Bundesliga: Borussia Monchengladbach installs cut-out fans for Bundesliga return
And before the resumption of the Bundesliga on May 16, the club is filling its stands with life-size cutouts of fans.
Supporters pay around $ 20 (19 euros) for the cut, all proceeds going to local causes, including relief efforts against the coronaviruses.
Gladbach’s first home game will be against Bayer Leverkusen on May 23. The team will play at Eintracht Frankfurt on May 16.
“But we are obviously delighted with the overwhelming support he has received.”
The club even allowed fans of rival teams to purchase a virtual seat in the outdoor section of the 59,724-seat stadium.
“Unfortunately we can’t get the same noise from the crowd, but it’s always a good feeling to have the fans there.”
However, although German Chancellor Angela Merkel has plans on Wednesday for a gradual reopening of the country after weeks of restrictions, it will be some time before fans can watch their teams play in person.
The country has 169,430 confirmed cases of virus with 7,392 deaths, according to the latest figures.
As a result, the games promise to look very different once they resume with a number of security protocols introduced.
Pre-match handshakes and team photos will be removed and the ball disinfected before and during the match.
Lutz Pfannenstiel, sports director of the Bundesliga club Fortuna Düsseldorf, says that the return of the action behind closed doors is vital for the survival of a league which depends so much on television rights money.
“We are a league that depends a lot on television money. So to get it, playing is obviously what you have to do.
“There would be a lot of people who do not play, who are not coaches and who are not sitting in big positions – they would also find themselves in a bad economic situation.”
Build an “atmosphere”
Many other teams around the world have adopted similar innovative initiatives to fill otherwise empty stadiums during the pandemic.
Belarusian soccer club Dynamo Brest has sold virtual tickets to its home games, with all proceeds going to the rescue.
While the imminent return of Bundesliga action may be a welcome boost for many, playing behind closed doors means that teams will always miss their usual earnings for the day.
To help ease the financial burden, Union Berlin has designed a virtual match day menu, allowing fans to support the club by purchasing what they would normally do at the stadium – but without receiving the actual product.
Mitigate the financial blow
Since the league’s suspension on March 13, the clubs have suffered a huge financial blow and yearn for a comeback to help stabilize their position.
Many players, coaches and board members have meanwhile cut their salaries to ease the financial burden.
In addition to looking after their own pockets, clubs and their players have also used their initiative to raise funds for the wider community.
For example, Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski donated more than a million dollars to fight the epidemic in Germany, while Borussia Dortmund turned its stadium into a treatment center.
The league resumes with the title still to be won. Bayern Munich are currently leading with rivals Dortmund just four points behind with nine games left.
Meanwhile, Werder Bremen and SC Paderborn are anchored at the foot of the league but can both reach safety with the remaining matches.
CNN’s Aleks Klosok contributed to this report.