MAJOR European football returned this weekend but the German Bundesliga was a long way from its usual self as play resumed amid the coronavirus pandemic.

With fixtures staged in empty stadiums and with social distancing regulations applied to the extent they could be, the rest of Europe got a glimpse of what could be on the way for their own leagues in the coming weeks and months.

If you were hoping for some better insight into the instructions managers bark at their players during a match, now might be your chance. Every echo reverberates around the empty cavernous stadiums, every shout and kick is heard as games are played out in an unfamiliar, largely sterile atmosphere.

After all the debate over how the unique circumstances might affect the product on the pitch, the answer seemed to be not too much. Players may have only had a few weeks to get back up to speed after several in lockdown and unable to train with one another, but games were played at high speed and with plenty of quality on show, particularly from Borussia Dortmund who turned on the style in their 4-0 win over rivals Schalke.

Players wore facemasks during warm-ups and in the stands - where substitutes sat at least two metres apart - while the coin toss was undertaken with a safe distance between all involved.

Former Manchester City and Celtic defender Dedryck Boyata was forced to defend himself after pictures circulated of him apparently 'kissing' team-mate Marko Grujic in what was said to be a celebration during Hertha Berlin's 3-0 win at Hoffenheim. But Boyata later posted a video of the incident on Instagram to show it took place when the game was still goalless, and he was in fact giving Grujic, on loan from Liverpool, instructions before a corner kick.

Whatever else has changed, there is still a place for VAR to cause controversy as it made major interventions in two of Saturday's closely-fought games.

Augsburg lost 2-1 at home to Wolfsburg, but only after Felix Uduokhai thought he had put the hosts 2-1 up before seeing the goal chalked off, but the bigger controversy came as Freiburg were denied an upset 2-1 win away to RB Leipzig, with Robin Koch's stoppage-time goal ruled marginally offside.