The saying that necessity is the mother of invention will come to to fore on Saturday Borussia Moenchengladbach host Bayer leverkusen in the up and running German Bundesliga.
With matches slated to be placed behind closed doors the club fans will be absent and present in a special way.
Nearly 13,000 cardboard cut-outs of Borussia Moenchengladbach supporters are set to welcome the team.
Gladbach hosted the first Bundesliga game ever played without fans on March 11, shortly before the German season was put on hold because of the coronavirus outbreak.
One of the club’s supporters’ groups, “Fanprojekt Moenchengladbach”, subsequently came up with the idea of allowing fans to print life-sized images of themselves to be placed inside the ground.
The cut-outs line the stadium’s otherwise empty stands, with season ticket holders able to have their cardboard lookalike allocated to their regular spot.
“We’re arranging close to 13,000 cut-outs, but almost 20,000 have been ordered already,” Thomas Ludwig, head of the supporters’ group, told AFP subsidiary SID.
“It’s a nice operation, which creates an atmosphere in the stadium,” said Gladbach sporting director Max Eberl. “Even if at the same time it’s a reminder that football without supporters is not the same.”
“It’s fantastic. We really have the impression that we’re not alone when we’re training in the stadium,” added Gladbach coach Marco Rose.
Gladbach are third in the table and six points behind leaders Bayern Munich. They won 3-1 at Eintracht Frankfurt last weekend as the Bundesliga returned following a two-month interruption.
prior to Saturday’s march Nigeria international Anthony Ujah and his Union Berlin teammates will be hoping to earn their first re-start victory as they file out against Hertha BSC away on Friday. Ujah was in action for 71 minutes as they lost 2-0 to table toppers Bayern Munich last Sunday.