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Football hooligans ruin Düsseldorf's victory

The Local · 16 May 2012, 10:11

Published: 16 May 2012 08:58 GMT+02:00
Updated: 16 May 2012 10:11 GMT+02:00

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The first division relegation match against Berlin’s Hertha BSC still had more than a minute of extra time to go at Fortuna Düsseldorf's stadium when fans streamed onto the field - and the terrified players left for more than 20 minutes.

It emerged on Wednesday that the Hertha players only returned to the field following a police request that they do so in order to prevent more violence, according to Hertha's lawyer Christoph Schickhardt.

"The referee did not get the team back on the field because of the football game, but the police asked [the team to return] to prevent an escalation. They were talking about a blood bath, Schickhardt told a morning news show on German public television ARD/ZDF on Wednesday.

"Yesterday it was about preventing something worse from happening to German football," the lawyer said.

Hertha's players were scared to death of the Düsseldorf fans, finding themselves "unprotected in a mob" Schickhardt said.

In the end, Hertha tied Düsseldorf 2-2, but because Düsseldorf had won a previous match in Berlin, it moves up to the Bundesliga and Hertha, after just one season of play in the top league, are relegated to the second league.

Hertha is considering filing a protest of Tuesday's game, Berlin newspaper Tagesspiegel said on Wednesday.

Some 750 disappointed Hertha fans were stopped for three hours in Hamm on their way back to Berlin after fans smashed many of the train's windows. One of the 11 train cars had to be detached and replaced for safety reasons, according to a police spokesman in Münster.

Tuesday's disruption in Düsseldorf followed violence on Monday in Karlsruhe after Karlsruhe SC lost to SSV Jahn Regensburg, and was relegated from the second to the third Bundesliga. Despite a hefty police presence, 76 people were injured, including 18 members of the police, according to Südwestrundfunk. Some 110 people were arrested.

Karlsruhe fans fought with their Regensburg supporters and many fireworks were set off in the stadium. The brawls spilled out into the streets and lasted until three in the morning, when police finally had the situation under control.

Other relegated teams include Cologne and Kaiserslautern. Greuther Fürth and Eintracht Frankfurt have already secured promotion from the second into the first league.

Story continues below…

German newspapers were full of disdain for how fans conducted themselves in the two games, while several Düsseldorf players told German television that they were shocked by the fans' reaction and unhappy that their move up to the first league was accompanied by such a fan response.

German and British fans will meet this Saturday, when Bayern Munich meets Chelsea in Munich for the Champions League final.

AFP/DAPD/DPA/The Local/mw

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

10:02 May 16, 2012 by bluestratus
They should do what Alf Garnett says.... BRAND ÈM
10:32 May 16, 2012 by MaKo
I feel sorry for the Hertha players. What a reward for hard work, skill, and achievement: being sent back in to the lions' den; their very existence reduced to a function as a preventive measure.

This is one (admittedly, one of few) aspect in which American soccer is light years ahead of its European cohorts. A soccer stadium in the US is a fun place with a largely positive atmosphere, where fans of opposing teams do trade jibes but not punches. The soccer might not be at the same level, generally speaking, but in contrast to Bundesliga venues, I've never felt afraid there.

Maybe some of the Hertha players might be ripe for MLS recruitment?
10:51 May 16, 2012 by Londinium Jon
Sadly, what the article has missed is the actual heart of the issue. Yes, Düsseldorf fans invaded the pitch, but they did so at a time they thought the final whistle had blown. They thought they were celebrating their promotion! It was stupid, but the biggest problem for me (and one reason why the article is misleading), was the Hertha fans part in this in the stadium.

When Hertha equalised (on the night not on aggregate), their fans lit flares and threw them onto the pitch. This was perhaps the most disturbing aspect of this. These flares rage at unbelievable temperatures and they were being tossed out in the vicinity of their own players, stadium staff and the Police. That is what the picutre depicts and that is distorting what the article is say. The actions of those Hertha fans is a worrying problem and certainly more so than an early pitch invasion. The pitch invasion was annoying, and unnecessary, but was not violent.
16:55 May 16, 2012 by Englishted
When are they going to ban taking flares into places with crowds ?,

but I agree with Jon this has been blown out of all proportion.
20:42 May 16, 2012 by finanzdoktor
Blown out of proportion? During the last weekend of regular Bundesliga play, the same thing happened during the Koln-Bayern Munchen game, not to mention the other times before then and other venues. And, don't forget this isn't the first time the away team's fans have been accosted while be transported back home.

Lastly, I just saw on TV a baseball fan threw something at an umpire after a game.

So, my question to my colleagues is, how much more should be tolerated before more stern action is taken? Considering you believe all these occurrences are blown out of proportion.
21:02 May 16, 2012 by Englishted

Where does it say "the away team's fans have been accosted while be transported back home."

It says"after fans smashed many of the train's windows" it does not say which fans and Hamm is not in Dusseldorf .

From what I saw is the fans celebrating promotion all be it 2minutes to early ,where was the bloodbath going to come from?

The only one saying it is Hertha's lawyer Christoph Schickhardt.

Was anyone hurt? did anyone need first aid? hospital etc.etc.

That is why it is blown out of all proportion.
21:00 May 18, 2012 by roger-briggs
Some of you are concerned about the danger of flares and I too am bemused that they are tolerated. As I´ve written before I regularly attend Hannover 96 games. Just before the start of one match some home fans, in a "fan block", let off flares and the whole block was immediately emptied i.e. they were all ejected. I haven´t seen flares in that block, or any home supporters block since.

It´s evidently impossible to prevent smuggled flares reaching the terrace without resort to a level of search beforehand that would put people off attending. Once the flares are lit however there is no reason not to deal with the perpetrators apart from the risk of confrontation. Confronting them once, and winning, might be enough.

Flares are potentially dangerous and should be kept out of football stadiums.
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