Cardboard fans, masked players for German soccer’s return

It’s a sight that will bring joy to thousands of fans not only in Germany, but across the whole of soccer.

The Bundesliga is the first major league to attempt to get back playing matches for the first time since early March, but new strict guidelines including the wearing masks at training are being enforced to ensure everyone’s safety.

One of the most visible differences will be the eerie silence inside stadiums with no fans able to attend the games.

However, through one fan initiative more than 12,000 Borussia Moenchengladbach supporters will be there in spirit as cardboard cut outs in the crowd.

When the season was paused more than two months ago, Bayern Munich were top of the table with nine games of the season to go.

RB Leipzig were chasing Bayern in third place and their Head Coach Julian Nagelsmann says the «new normal» is setting in for his players.

“Sometimes body contact and giving a high five can be good and makes the players feel good, but the situation is what it is now and we have to act accordingly. I think most of the players are quite happy if I don’t touch them.»

Teams have been sent into mandatory seven-day isolation after undergoing testing in order to reduce the risk of infection.

They’ve also picked hotels in their cities to cut travel times to training locations and airports for the weekend matches.

The league intends to complete the season by June 30.