A pandemic-enforced 2019/20 football season finally concluded last Sunday (August 23) as Hansi Flick’s Bayern Munich lifted their sixth UEFA Champions League title, defeating Paris Saint-Germain 1-0 in the final in Lisbon, Portugal.
Arguably the longest season of football, the campaign has had its fair share of ups and downs, but it duly provided the entertainment that was promised.
It has been more than a year since the 2019/20 season got underway, given that the quarter-finals of the Champions League took place four months later than its original schedule. So it is all but human to forget most of the action and incidents that took place during the year.
With that being said, we take a trip back to refresh the memory and look at five things that happened during the 2019/20 season.
Kyle’s a keeper
Manchester City played Atalanta in the group stage of the Champions League in October 2019. Pep Guardiola’s side went ahead in the opening 10 minutes but then lost Ederson Moraes to an injury during half-time.
“Ladsss! Don’t worry, I’ve got this!!!” pic.twitter.com/plNvgbKtaQ— Kyle Walker (@kylewalker2) November 6, 2019
Out came Claudio Bravo as his replacement, and Atalanta were quick in finding an equaliser. Now with both sides searching for the winner, Bravo received his marching orders in the 81st minute for a rugged sliding tackle on Josip Ilicic outside the box. Now with no keeper at his disposal, Guardiola decided to throw in right-back Kyle Walker on the goal. And well, the former Tottenham defender made more saves (1) than both Ederson and Bravo combined on the night.
Did you say Genk or Gent?
Liverpool were scheduled to play Genk away from home in October, but two confused supporters had to watch the game in an Irish bar in the Belgian city of Gent, around 80 miles from Genk, despite having the match ticket.
As it turns out, the pair got confused between Genk and Gent, and it was some 30 minutes before the kick-off that they realised their error. Financially, they had spent €70 each on their match tickets and €150 each on train tickets, a total of €440 just to watch their team play live from an Irish bar some 150 kilometres away from the venue.
Last October, they ended up in @Stadgent when they actually wanted to see @LFC play🆚Genk in the @ChampionsLeague😅So to cheer them up, we invited them to our game against @KRCGenkofficial tonight. Glad you made it this time Lee & Rob😁 Have a good one! #GntGnk #kaagent pic.twitter.com/bbM35t5iR9— KAA Gent (@KAAGent) January 25, 2020
But there was something fruitful waiting for the pair, as Gent invited them for a Belgian First Division game against Genk a couple of months later. And guess the scoreline; it was Genk 4-1 Gent.
Lewandowski started as 30 and finished as 32
This might confuse you a bit, but what you read is exactly what happened.
Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski started the 2019/20 season as a 30-year-old, and by the time he lifted the Champions League trophy in Lisbon on Sunday, he was 32.
Here's a fun fact:— Andy Wales 🇪🇺 * (@AndyArmchair) August 23, 2020
Robert Lewandowski turned 32 on Friday, he was only 30 when the season began!
The 2019/20 Bundesliga season kicked off on August 16 2019, five days before Lewandowski’s 31st birthday, meaning that he was 30 when the Bavarians played their first league game. And a night following his side’s 3-0 win over Lyon in the semi-finals of the Champions League, he turned 32.
See? No rocket science.
Ball boys were sent off
Eight red cards in a single game would usually bring it on the cusp of abandonment. But that wasn’t the case when Yeovil Town squared off against Bromley in the National League back in September 2019.
With Yeovil leading 3-1 at home, not only players but even the ball boys started delaying the game. Referee Aaron Jackson warned one of the ball boys some 10 minutes before the final whistle, but when a similar incident happened, he put out eight reds.
85 | Update: he's dismissed all of them...— Yeovil Town FC (@YTFC) September 28, 2019
"One ball boy delayed giving the ball back to Bromley's Sam Wood about 10 minutes from the end and was warned by the referee," explained BBC Somerset commentator Chris Spittles.
"But when the same ball boy repeated the trick shortly after, the referee asked for them all to be removed. One steward was tasked with gathering them all in and leading them away down the tunnel.
Bayern threatened to boycott Germany international team
Ahead of Germany’s friendly against Argentina and a EURO 2020 qualifier against Estonia in September 2019, Bayern Munich President Uli Hoenes warned the national camp, saying that the club will stop allowing their players to join Joachim Low in his national team if Manuel Neuer is replaced by Marc-Andre ter Stegen.
The latter had previously quoted that he has every right to complain about being behind Neuer in the pecking order, but Bayern seem to have taken this to heart.
"We would never accept that (Ter Stegen replacing Neuer as No.1)," Hoeness told Bild. "(If Bayern are informed of the change) before it happens, we won't send any players to the national team anymore."
As it turned out though, the Barcelona keeper was indeed chosen ahead of Neuer, but his appearance came against Argentina in a friendly, which ended in a 2-2 draw. Against Estonia though, Neuer kept his place as the 2014 World Cup winners won the game 3-0.
Feature image courtesy: AFP / Marco Bertorello