Many football clubs are experiencing a drop in the number of fans attending their stadiums post-pandemic. That can be down to the fear around the coronavirus and also because of cuts that people affected by the pandemic have been forced to make. At Barcelona's Camp Nou stadium, this is very evident. The famous old ground is looking quieter than ever these days, with only half an attendance against Valencia, and half again last night against Dynamo Kiev, in a Champions League match where victory was vital. Leo Messi is not around anymore so the tourist numbers are down, but apart from that there is also plenty of frustration among the lifelong 'soci' or club members towards the club.
That half-empty Camp Nou is another obstacle that the Barça players have to face. The buzz around the place is missing and the remaining fans have struggled to lift spirits in the 90,000 capacity stadium. Last night, the mood changed for a brief spell when Gerard Piqué scored in the first half, a goal which came from a great cross by Jordi Alba. But the rest of the game, especially the second half, veered from boredom to depression. It will be interesting to see if the visit of Real Madrid this weekend lifts the mood around the place.
Barça finally got their first win in Group E after defeats to Bayern Munich and Benfica. Bayern also won on the night, which is good for Ronald Koeman's side, with second place their only realistic chance of advancing at this stage. The rest of the matchday saw Villarreal win and Sevilla draw, both away from home, helping the image of our football to improve. This week has turned out better than the previous two. Of the Spanish sides involved, only Atlético Madrid lost and their defeat does not paint a real picture of what happened at the Wanda Metropolitano on Tuesday. We don't have Cristiano Ronaldo or Messi and on Sunday we will miss them more than ever, but our football as a whole is still a safe bet.