Leipzig. The city center was deprived of its Wednesday nap and continued on Thursday: supporters of Glasgow Rangers temporarily declared Leipzig a Scottish exclave before the Europa League semi-finals. A sea of people in deep blue Rangers jerseys roam the streets. S-Bahn stations and house walls around the epicenter of the market square are marked with fan banners. A bagpipe player emphasizes the scenery with the appropriate music. Shortly before noon, the best sunny places in the bars and pubs were peacefully conquered by the British.
For every minute, men and some women increase the pace. Mobile music systems and beverage stands clatter across the sidewalk. Alcohol in various dosage forms flows into dehydrated throats, beer bottles lose the one-on-one duel with the underground and smash. Volleyballs fly through the air over the market. Motto: kick and hurry. Rounding fan singing replaces the blaring sack.
SCROLL AGAIN: Some pictures of the Scottish fans in Leipzig
Some of Rangers henchmen took it upon themselves to get to Pleiße. For example, Derik and Peter. You drove almost four hours from Glasgow to Manchester, flew from there to Frankfurt, changed trains and eventually landed in Berlin. They sat in the train the rest of the way. “It only took 14 hours,” says Peter.
He and Derik are used to such expeditions. This international season alone they have been to Belgrade, Braga, Lyon and Dortmund. It makes the bonus miles smile. Then Germany again. In Leipzig, they met up with friend Ronald, who spends the cooler seasons on Lanzarote and has now flown to Leipzig via Gran Canaria. And he seems to deviate a bit from certain clichés, as he only wants to treat himself to a beer after the match. “If the coach still needs him tonight,” Peter explains. The three are in a good mood in both ways. “I wish Leipzig a really good match – and a defeat,” said Ronald, moving on and returning with a smile.
A few meters away, Scott and Scott Junior stand in the skin-friendly shade. They’re Rangers fans “ever since”. Roughly translated, roughly, since the beginning of time. They mumble kindly in their dreaded dialect and praise the kindness of the Leipzig people and the magic of the city without being asked. Apparently they like it so much that they would even settle for a draw in the evening. “2: 2,” predicts Scott Senior. “We’ll do the rest in the second stage of Ibrox.” The legendary concrete bowl, which has little to do with a modern stadium, but which exudes the scent of real football from every crack in the walls, from every rusty steel beam.
No matter where they come from, how much or how little they drink and party, no matter how long they have been fans, all Rangers have one thing in common, their motto: “We are the people”. Where could this phrase fit better than in the city where it became the symbol of the peaceful revolution.
Before guest appearance in RB Leipzig: Glasgow Rangers fan march
In the evening, the city center filled up more and more. While the market was celebrating, a crowd of people formed at the barriers in front of the Hotel Steigenberger. Coach Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s team stayed there. The players waved to their fans from the open windows before boarding the bus towards the arena around noon. By that time, most of their followers had already left. According to police, around 2,000 to 2,500 arrived around 6:45 p.m. A later start was originally planned. The security forces recommended an earlier start via loudspeaker messages.
Those who did not want to join the train and wait for the team were also taken care of. Free shuttle buses were available at Thomaskirche.