Football hooligans ruin Düsseldorf’s victory

Düsseldorf football fans invaded their own team’s field on Tuesday evening, disrupting the match which their team was about to win. Their opponents only played to the end on police advice to prevent a blood bath, it emerged later.

Football hooligans ruin Düsseldorf's victory
Photo: DPA

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.

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

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EXPLAINED: Berlin’s latest Covid rules

In response to rapidly rising Covid-19 infection rates, the Berlin Senate has introduced stricter rules, which came into force on Saturday, November 27th. Here's what you need to know.

A sign in front of a waxing studio in Berlin indicates the rule of the 2G system
A sign in front of a waxing studio indicates the rule of the 2G system with access only for fully vaccinated people and those who can show proof of recovery from Covid-19 as restrictions tighten in Berlin. STEFANIE LOOS / AFP

The Senate agreed on the tougher restrictions on Tuesday, November 23rd with the goal of reducing contacts and mobility, according to State Secretary of Health Martin Matz (SPD).

He explained after the meeting that these measures should slow the increase in Covid-19 infection rates, which was important as “the situation had, unfortunately, deteriorated over the past weeks”, according to media reports.

READ ALSO: Tougher Covid measures needed to stop 100,000 more deaths, warns top German virologist

Essentially, the new rules exclude from much of public life anyone who cannot show proof of vaccination or recovery from Covid-19. You’ll find more details of how different sectors are affected below.

If you haven’t been vaccinated or recovered (2G – geimpft (vaccinated) or genesen (recovered)) from Covid-19, then you can only go into shops for essential supplies, i.e. food shopping in supermarkets or to drugstores and pharmacies.

Many – but not all – of the rules for shopping are the same as those passed in the neighbouring state of Brandenburg in order to avoid promoting ‘shopping tourism’ with different restrictions in different states.

2G applies here, too, as well as the requirement to wear a mask with most places now no longer accepting a negative test for entry. Only minors are exempt from this requirement.

Sport, culture, clubs
Indoor sports halls will off-limits to anyone who hasn’t  been vaccinated or can’t show proof of recovery from Covid-19. 2G is also in force for cultural events, such as plays and concerts, where there’s also a requirement to wear a mask. 

In places where mask-wearing isn’t possible, such as dance clubs, then a negative test and social distancing are required (capacity is capped at 50 percent of the maximum).

Restaurants, bars, pubs (indoors)
You have to wear a mask in all of these places when you come in, leave or move around. You can only take your mask off while you’re sat down. 2G rules also apply here.

Hotels and other types of accommodation 
Restrictions are tougher here, too, with 2G now in force. This means that unvaccinated people can no longer get a room, even if they have a negative test.

For close-contact services, such as hairdressers and beauticians, it’s up to the service providers themselves to decide whether they require customers to wear masks or a negative test.

Football matches and other large-scale events
Rules have changed here, too. From December 1st, capacity will be limited to 5,000 people plus 50 percent of the total potential stadium or arena capacity. And only those who’ve been vaccinated or have recovered from Covid-19 will be allowed in. Masks are also compulsory.

For the Olympic Stadium, this means capacity will be capped at 42,000 spectators and 16,000 for the Alte Försterei stadium. 

3G rules – ie vaccinated, recovered or a negative test – still apply on the U-Bahn, S-Bahn, trams and buses in Berlin. It was not possible to tighten restrictions, Matz said, as the regulations were issued at national level.

According to the German Act on the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases, people have to wear a surgical mask or an FFP2 mask  on public transport.

Christmas markets
The Senate currently has no plans to cancel the capital’s Christmas markets, some of which have been open since Monday. 

According to Matz, 2G rules apply and wearing a mask is compulsory.

Schools and day-care
Pupils will still have to take Covid tests three times a week and, in classes where there are at least two children who test positive in the rapid antigen tests, then tests should be carried out daily for a week.  

Unlike in Brandenburg, there are currently no plans to move away from face-to-face teaching. The child-friendly ‘lollipop’ Covid tests will be made compulsory in day-care centres and parents will be required to confirm that the tests have been carried out. Day-care staff have to document the results.

What about vaccination centres?
Berlin wants to expand these and set up new ones, according to Matz. A new vaccination centre should open in the Ring centre at the end of the week and 50 soldiers from the German army have been helping at the vaccination centre at the Exhibition Centre each day since last week.

The capacity in the new vaccination centre in the Lindencenter in Lichtenberg is expected to be doubled. There are also additional vaccination appointments so that people can get their jabs more quickly. Currently, all appointments are fully booked well into the new year.