Football | Dortmund ready to restart season

Club’s MD Cramer says players will have to get used to playing in empty stadiums

Bundesliga — Germany’s top flight football — will be the first major European League to restart its season which had come to a halt because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Second-placed Borussia Dortmund will kick-start proceedings when it takes on FC Shalke in the Revierderby on Saturday at 7 p.m. IST.

Must get used quickly

The players will have to get used to playing in empty stadiums and Dortmund managing director Carsten Cramer told Sportstar that it will take time for everyone to get accustomed to this new normal.

“It is unimaginable, but I am glad that we start at home. Although we will miss the Yellow Wall and our supporters, I am glad we are starting at home where we are unbeaten this season. It is always a big game when we play Schalke and it will be challenging,” Cramer said.

“We have two advantages — one is that we practised in an empty stadium three times, so I think we got some interaction with the empty stadium.

“The second advantage is that we had an experience of playing behind closed doors when we played our last game against PSG in the Champions League.

“The players are focused on the game, they want to win and are happy they can start playing again.”

The returning clubs have to follow a host of protocols to ensure safety of everyone involved. “We have a booklet of rules to follow. We will have the longest bench ever in our stadium — it is almost 50m long. The distance between two players is close to 2.50m and all players must wear masks. We can have four ball boys and they must wear gloves. On the stands, we have eight representatives of our club and four of the away team. We share a stand usually visited by 8,000 people with 12 guys,” Cramer said.

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