DÜSSELDORF, Germany (AP) — Even when German followers are caught at dwelling, they’ll nonetheless be seen within the stadium.
Round 13,000 cutouts stuffed the stands on Saturday as Borussia Mönchengladbach hosted Bayer Leverkusen in a Bundesliga recreation which might assist resolve Champions League qualification.
Gladbach followers took footage at dwelling in a shirt or scarf and paid 19 euros ($20.70) to be became one of many “Pappkameraden” or “cardboard companions.” Season-ticket holders have their cutout positioned of their typical spot, although some fan teams denounced the thought.
“It’s higher to play in entrance of dolls than nothing in any respect,” Leverkusen coach Peter Bosz stated earlier than the sport.
It was Gladbach’s first at dwelling for the reason that Bundesliga restarted with out spectators amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The cutouts didn’t do Gladbach a lot good on Saturday. Leverkusen gained 3-1 to overhaul Gladbach for third within the desk, as Gladbach missed good probabilities to attain late on.
“Regardless of that it nonetheless seems actually tremendous,” Gladbach proper again Stefan Lainer stated. “It creates a sure environment.”
Coach Marco Rose and a few of his gamers had been additionally within the stands in two-dimensional kind, together with greats of the membership’s previous. They embrace Günter Netzer, who gained the West German title with Gladbach in 1970 and 1971 and the World Cup in 1974. There’s even an away finish with footage of supporters from Leverkusen and different golf equipment. Gladbach stated it was a nonprofit initiative with proceeds going to charity.
Gladbach’s kind this season has echoed its golden age from the 1970s. The membership led the desk early within the season and continues to be preventing for a Champions League spot.
Not the entire real-life followers like their cutout counterparts. Some teams oppose persevering with the season with out spectators and really feel the cutouts legitimize that.
“Soccer with out followers is nothing,” learn a big banner positioned at one finish of the stadium on Saturday.
“For Borussia, towards ghost video games,” learn one other.
“The grim backdrop of empty stadiums is strictly what these video games characterize and deserve,” the Sottocultura group of Gladbach followers stated in a press release. “We think about the initiative with the cardboard figures to be counterproductive. We perceive the well-meaning, charitable concept behind it, however we think about the sign to be the improper one.”
Gladbach isn’t the primary membership to strive changing followers with doppelgangers throughout the coronavirus pandemic.
Earlier than the Bundesliga restarted, Belarus was the one nation in Europe enjoying league video games. Champion membership Dynamo Brest printed off photographs despatched by supporters overseas and hooked up them to buy mannequins carrying a motley number of previous shirts.