As and when football eventually returns, it will inevitably be behind closed doors. But to combat the feeling of playing in an empty stadium, Bundesliga side Borussia Monchengladbach and its fans have taken the novel approach of filling Borussia Park with over 10,000 cardboard cutouts as part of the 'Stay at home. Be in the stands' campaign.

Borussia Park is the fifth largest stadium in the Bundesliga with a 54,014 capacity, and until the Covid-19 lockdown, the club were regularly filling it during a strong campaign which saw them in fourth place, just six points behind league leaders Bayern Munich. But while play has currently been halted, The DFL announced last week that the Bundesliga and Bundesliga 2 would be ready to return – pending a decision from the relevant political decision-makers – in May.

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But with that news there will come obvious caveats. One such is that games will be played behind closed doors, with no more than 213 people in a stadium, with that number including players and staff. But the club have introduced the 'Stay at home. Be in the stands' campaign, for which fans can pay €19 to have a cardboard version of themselves installed in the stands. And fans have jumped on board in their droves. Even supporters of visiting sides have placed orders, so that when their team travels to Mönchengladbach, they’ll be at the game too

"The campaign organisers are regularly overrun with orders; we can hardly keep up trying to install them all," explained Gladbach fan representative Thomas Weinmann. "But we're obviously delighted with the overwhelming support it's received.

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A portion of the proceeds from cardboard sales, says Müller, will be placed in a fund for fans requiring help during the pandemic. The initiative is also assisting the local printing business during an uncertain time.

Fans can contribute to the 'Stay at home. Be in the stands' campaign and get a cardboard cut out of themselves in the stands by uploading their photo to