The last few weeks in German professional football have polarized. Both the first and the second Bundesliga offered suspense up to the last second, the jubilant pictures from Frankfurt, Gelsenkirchen, Bremen and Stuttgart were impressive.
The fact that Jonas Hector ran into the dressing room on the penultimate day while the fans of his 1. FC Köln stormed the field after reaching the Europa Conference League was partly due to the game they had just lost against VFL Wolfsburg. On the other hand, the fan favorite didn’t feel completely at ease between thousands of highly emotional people and preferred the safe wing of the cabin.
The clubs are faced with the question of how to deal with those fans who want to storm the pitch in the future. The police and stewards are clearly outnumbered and had almost no chance to stop the masses of fans. The clubs are threatening possible sanctions against the fans, but which club will deny several thousand people entry into the stadium?
Cologne coach Steffen Baumgart said immediately after the home game against Wolfsburg: “For me, that’s part of the living fan culture. The guys who do it know what they’re doing. All those who talk about the danger aren’t part of the Platzsturm anyway.” He himself only disappeared quickly into the catacombs because he didn’t feel like celebrating after the lost game.
The figures from the Gelsenkirchen police show that Baumgart is not quite right in his assessment. At Schalke, 18 people were injured during the celebrations. “This space storm could have ended in a catastrophe,” said Peter Both, head of security at the Gelsenkirchen police force, about the incidents. In Bremen, too, there were several injuries at the big celebration in the Weser Stadium after Werder was promoted back to the Bundesliga. Around 20 people were injured, some had to be hospitalized.
Sexual harassment occurred at FC Schalke 04’s championship celebrations in Nuremberg on Sunday. A supporter of 1. FC Nürnberg wrote on Twitter: “Such a storming of the pitch is not so much fun when you suddenly feel a hand on your buttocks in the crowd, which then also grabs your crotch and ultimately tries to take your jersey to pull out of the trousers and to reach under the jersey.” The police have now started the investigation.
And the police are also investigating an incident in Stuttgart, because team captain Wataru Endo had his captain’s armband ripped off his arm against his will on the pitch. The perpetrator later tried to sell the bandage on eBay for 4,000 euros. The club and the police are now dealing with the case.