The usual noises and cheers of crowd is absent as Bundesliga soccer resumed on a quieter note on Saturday after a two-month break due to coronavirus outbreak.
There were no fans in the stadium as Borussia Dortmund hosted Schalke in a normally fierce local rivalry, reports AP.
Instead of thousands of fans chatting and drinking beer outside the stadium, there were only a few locals out for a weekend bike ride.
The song "You'll Never Walk Alone," a favourite of Dortmund fans as well as Liverpool supporters, echoed around the stadium ahead of kickoff and the starting whistle could be heard outside.
The arena has an 81,000 capacity but league rules permit just 213 people, including players, to be inside for the game, none of them supporters.
In the city centre ahead of the match, longtime Dortmund fan Marco Perz sat outside the German Football Museum in a jacket patched with club emblems. He said he hasn't missed a home game since the 1990s.
"I'd normally be on the South Stand right now, in the yellow wall," he said, referring to the vast terrace which underpins Dortmund's reputation for passionate support. Now Perz is planning to watch the game with a friend over food and a beer. "The main thing is to see the game," he added.
On the next street, face masks were on sale in Dortmund's yellow and black, with the stallholder saying they were the most popular on offer.
Local authorities had pleaded with fans not to mass outside the stadium.
On Wednesday Dortmund Mayor Ullrich Sierau said anyone who stands in front of the stadium because they want to follow the game has got it wrong.
"It's an appeal to the good sense of all fans, and I'm sure that the fans of both Schalke 04 and Borussia Dortmund are sensible people."
Dortmund fan Nicole Bartelt said she would stay away from the stadium — which she called "the temple" — in the hope of showing fans could be trusted to return sooner rather than later for games.
If fans gather, "we'll end up waiting even longer to be back," she said.
Police were spread along the road by the stadium in vans, on motorbikes and horseback. There have been clashes between fans at Dortmund-Schalke games before, but the police had little to do except remind TV crews to stand further away from each other as they filmed team buses arriving.
Dortmund's last game was in an empty stadium too, but with big crowds outside.
Thousands of Paris Saint-Germain supporters gathered outside the Parc des Princes as their team beat Dortmund in the Champions League on March 11.
Those scenes — and the decision of PSG players to sing along with the fans — showed that a game risks spreading the disease even without letting a single supporter into the arena. Similar scenes the same evening at a Bundesliga game between Borussia Mönchengladbach and Cologne caused concern.
During the following two days, the German, English, French and Spanish leagues all opted to suspend competition rather than play in empty stadiums, at least for the time being.
Indian stalwart Rohit Sharma said the Indian cricket team enjoys the advantage of crowd support wherever they play except in Bangladesh, appearing on Facebook Live with Bangladesh ODI captain Tamim Iqbal.
Bangladesh and India developed a new kind of rivalry since the World Cup Quarterfinal in 2015 when a few erroneous umpiring decision went to India.
The two neighbouring countries played a few finals in the last few years. In all the occasions, India came up victorious, which has pushed the rivalry further.
“We have a super fan base all over the world. We get immense support wherever we play except Bangladesh. We are not used to getting more opponent supporters in the field than us. It’s unbelievable that we don’t get much support in Bangladesh,” Rohit told during the Facebook Live with Tamim.
However, the Indian superstar hailed the cricket-crazy Bangladesh fans for their incredible support and love for their national team.
“I understand how much they enjoy your game, I understand how passionate they are about cricket. Hat’s off to them,” Rohit told Tamim.
Both Tamim and Rohit stressed their concern over the current coronavirus pandemic. Both the stars urged their fans to follow the rules and regulation which the authorities set to contain the spread of the virus.
Like Bangladesh, all the cricketing activities are on hold in India as well. Most of the cricketers from both countries are stuck at home during the pandemic.
Former Bangladesh captain Masrhafe Bin Mortaza has put his bracelet, which he has worn for 18 years, on auction to raise fund to help people hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic.
The auction will be organised by the Auction 4 Action, and it will run till Sunday 10:30pm.
In his early days of his international career, Mashrafe used to wear a red and green bracelet. Later, he had a new silver bracelet made, which he has been wearing for 18 years.
