‘Bundesliga games feel like friendlies’ – Borussia Monchengladbach’s Bensebaini

Since the restart of the league, fans have not been allowed to go to stadiums in Germany in order to prevent the spread of the coronavirus

Borussia Monchengladbach defender Ramy Bensebaini said it has been difficult for them to find motivation in the absence of fans in the stadium.

The German Bundesliga resumed on May 16 without spectators after it was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic in March.

In an attempt to recreate the stadium experience, Bensebaini’s Monchenghadbach resorted to decorating empty seats at Borussia-Park with cardboard cut-outs of fans.

The Algeria international, however, does not see the league outings differently from friendly games.

“It feels like we are playing friendly games,” Bensebaini told BBC Sport.

“It’s hard to find motivation in front of no-one, but we have to play, 100%.

“It’s not the first time in my career I have played behind closed doors – it happened to me in France – but even if you actually don’t feel at home, it’s the same for everybody.”

The 25-year-old is having a fine debut campaign in the Bundesliga since his move from French Ligue 1 club Rennes last August.

The left-back has contributed five goals and two assists in 16 league appearances so far for the Foals, and he thinks the German league is more disciplined than the French top-flight.

“I feel like everything is more straight in Germany than in France,” he continued.

“Even generally. Like at the beginning of the season, I arrived two or three times late for training. The coach told me, ‘here you are not in France, you are in Germany’.

“He wasn’t having it when I told him it was because of the traffic. He answered: ‘if you need to leave one hour earlier, do it!’.”

Bensebaini credited his French-speaking teammates for his quick adaptation to life in Germany and also highlighted the ‘great’ team bond for their impressive results this term.

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“There are a lot of French-speaking guys in the group (Alassane Pléa, Marcus Thuram and Mamadou Doucouré from France, Ibrahima Traoré from Guinea) and it helped me a lot when I joined the team.

“There is a great bond in the group and it transpires on the pitch.”

Borussia Monchengladbach are fourth in the league table with 56 points after 30 games. They battle league leaders Bayern Munich for their next league outing at Allianz Arena on Saturday.

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