When Borussia Dortmund returned to action with a 4-0 derby win over local rival Schalke, goalkeeper Roman Burki felt like they had rediscovered the excitement of childhood football.
Bundesliga’s returned from the Covid-19 suspension and for the highest-profile match the eyes of the football world were on Signal Iduna Park, but the empty stalls made Burki’s encounter unusual, if not entirely fresh.
Dortmund took the lead from Bayern Munich, who played in Union Berlin on Sunday after Erling Haaland and Thorgan Hazard and Raphael Guerreiro double.
Quoted on Dortmund’s website, Burki said: “This was no different from the game we used to play when we were children. Without spectators, just having fun. You could see that was the case for the team.”
After the game in homage, the Sudtribune was welcomed by the home side to their absent fans and winger Julian Brandt backed Burki ‘s assessment.
“I would’ve obviously preferred it if we had been playing under normal conditions,” Brandt said. “We all need to adapt. But in a situation like this, you have to try and have fun. And we did at times.”
“And what better way to resume our campaign than with a win? We performed well, even if it wasn’t perfect.”
“In the second half, in particular, we should’ve tried to keep the level up. But we made it 3-0 relatively quickly; that played into our hands. Towards the end, our energy levels dwindled. I thought it was good for the first game after such a long time. We can build on this.”