Youngsters help Dortmund beat Gladbach as fans return in Bundesliga

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Dortmund's Giovanni Reyna, centre, celebrates his goal with teammates during the Bundesliga soccer match between Borussia Dortmund and Borussia Monchengladbach at Signal Iduna Park, Dortmund, Germany, Saturday Sept. 19, 2020. (Bernd Thissen/Pool via AP)

BERLIN — Youngsters Gio Reyna and Erling Haaland scored as Borussia Dortmund started its Bundesliga campaign with a 3-0 win over Borussia Monchengladbach on Saturday.

Some 9,300 fans were allowed at the game in Dortmund’s Wesfalenstadion, making it the best-attended game in Germany since coronavirus restrictions took hold in March.

The league’s opening weekend has seen limited numbers of fans return for the first time, helping to end the eerie silence — broken by players’ shouts — in empty stadiums.

However, matches in Cologne and Munich went ahead without the planned return of fans due to a spike of new infections in both cities.

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The 17-year-old Reyna marked another milestone as he scored his first league goal to break the deadlock for Dortmund in the 35th minute. He later earned a penalty for the home side.

Reyna played a one-two with Jude Bellingham, also 17, and fired past Gladbach ‘keeper Yann Sommer for the opening goal.

It was the attacking midfielder’s first goal in his 16th Bundesliga game since making his debut as a substitute against Augsburg on Jan. 18. At the time he became the youngest American to play in the Bundesliga, aged 17 years, 2 months, 5 days.

Reyna was involved again when he fell in the penalty area under a risky challenge from Ramy Bensebaini. Referee Felix Brych waved play on but then changed his mind after the video referee suggested he check replays.

The 20-year-old Haaland scored from the resulting spot kick in the 54th.

Jadon Sancho set up Haaland’s second goal on a counterattack in the 78th.

AWAY BLUES

Dortmund supporters were the only ones to see their side win in the opening round so far.

No away fans are allowed across the league as strict measures against the coronavirus remained in place.

It meant Arminia Bielefeld faced 6,500 Eintracht Frankfurt supporters as it held on for a 1-1 draw on its return to the top tier in Germany after an 11-year absence. Midfielder Cebio Soukou scored for Bielefeld in the 51st minute, before Andre Silva equalized in the 62nd.

A total of 8,000 fans watched promoted Stuttgart’s return against Freiburg, only for the team to lose 3-2 despite a late fightback.

Union Berlin lost 3-1 at home to Augsburg, Cologne was beaten 3-2 at home by Hoffenheim, and Hertha Berlin coasted to a 4-1 win at Werder Bremen.

Former Union goalkeeper Rafal Gikiewicz helped Augsburg win in front of 5,000 fans in K?penick with a brilliant reflex save to deny Cedric Teuchert a late equalizer before Andre Hahn sealed the visitors’ win.

Gikiewicz had received a warm reception before kickoff. The fans then cheered their new goalkeeper, Andreas Luthe, who made the switch in the opposite direction.

Ruben Vargas scored with Augsburg’s first chance in the 41st.

Former Germany striker Max Kruse came on in the 71st for his Union debut, but it was another forward, Marius Bulter, who finally equalized in the 74th, finishing off a low cross from Christopher Lenz.

Bulter almost set up another minutes later, then won a corner as the home side pushed for more.

But Michael Gregoritsch scored against the run of play for Augsburg in the 82nd, and Gikiewicz’s brilliant save denied his former team.

Eight-time defending champion Bayern Munich got the league underway with an 8-0 rout of Schalke on Friday without fans.

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