Coronavirus forces first Bundesliga game behind closed doors

Wednesday’s Rhine derby between Borussia Moenchengladbach and Cologne will be held behind closed doors due to the coronavirus, the first game in Bundesliga history to be played without fans, officials said Tuesday.

Bundesliga games had been going ahead as usual, even as the number of people testing positive for the coronavirus continued to rise in Germany, passing 1,000 on Monday.

Yet on Sunday, the country’s health minister Jens Spahn requested that all events with more than 1,000 people be cancelled “until further notice”.

German Football League (DFL) chief Christian Seifert warned Sunday that “the season must end by mid-May” in order to ensure clarity over promotion, relegation and qualification for international competition.

The decision to close stadium doors will ultimately be made on a case-by-case basis by regional authorities.

On Tuesday, local authorities ordered the Ruhr derby between Borussia Dortmund and Schalke taking place on Saturday to be played in an empty stadium. Dortmund’s Champions League match against Paris Saint-Germain in Paris on Wednesday will also be played behind closed doors.