While the outbreak of coronavirus has been causing havoc with sporting fixtures around the globe, a top of the table soccer clash in Germany remained unaffected, attracting a full house instead.
The highly anticipated game between the high-flying Borussia Mönchengladbach and Borussia Dortmund in the German Bundesliga was played Saturday night in Mönchengladbach’s Borussia Park.
A capacity crowd of 54,000 packed the stadium to see Dortmund win 2-1 – which moves it one point off the top of the table – according to the stadium’s website.
And all despite a large coronavirus outbreak just 10 miles (16 km) from the venue.
The district of Heinsberg has Germany’s largest number of coronavirus cases with more than 200 and Mönchengladbach is offering ticket refunds for people from the district.
For the fans that did attend the game, the stadium is asking fans to wash their hands often, cough into their elbows and avoid shaking hands.
The city of Mönchengladbach has seven confirmed cases of coronavirus with 143 people in home quarantine, according to the city government. However, officials decided to go ahead with the match because the city saw “no reason to stop sporting events.”
Overall, Germany has 795 confirmed coronavirus cases, according to the Robert Koch Institute. The state of North Rhine-Westphalia, which includes Heinsberg and Mönchengladbach, has 373 cases, according to the institute.
Former Mönchengladbach winger Thorgan Hazard gave Dortmund a first-half lead but shortly after halftime, Mönchengladbach forward Lars Stindl tapped in from close range to bring the home side level.
Defender Achraf Hakimi’s 71st-minute goal proved decisive, and the win allowed Dortmund to move within one point of league-leaders Bayern Munich.
The novel coronavirus has killed more than 3,400 people, and infected more than 101,400, according to CNN’s tally.
While the spread of the coronavirus didn’t affect the game in Germany on Saturday, it has caused other sporting events to be disrupted.
Italy’s top-flight soccer league Serie A has postponed a number of games in recent weeks and played some games in empty stadiums.
The English Premier League announced Thursday that the traditional pre-match handshakes between players and officials will be scrapped until further notice.
Formula E’s Rome ePrix became the second race of the electric racing series’ season to be postponed after the Sanya ePrix in China was canceled.
The outbreak is causing concern about the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.
Olympics chief Thomas Bach says organizers are preparing for a “successful” Olympics despite the worries.