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Bundesliga prepares to confront its ghosts

When the players step out for the Revierderby between Borussia Dortmund and Schalke 04 this Saturday they will be doing so under the most extraordinary circumstances ever. There has never been a match between these two fierce rivals  played behind closed doors. But for this match, along with the rest of the Bundesliga, and at least until the season ends in June, the sight and sound of a packed stadium seething with a passionate crowd will be replaced with empty seats and barren terraces.  Until a vaccine for COVID - 19, Geisterspiele will be the new normal.

The so-called “ghost games” are part of the trade off for the resumption of football in Germany and as each country emerges from its Coronavirus lockdown what we see this weekend will be repeated with only a few variants in those other football nations.

Inside each stadium, social distancing has to be enforced on the sidelines and in the stadiums. Press access is significantly curtailed and there are personal restrictions placed o…

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