Yesterday for the first time in a long time I woke up knowing what I would be doing at 3pm on a Saturday. Being bereft of football or any other sport for months the return of the Bundesliga felt like a bit of a treat. Given Towns connection to Schalke through David Wagner and my Yorkie being named after him, I felt it would be remiss not to watch the Derby game Dortmund Vs Schalke and back our former boss. Slightly thrown by the half-past two kick-off, I sat down, found some English commentary, cracked open a beer and made a sandwich, ready for Saturday afternoon football. I've seen games behind closed doors before for various reasons and was expecting it to be somewhat lacking a dimension. And so it proved to be, fans make the game more exciting, more interesting and bring passion to the game. Without them, the football can fall a bit flat, and feel like you're watching a training session. As for the football itself, it all felt rather familiar watching David Wagner's teamwork very hard for not very much and falling to a 4-0 scoreline. Truth be told Dortmund were always likely to walk away winners with or without their home crowd. Socially distanced celebrations to an empty stand will take some getting used to, but they are what they are, I'm sure we'll see some creativity here as the players get used to it. Overall conclusion, it's football but not as we know it. The English game is likely to follow the lead of Germany to finish out the remaining games behind closed in odd and empty stadia, maybe we'll get some piped atmosphere and fan noise, perhaps clubs will get canny to bring back the 12th Man in some way. I do hope so, football without the atmosphere isn't quite the game we love. The current state of affairs teaches us many things, not least the importance of the fans and the part they play in making the game as wonderful, thrilling and exciting as it is.
Till next time, stay safe and UTT