BVB head coach Lucien Favre praised his charges after they chalked up a comfortable 4-0 victory over derby day rivals Schalke as football made a return to the Bundesliga for the first time since the Covid-19 global pandemic halted the sport in its tracks.
The win helped Borussia Dortmund keep up the pressure on Bayern Munich who also won (they beat Augsburg 2-0) in the first round of matches since the coronavirus crisis and it is they who sit top of the table four points clear of Favre’s side.
The game, like the rest of the Bundesliga games played for the first time since March 7th, took place with no fans present and the empty Signal Iduna Park proved a strange backdrop to proceedings.
Favre told the club’s official website:
“A 4-0 win against Schalke is a good result. We played well as a team and defensively — that was key. We didn’t know where we’d be at after such a long break, but the players concentrated on the task at hand.”
Commenting on the strange atmosphere in a stadium that can hold more than 80,000 fans but which had 300 people in total present, he added:
“You shoot at the goal, make a top pass, a goal — and nothing happens. That’s really very, very strange. We really miss our fans.
“It was a completely different game than usual. It’s hard to judge how good the game was. I had the feeling that it wasn’t as committed as planned. The players were very focused on their task.”
The hosts — without sub Jadon Sancho (he played the last 10 minutes) who is a big-money target for a clutch of top European clubs — took the lead through wonder kid Erling Braut Haaland after he touched in Thorgen Hazard’s teasing cross as the half hour mark approached. Haaland has now snatched 10 goals in his first nine Bundesliga games following his switch to the German powerhouse from Red Bull Salzburg back in January for a fee said to be in the region of £20million in January.
Raphael Guerreiro got the first of his double on 45 minutes (his second came on 63 minutes), while hotshot Hazard made his mark with a goal after 48 minutes. The win gave BVB the points to edge close to Bayern Munich as they closed the gap to just a point but the league leaders played a day later and stretched their lead at the summit.
Dortmund get the chance to accrue more points on Saturday when they go to sixth-placed Wolfsburg while title favourites Bayern Munich host Eintracht Frankfurt who sit in 13th position in the league standings. Both are games not to be missed.