Saturday, 7 March 2020

Bundesliga games see banner protests from angry fans again

Supporters in the Bundesliga continue to take aim at the German Football Association (DFB), with more angry banners unfurled at top-flight fixtures on Saturday.

Hoffenheim’s controversial owner Dietmar Hopp also remains a target for disgruntled supporters of rival clubs.

Both he and the DFB figured prominently in the protests which emerged again in the latest round of fixtures.

Games at Schalke, Freiburg, Hertha Berlin and Wolfsburg all saw public shows of dissent.

Borussia Dortmund fans have faced sanctions in the recent past for having acted out against the German football authorities.

Bayern Munich’s meeting with Hoffenheim last weekend was halted when supporters took to insulting Hopp with home-made banners.

The reigning champions, who saw their last outing descend into chaos as players were removed from the field before the clock ticked down with the ball knocked around slowly between those on the field, were widely condemned for having joined the protests.

Leading figures at the Allianz Arena spoke out against the actions of a minority and offered their apologies to Hopp.

The billionaire businessman has irked followers of other clubs for supposedly buying success.

Schalke had him in their sights when playing host to Hoffenhaim, with a banner offered in response to Bayern’s which read “Dietmar Hopp remains the son of a whore”

“We apologise to all whores for having associated them with Mr Hopp,” said those involved.

Elsewhere, the DFB came in for further criticism over alleged broken promises when it comes to action taken against those speaking out.

Freiburg’s meeting with Union Berlin featured a banner stating: “2002: fan demonstrations. 2011: pyro. So many times we were promised dialogue, every promise broken in the end.

“Dietmar's FA. Against collective punishment.”

One at Hertha’s clash with Werder Bremen said: “Bribes, collective punishment, deaths in Qatar.”

Wolfsburg fans favoured a blunt approach in their protests, merely saying: “F*ck you DFB!”

Down in the third tier, a clash between Carl Zeiss Jena and 1860 Munich was interrupted by a banner from Jena fans which read: “Making critics silent and collective punishments. Have you learned that from Dietmar's father?”

The relevant authorities can be expected to act once more following the latest round of protests, but their efforts are falling on deaf ears.

Supporter angst in Germany appears to be building by the week, rather than being extinguished and removed from a prominent stage.

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