matter. It won’t affect the quality of the game if there are no spectators. Also as a coach, this isn’t something new as I have trained youth teams in the past and I always heard myself shouting.”

— Freiburg coach Christian Streich 

“The day was a bit odd. I am an emotional man, I like to take a player in my arms, which I obviously couldn’t do today.” 

— Uwe Rosler, the coach of Duesseldorf

….and the not so serious

“I remember when I was at Hamburg, I played in an empty stadium – it didn’t put me off, I bagged twenty goals in as many minutes. Then I got rollocked by a groundsman who told me we were in fact playing away at Bayern that day and no bugger had told me. It did explain a lot.”

— Parody Twitter account @GalacticKeegan 

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