By Uche Dozie
Sport Writer, kick442.com-Nigeria
It was a big relief for many football fans and enthusiasts alike who had waited for a couple of months for the return of football when the German Bundeliga returned on Saturday.
The return as already known would come with changes; changes that seem ‘unfootball-like’ but was needed to prevent the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.
However, being a contact and emotional sports, the question before the games commenced was: will the changes to accommodate the social distance practice be sustained?
The weekend action in match day 26 of the German Bundeliga was given a review to know if these changes look sustainable.
Goal Celebrations with feet or elbow
Masks for everyone on the bench
No handshakes, hugging or spitting
No mascots inside the stadium
What happened on the pitch
The teams did well to keep to rule two and four above. However, rule one and three were quiet a challenge for teams. Would you blame them?
Borussia Dortmund were the first to play on Saturday against Schalke 04 and were next to perfect in keeping these rules. Scoring the first goal, Erring Haarland did a dance far from his teammates who joined in the dance while observing the social distance rules.
Frieburg, Wolfsburg, Mainz, also kept to the bumping of fists and hitting elbows rules after scoring. Some teams went for the leg shake staying within the rules.
All these seemed awkward for football that is known for all the noise by players, players dragging of shirts, players giving one another hugs, slides, bumping on each other etc during celebrations.
It was reality check as some teams forgot that the social distance rule needed to be kept.
With Bayern Munich playing Sunday after most teams had played, one would think they would be more careful not to break the rules but the players reminded us that this was football and emotions needed to be shown.
Pavard scores against Union Berlin and Thiago Alcantara bumps his chest on Pavard’s just like a typical football celebration should be.
Almost at the same spot, Pavard also tries to celebrate with David Alaba obviously excited about his goal, but the Austrian remembers the rules and frees himself of the embrace.
Hertha Berlin in their match against Hoffenheim couldn’t resist the urge to celebrate; hugging and jumping on each other with kisses.
The scenario showed the players forgot totally the need to stay some metres away from one another while celebrating and posing the question: can these changes be effected?
These are the first set of matches while applying these rules, but for now, it doesn’t seem like all these changes can happen in this emotional-laden sport.
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