Bundesliga fans are delighted to be back in the stand after six months of absence due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Although only the home fans are allowed into the stadium in 20 percent of the Stadium capacity, the faithful appreciated the return they have been yearning for a while.
All they can now do is to jump, sing the club’s song and cheer their players with their small numbers. But the advantage will be that of the clubs with a large capacity.
They are so delighted that not even a ban on beer could dampen the spirits. One of such fans were that of promoted Union Berlin who was delighted to watch their team despite losing 3-1 to Augsburg on an opening day.
Since the match was held at the home of the side located in Germany’s capital city, the maximum crowd allowed for mass events is 5,000 people. This almost felt like a proper crowd for the Bundesliga minnows albeit one with considerably smaller crowds.
Things are now returning to normal gradually has fans are now allowed outside, take their beer at the matchday pubs. Inside the stadium, when the players came out to warm up, they were greeted with a roar rather than with silence.
The game between RB Leipzig and Mainz was attended by 8,500 fans as the host opened their campaign with a 3-1 win.
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Frank Seifert, a landlord at the ‘Tanke’, a popular pre-match beer garden grumbled that he would normally get 2,000 customers coming through when there’s a game on.
“I will get about 150 today. But we’ve opened anyway, just to show we are still here. It’s a very, very small start.”
Of the 22,000 fans who would normally be allowed into the Alte Foersterei, only 4,600 were allowed in last weekend. The tickets were even allocated via a lottery among season-ticket holders.
“You’ll all have to sing for at least four people today,” stadium announcer Christian Arbeit told the fans before the game. They obliged, screaming the roof off even as their team went down 3-1 to relegation rivals Augsburg.
Union coach, Urs Fischer, said that it might take some time to get used to having supporters again before the game. He added that after so many games were played out in silence behind closed doors, just a few thousand fans were enough to bring out goosebumps.
Quiet is generally a rare occurrence at this ground. It became apparent hen there was confusion about which song to sing next. The ultras, who usually do this are currently banned until they can come to the stadium without restrictions.
For those in attendance, there were restrictions, which include wearing of mask compulsorily when walking to and from your seat. The new painted markings also ensured social distancing in the standing areas.
The ban on alcohol must have been devastating of all for the German football fan.
‘The alcohol ban is nonsense. We have to keep to the rules because we want to get back to a full stadium,” Union fan Frank Riemann told Sportsmail.