Something was different on the Dortmund underground. The trams to the Westfalenstadion, on matchdays usually packed with black-and-yellow clad football supporters, were strangely empty.
"So how many are boycotting?" asked one fan, on his way home rather than going to the match. "About 15,000, I heard," replied his friend. "Maybe more because of the cold."
Inside the stadium, the famous Yellow Wall, usually a sea of color in the buildup to kickoff, was a sad patchwork of gray punctuated by the relatively few fans who had braved the minus temperatures. The central block right behind the goal, the usual home of Dortmund's vocal ultras, was completely deserted.
The last time the "Südtribüne" was so empty for a league game was when it was forcibly closed by the German Football League (DFL) after crowd trouble. But on Monday night, this was a self-imposed exile.
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