The United European Football Associations (UEFA) Champions League soccer tournament this year has been nothing but outstanding.
The Champions League takes the best soccer teams across Europe and puts them into a tournament-style bracket to find out who the best team is. The Champions League throughout the years has brought shocking scorelines and amazing matches.
This year alone there have been the surprises of Erling Haaland’s scoring dominance, Liverpool’s shocking defeat, and the Coronavirus effects on the Round of 16. Going into the Round of 16 there was much speculation about ways teams can find the edge over their opponent. There were the mind games of players, the social media mind games, and the new effects of the Coronavirus.
For example, going into the first leg of the Champions League game between Borussia Dortmund (BVB) and Paris Saint Germain (PSG), the Coronavirus was on no player’s mind.
Dortmund won the game at home 2-1 and looked to head to Paris to win the second of two legs. Dortmund (my favorite team) was the underdog in this game and their win against one of the biggest clubs in Europe was remarkable to witness. Aidan S (‘20), who watched the game with me said, “It was an amazing atmosphere. The craziest soccer game I have ever watched.”
The Champion’s League takes place in weeks frames, so after the first game there was a three-week break.
In that three-week break, the Coronavirus took center stage in the world and started to affect every aspect of life, including the second leg of this matchup. UEFA made the decision to hold the game without fans at the same time as the original event. The game took place and PSG beat BVB 2-0 with zero fans in attendance at the stadium.
With the victory, PSG advanced to the final eight and BVB was eliminated.
This game brings the Coronavirus to the center of topics with Sports vs the Virus. It also brings up the question of whether the final score would have altered if there were fans in attendance and it was a normal atmosphere.
I watched the game with my dad Jeremy K. who said, “It’s just so different watching sports without fans. One can only imagine that without fans the outcomes of the games wouldn’t be the same [as] with fans.”
Personally, I believe the scoreline would have changed and there might have been a different team advancing. I am a fan of BVB (the team that got eliminated) and have watched all of their games this year. BVB feeds off of the atmosphere of the fans and in this game there were zero fans to gain momentum from. I strongly believe that with fans in the stands, BVB would have advanced.