September 25 – Champions League winners Bayern Munich are celebrating a remarkable quadruple after clinching the Super Cup with a 2-1 extra time win over Europa League victors Sevilla on Thursday. But just as importantly for UEFA, the game passed off smoothly as a trial run in front of a live audience – the first major European club game to allow fans into stadiums amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Budapest’s cavernous Puskas Stadium accommodated 15,500 spectators spread out across the 67,000-seat arena with everyone wearing face masks and having to pass in front of special thermal cameras to measure body temperature .
UEFA chose its traditional season-opening showpiece game as a pilot fixture but had faced criticism in some quarters, not least from local Hungarian opposition politicians and the German government which had classed the Hungarian capital a risk zone.
Hundreds of Bayern fans reportedly returned their tickets after Markus Soeder, state premier for Bavaria, warned German fans to “think again” before travelling to Budapest. All fans returning to Germany will have to test negative for Covid-19 or face a two-week quarantine.
After the first goal, a penalty by Sevilla winger Lucas Ocampos, even hardcore fans in a corner section stayed well apart – although four Spanish reporters in the stands were seen to come together for the briefest of hugs according to agencies.
In general, restraint was shown throughout as Bayern, who haven’t lost a game since December last year, sneaked home in extra time thanks to substitute Javi Martinez’s 104th-minute header .
“We all know that it is not easy, especially with this (health) situation, to make good decisions,” said Bayern coach Hansi Flick afterwards.
“It was good to have this atmosphere, it’s great that fans came, it’s better for football obviously. It was more like football. I hope that everyone who returns (to Germany) will remain in good health, that’s what I want tell fans.”
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