Union Berlin 0-2 Bayern Munich: Champions beat newcomers in empty ground

Union Berlin 0-2 Bayern Munich: Champions beat newcomers in empty ground

We really missed our fans.

Calls and shouts from coaching staff and players, and the thud of the sanitized ball being kicked, reverberated around the mainly deserted stands.

Pre-game television interviews were conducted with long poles holding microphones and participants keeping their distance. Freiburg were then denied a stoppage-time victor when a VAR check spotted a marginal offside.

"We had a bit more security after the second goal".

Borussia Moenchengladbach overran hosts Eintracht Frankfurt with early goals from Alassane Plea and Marcus Thuram and a late Ramy Bensebaini penalty to win 3-1 and take over third spot on 52 points to maintain their outside shot at winning the title.

"I'm calling it "flying blind", Hertha Berlin coach Bruno Labbadia said.

Union, safely in mid-table, have performed creditably since last summer's promotion but were facing the Bundesliga's ultimate test, and doing so without home fans among the most fervent in Germany.

Brandt set up Raphaël Guerreiro before the break and Thorgan Hazard after it. Hazard celebrated alone in front of the Westfalenstadion's south terrace, where normally the club's "Yellow Wall" of nearly 25,000 fervent fans would be standing.

As well as comprehensive testing, teams are also required to remain in quarantine at all times.

Teams will arrive at stadiums in several buses in order to meet social distancing requirements inside the vehicles.

The stadiums will be empty and silent except for the players' shouts and the referees' whistles - Germany has suffered far fewer deaths from coronavirus than other large European countries, but it is still too risky for crowds to return.

Clubs in England, Spain and Italy, where leagues are weeks away from returning, will be watching to see how the rest of the weekend goes.

In Germany, there were concerns that fans would try to approach stadiums to support their teams from afar.

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Before the match, police were also on patrol in the woods near the ground to stop fans gathering and the nearby Koepenick train station was quiet in contrast to the usual bustling scenes on matchday.

Some have already fallen foul of the rules.

Augsburg's new coach Heiko Herrlich had ruled himself out of his side's 2-1 home defeat against Wolfsburg after leaving the team hotel to buy toothpaste.

Union Berlin will be without their manager Urs Fischer for their home clash with Bayern Munich on Sunday after he broke quarantine rules following a family bereavement.

A top politician in Germany has asked everyone ahead of Budneliga's return on Saturday to strictly adhere to the health protocols laid by the German Football League (DFL) and the government and warned that on disobeying the guidelines one could be shown a "red card".

With five substitutions allowed, Bayern's Goretzka made way for Kingsley Coman and Christian Gentner filled in for Robert Andrich on the other side.

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