Haaland respects social distancing guidelines as he celebrates scoring first goal since return of Bundesliga

The Norwegian added to his already considerable goal tally as substitutes – sat metres apart – watched on from the sidelines

Borussia Dortmund’s Erling Haaland offered some insight into the ‘new normal’ in football on Saturday as the striker and his team-mates ensured they remained apart from each other when celebrating the Norwegian’s opening goal against Schalke.

The 19-year-old found the net after a fine back-heeled through-ball from Julian Brandt sent Thorgan Hazard through on the right wing, with the Belgian subsequently finding Haaland at the back post with a neat cross to put the hosts in front at the Westfalenstadion.

Having scored the first goal in the Bundesliga since its return to action following the coronavirus-enforced suspension, celebrations could well have been wild, but Dortmund’s players kept their cool as they maintained social distancing rules with a beaming Haaland.

Looking on from the sidelines, substitutes from both sides were situated several metres apart as they observed the 19-year-old break the deadlock and Raphael Guerreiro add a second just before the break to put Lucien Favre’s men in the driving seat.

Questions have been asked as to why social distancing continues to be practised around match play, with players unable to do so when challenging opponents for the ball. 

However, the Bundesliga’s protocol plan for returning to play was closely scrutinised by the German government ahead of the resumption, with various health professionals having cast a critical eye over the league’s safety plans.

With his goal against Dortmund’s bitter Revierderby rivals on Saturday, Haaland has taken his strike tally to 10 goals in just nine games since making the switch from RB Salzburg, only having to muster 13 shots on target to reach that total.

One player who will be devastated at not being able to feature in Saturday’s derby is Giovanni Reyna, who was originally named in the starting XI but was forced to sit out after picking up an injury in the pre-match warm-up.

Dortmund went into this weekend’s match trailing Bundesliga leaders Bayern Munich by just four points, with the Bavarian giants set to take on Union Berlin in the German capital on Sunday.

RB Leipzig also remain in the chase for Germany’s top-tier title, having gone into their clash with Freiburg only one point behind Dortmund.