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2019-20 German Bundesliga
  • Breel Embolo (32')
  • Jorge MerĂ© (70' OG)
  • Mark Uth (81')

Gladbach beat Cologne in eerie empty stadium

Borussia Monchengladbach secured a narrow 2-1 win over Cologne on Wednesday in the first Bundesliga game to be played in front of empty stands due to the outbreak of the coronavirus.

Breel Embolo slotted in on 32 minutes and an own goal from Jorge Mere from an Embolo effort in the 70th doubled Gladbach's lead in a ghostly atmosphere at their cavernous Borussia Park stadium that is normally pulsating with crowds of 55,000.

Cologne pulled a goal back in the 81st through Mark Uth to inject some tension into a game that obviously lacked in atmosphere.

"The absence of fans had a massive effect," referee Deniz Aytekin told Sky. "It was difficult to remain focused throughout. I hope this is not a long-term thing. Without fans it is not even worth half as much."

Several thousand Gladbach fans had gathered outside the stadium and lit flares to celebrate.

The win lifted the Foals onto 49 points in fourth place, one behind third-placed RB Leipzig.

The game had been rescheduled after it was originally postponed last month due to a storm warning.

Germany's Bundesliga matches this weekend will all be played behind closed doors with federal states banning events with crowds of more than 1,000 in order to contain the spread of the virus.

Champions Bayern Munich are top on 55 points, four clear of second-placed Borussia Dortmund.