The Bundesliga made a much-awaited return on Saturday in strange circumstances but the sight of Erling Braut Haaland hitting the back of the net as Borussia Dortmund eviscerated Schalke 04 was all too familiar.
The 19-year-old notched his tenth league goal in only his ninth Bundesliga appearance as Dortmund put rivals Schalke to the sword 4-0 in the Ruhr valley derby.
With just 300 people allowed inside the 81,000 capacity Signal Iduna Park, every shout by players and coaches and thud of the ball was clearly audible in a surreal spectacle where players observed social distancing rules during goal celebrations and substitutes wore nose masks.
Haaland opened the scoring with a trademark cool finish, tapping home from Thorgen Hazard’s cross to continue his sensational season, albeit after an enforced break of almost 10 weeks.
Raphael Guerreiro added two more goals and Hazard also found the net as Dortmund went on to claim a comfortable win over their near neighbours and move within a point of leaders Bayern Munich, who play on Sunday.
Elsewhere, Super Eagles defender Jamilu Collins was on for the entire ninety minutes as his bottom club Paderborn claimed a precious point away at Fortuna Dusseldorf in the day’s only goalless encounter.
In other encounters, Hertha Berling swiped aside Hoffenheim 3-0 away from home while Wolfsburg also recorded an away win with a 2-1 victory over Augsburg.
Title hopefuls RB Leipzig fell further off the pace as they could only draw 1-1 at home to seventh-placed Freiburg.
The home side’s Yussuf Poulsen cancelled out Manuel Gulde’s first-half opener for the visitors to leave Julian Nagelsmann’s side four points off leaders Bayern Munich.
In the late kickoff, Borussia Mönchengladbach leapedfrogged RB Leipzig into third-place with a 3-1 victory at Eintracht Frankfurt.