German football returned on Saturday with a mouth-watering first Bundesliga fixture between Ruhr rivals Dortmund and Schalke at the Signal Iduna Park.
Erling Haaland and his Borussia Dortmund teammates observed social distancing guidelines even after scoring, with the Norwegian striker celebrating alone after netting the first post-lockdown Bundesliga goal.
The match was a rather strange affair, with no fans in the stadium producing an unusually low tempo and quiet Revierderby atmosphere, though it was Dortmund who landed the first blow.
After coming close with several half-chances in the opening exchanges, Haaland applied the finishing touches to a brilliant team move in the 29th minute to give the hosts the lead.
Julian Brandt flicked a delightful pass round the corner for Thorgan Hazard to race onto, and Belgium played an inch-perfect cross in behind the scrambled Schalke defence. Haaland darted in behind and caressed a perfect finish into the far corner, giving the goalkeeper no chance, and maintained his composure after scoring by not rushing over to celebrate with his teammates.
“OH HOW WE’VE MISSED THIS GAME ðErling Braut HÃ¥land opens the scoring (of course he does) in fine style!#BundesligaIsBack pic.twitter.com/Th44Yp5rhJ— ð©ðª Ja! Watch the Bundesliga live on BT Sportð©ðª (@btsportfootball) May 16, 2020.”
The 19-year-old would normally have been mobbed by the rest of the squad, but instead did a walking-on-the-spot swaying motion right out of the FIFA celebrations playbook.
Teammate Achraf Hakimi chuckled at the striker from a distance as Hazard reminded his teammates to stay back and not embrace Haaland, while Brandt applauded from a distance, with the players eventually jogging back to their own half for the restart.
“His celebration, I think that’s going to take some time to get used to!” said BT Sport pundit Owen Hargreaves at half-time.