Ken Early on the Bundesliga restart, Donald Trump responds to Rory McIlroy

The Morning Sports Briefing: Keep ahead of the game with ‘The Irish Times’ sports team

Schalke substitutes keep their distance during their side’s 4-0 defeat to Borussia Dortmund. Photograph: Martin Meissner/EPA

Schalke substitutes keep their distance during their side’s 4-0 defeat to Borussia Dortmund. Photograph: Martin Meissner/EPA

The weekend marked the return of the German Bundesliga, the first of Europe’s major football leagues to resume behind closed doors. Defending champions Bayern Munich beat Union Berlin 2-0 away from home yesterday, while on Saturday the fixture of the day saw Borussia Dortmund thrash rivals Schalke 4-0. That game was marked by both the eeriness of an empty Westfalenstadion, as well as another ice-cold performance from 19-year-old Erling Haaland. And in his column this morning Ken Early has suggested fixtures behind closed doors could be moved to better suit people’s lives and the TV schedule, with a weekend slot no longer necessary without supporters. He writes: “Who wants to spend sunny summer Saturdays sitting at home watching empty-stadium football matches? There is no longer any good reason for these games to occupy that precious leisure-time real estate. It’s obvious that weekday evenings are now the best time for them: something new to watch at a time when it’s more likely you have nothing better to do.”

Live golf also returned yesterday, with world number one Rory McIlroy taking part in a Covid-19 charity event at Seminole in Florida. And McIlroy, alongside playing partner Dustin Johnson, was victorious in the Driving Relief two-on-two charity skins, as the duo edged Rickie Fowler and Matthew Wolff in a closest-to-the-hole tiebreak. During the event US President Donald Trump phoned into the television commentary and was asked about the criticism he had received from McIlroy last week. Trump said: “A lot of them (golfers) are very political, actually. A lot of them like my politics very much and some don’t, I guess. The ones that don’t I don’t get to see as much.”

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