Earlier, Auction 4 Action organised the auction of Shakib Al Hasan’s bat which was sold for Tk 20 lakh. Mushfiqur Rahim’s bat was sold for Tk 17 lakh, which was bought by Pakistan superstar Shahid Afridi’s charity - Shahid Afridi Foundation.
Apart from them, Taskin Ahmed, Soumya Sarkar and Akbar Ali also put their cricketing gears on auction to raise money for people.
The historic bat with which Mushfiqur Rahim scored the country’s first double-century in Test cricket and recently put up for auction to raise funds for Coronavirus relief fetched a cool Tk 1.7 million (17 lakh) in an online auction Thursday night.
The buyer turned out to be the former Pakistani all-rounder Shahid Afridi, who agreed to buy it as a piece of memorabilia for his foundation at $20,000 (Tk 17 lakh approximately).
Although the auction formalities were completed on Thursday, Mushfiq announced the name of the bidder after appearing live on Facebook Friday evening.
Mushfiq put the bat, with which he scored Bangladesh’s first Test double hundred in 2013 against Sri Lanka, in auction earlier this week, but the process had to be suspended for a period due to some fake bidding, when it first went under the hammer on Tuesday.
The auctioneers-Nibco and Pickaboo.com -- claimed that most of the bidders were fake and they had bid unfeasible amounts, more than Tk 40 lakh.
The five- day auction of Mushfiq's bat, which began on May 10 , having a base price of Tk 6, lakh, was jointly operated by his management partner NIBCO, Sports for Life and Pickaboo.com.
Chief executive officer of Pickaboo.com, Moin Talukder, told that after some initial hiccups they finally got the right buyer in Shahid Afridi Foundation, who confirmed their interest through official letter.
The Shahid Afridi Foundation was initiated in 2014 by former Pakistan famed cricketer Shahid Afridi to carry out philanthropic activities in Pakistan and abroad.
This was the blade with which Mushfiqur hit his first double century in Test cricket, also becoming the first Bangladeshi to achieve the milestone, against Sri Lanka at Galle in 2013. The entire proceeds from the auction will be spent towards helping the poor and needy.
Mushfiq used his favourite SS bat during the innings of exactly 200 (321 balls with 22 fours and a six). Later, Mushfiq also scored two more double-hundreds.
He earlier also talked about the bat being special to him. "The bat is obviously special to me. My name is attached to a piece of history because of that bat. No one else can become the first double centurion (for a country)."
Earlier, Bangladeshi star all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan’s World Cup 2019 bat was sold for Tk 20 lakh to a buyer identified as Raj, a Bangladeshi expatriate living in the USA.
Bangladesh former captain Mohammad Ashraful has revealed how he once wanted to kill himself due to immense mental pressure.
In a recent show of sports journalist Noman Mohammad, ‘Not out Noman’, Ashraful unfolded this unknown story of his life. He stressed that it had been at a time tougher even than the current pandemic for him.
Ashraful, who fascinated the cricket world smashing a hundred on his Test debut back in 2001 against Sri Lanka at the age of 16, is currently passing time at home as there is no cricketing activity in the country.
“That was the worst time of my life when I accepted my fault of being involved in the match-fixing scandal. I was banned for years, which later reduced to three. That was a tougher time for me than this pandemic,” Ashraful said in the show on Thursday night.
“I can still remember how devastated and upset I was. By then everyone came to know that I am an offender, everyone came to know that I have done something that was not expected from me. After this incident, everyone, who was close to me, started to go away. I was left alone and stranded. I was clueless about how to live the next part of life, I was clueless about how I go public again. I was very much anxious about how I repair this damage,” Ashraful added.
All of these burdens became unbearable for him, Ashraful said, and he wanted to kill himself at that point of time. However, he later decided to go to perform hajj, which eventually helped him keep calm and fight to erase the mistakes.
Ashraful played for the national team for the last time back in 2013. He represented Bangladesh in 61 Tests, 177 ODIs and 23 T20 International. After serving a ban of three years, Ashraful also returned to play domestic cricket, but never returned to his previous form.
The right-handed batsman had told the media several times that he wants to make a comeback to the national side again, but it seems to be an elusive dream for him.