Munich, May 14 (IANS) Borussia Dortmund midfielder Julian Brandt has said while he is not feeling the same pressure as he would in normal circumstances when they take on local rivals Schalke on Saturday, the sense of occasion is not lost on him.
The German Bundesliga is the first of Europe's elite football leagues to resume official competition for its 2019-20 season since the sporting world was disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Even though the matches are to be played behind closed doors, for football fans this return to live sporting action shines as a positive ray of hope.
"You have to say that it's the fans who always make it special. If you're a few days before such a game you'll notice that your neighbours are only speaking about the game when they see you," Brandt told bundesliga.com in their midweek interview.
"You notice that the media focuses heavily on the game and that creates a certain tension in the air. At the moment, this isn't the case. Although I think the fans still really care about the result of the fixture, you don't notice it, especially in this hotel. The only tension that you could potentially feel is through the media but they have many other topics to cover so I think BVB vs Schalke is at the bottom of their priorities.
"Therefore, you don't feel the same pressure as you would in normal circumstances, but in the end, this is the situation that we're in. Everyone will be watching us on Saturday, the Dortmund fans will watch us and the Schalke fans will watch their team. The result of the game will be important to them so it's not like we just say that it's irrelevant who wins or loses, it won't be like this. We do recognise that it would be an important tone to set if we win the game," said the 24-year old.
"This game is already historic, regardless of what happens on the pitch, as there has never been something like this.
"I don't think that many will forget this, for the fans it is the worst scenario. Particularly for the Dortmund fans, to be unable to be present in this match at home, it's painful for them. Therefore we'll have to ensure that we can alleviate their pain," he added.
The league has nine game weeks to go and Dortmund are currently placed second in the table, four points adrift of leaders Bayern Munich who are on 55.