BERLIN – Germany’s soccer league was marked by gestures against racism and support for the Black Lives Matter movement on Saturday as Bayern Munich took another step toward a record-extending eighth straight Bundesliga title.
All of Borussia Dortmund and Hertha Berlin’s 22 outfield players took a knee in the center-circle together before the top tier's late game with no fans present. Coaches and other team members from both sides did likewise beside the field, bringing to mind former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s protest before games against police brutality and racial inequality.
Dortmund’s players had warmed up wearing T-shirts with slogans such as “United together,” and “No justice, no peace.”
Bayern and Bayer Leverkusen’s players wore black armbands against racism in their game earlier Saturday, which Bayern won 4-2 after rallying from a goal down. Bayern's players had ”Black Lives Matter” printed on their armbands, partly covering sponsor Qatar Airways’ logo on the left arm.
The teams’ gestures were made as tens of thousands of people across Germany attended anti-racism demonstrations in the wake of the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis on May 25. Floyd, a handcuffed black man, died after a white police officer pressed his knee against his neck, ignoring his “I can’t breathe” cries even after Floyd eventually grew still.
Fortuna Düsseldorf’s American midfielder Alfredo Morales took a knee before coming on in his team's 2-2 draw with 10-man Hoffenheim, and Cameroon midfielder Pierre Kunde did likewise after scoring for Mainz in a 2-0 derby win at Eintracht Frankfurt.
Emre Can’s 57th-minute strike was enough for Dortmund to win 1-0 and stay seven points behind Bayern with four games remaining. Bayern, which has won its last nine games, looks unlikely to squander its lead.
Robert Lewandowski scored Bayern’s fourth to claim his 30th Bundesliga goal of the season, set up by Thomas Müller, who now has 20 assists. However, both players were booked in the first half and will miss the next game against Borussia Mönchengladbach due to an accumulation of yellow cards.