Who's saying what as the Bundesliga returns

Berlin (AFP) –


The German Bundesliga on Saturday became the first major European league to resume playing after a two-month coronavirus lockdown.

Matches were played without fans while goal celebrations were banned and benches observed social distancing.

AFP Sport looks at the reaction:

"There is something surreal about it. In the two hours before the match, you receive text messages from all over the world, people who tell you that they are going to watch the match on TV, and then you drive through your city and there is absolutely nothing happening. You have to get used to it."

-- Borussia Dortmund chief executive Hans-Joachim Watzke after his team's 4-0 win over local rivals Schalke

"There is no noise, you shoot at the goal, you make a great pass, you score, and nothing happens, it's very, very weird."

-- Dortmund coach Lucien Favre

"We had many conversations before hand and knew that it was actually nothing more than like the games we used to play as children: without anyone watching and just having fun. The result just now also makes people happy who are watching in front of the TV."

-- Dortmund goalkeeper Roman Buerki

"Not necessarily for the players, who may have to buy one less Lamborghini, but for the economy that depends on it -- the coaches, ground staff, fan shops. On a match day, some shops, including fast-food stands, rake in revenues equivalent to that of a normal week."

-- Long-standing Dortmund supporter Marco Perz on why it was crucial the German season restarted

"For us the situation is not really new. We have already been training in empty stadiums. Also as a coach, I have trained youth teams in the past and I always heard myself shouting. We are just as happy to be able to go back to our work as the cook who prepares a good meal again. We are just as happy as anyone else who tries to do creative things."

-- Freiburg coach Christian Streich

"It wasn't easy without the same push that you usually get when 50,000 are in the stands. You have to somehow motivate yourself when you come into an empty stadium. We did it pretty well and got the tension up. It was unfamiliar to everyone and it will remain unfamiliar to everyone for a while."

-- Freiburg midfielder Robin Koch

"The day was a bit odd. I am an emotional man, I like to take a player in my arms, which I obviously couldn't do today."

-- Uwe Rosler, the coach of Duesseldorf

"The fact is that this is part of football. We've been tested so many times that we can allow it. If you can't celebrate anymore, then something else has broken. I'm just glad that the team had reason to cheer today."

-- Bruno Labbadia, Hertha Berlin coach after some of his players celebrated the goals in a 3-0 win at Hoffenheim with hugs, breaking the league's hygiene protocol

....and the not so serious

"I remember when I was at Hamburg, I played in an empty stadium - it didn't put me off, I bagged twenty goals in as many minutes. Then I got rollocked by a groundsman who told me we were in fact playing away at Bayern that day and no bugger had told me. It did explain a lot."

-- Parody Twitter account @GalacticKeegan