Nearly 13,000 cardboard cut-outs of Borussia Moenchengladbach supporters are set to welcome the team for today’s Bundesliga match against Bayer Leverkusen behind closed doors.
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, said.
"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.*AFP
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