Not cut out for it: 12,000 cardboard fans fail to spur German team on to victory
As an experiment it was certainly impressive, but sadly it would appear that filling a football stadium with cardboard cutouts rather than real people doesn’t quite give the advantage that a cheering home crowd would usually bring.
Bundesliga side Borussia Moenchengladbach found that out on Saturday afternoon as the league’s second round of matches took place and they ran out 3-1 losers to visitors Bayer Leverkusen, despite putting in around 12,000 replica fans in place.
With professional football around the world trying to come up with ways to make games feel more ‘normal’ for players, including allowing supporters to attend matches virtually by Zoom, the German club were hoping to at least visually help their players even if the stadium still felt very silent.
Their fans had bought into the idea, with thousands of them paying 19 euros to send in a photo of their face and have it printed out onto one of the cutouts, a gesture that raised a huge amount in the fight against coronavirus in the country.Also on rt.com 'Disinfecting their balls at half-time': Germany kicks football into life after coronavirus lockdown - and it's all a bit weird...
Unfortunately it didn’t do the trick on match day, despite some familiar events like a minute’s silence taking place in the ground which holds 54,000 people while full - although the cut-outs will remain in place for the side’s next home game.
Football fans reacted favorably to the cutouts, another 20,000 of which have been ordered to help fill out the stands.
But was to no avail on the day as Leverkusen wonderkid Kai Havertz helped himself to another two goals as the away side took home the points.