Status: 05/09/2022 17:21
At Eintracht Frankfurt, Schalke 04 and 1. FC Köln, fans stormed the pitch after the final whistle. There were injuries when the pitch was stormed in Schalke, and the extensive festivities also call into question the security concepts of the Bundesliga clubs.
After a wild weekend, 1. FC Köln could make it very clear: When several thousand fans on Saturday (07.05.2022) celebrated their participation in the European competition despite the 0-1 defeat against Wolfsburg, according to the available information so far there are no injuries were reported. And the turf at the stadium does not have to be changed either – that was the biggest concern for the clammy club, which had talked about imminent damage in the six-figure area, if the pitch was hit by jubilant spectators.
Space storm in Cologne – despite the club’s warning
For this reason, the club urged fans before the match to refrain from attacking the pitch, but was then overwhelmed by the expected euphoria in Müngersdorf. FC have so far only qualified for the play-offs in the UEFA Conference League – the smallest European competition. After the almost relegation in the previous season, which was first averted by the relegation, this was celebrated as the club’s resurrection.
The stadium party provoked mixed reactions from Cologne’s players. The image of captain Jonas Hector has been handed down, frustrated as he crouches on the lawn after the final whistle – and only then is he pulled up by a couple of fans who rush behind him and are encouraged to celebrate. Anthony Modeste, on the other hand, was happy to get carried away: Cologne’s top scorer, like a folk hero when he entered the European Cup five years ago, was carried through the stadium by the fans before fleeing into the dressing room. room, just like the rest of the team.
Cologne coach Baumgart: understanding of the fans’ euphoria
FC coach Steffen Baumgart understood the euphoria and that the fans who stormed the pitch were “perfectly fine”. The team is less in the mood to celebrate because the Europa League place was lost to Union. “Inside, I still have to laugh,” Baumgart said, summing up the divided mood of FC quite well. CEO Christian Keller explained: “After very difficult times in the sport, we have a certain understanding. Our task was to channel the energy in such a way that it remained peaceful. We have achieved that.”
Baumgart: “When I look at the table, I still see myself laughing inside”
But there were similar scenes in FC Schalke late Saturday night, with around 2,000 fans storming the pitch celebrating the resurgence of the Royal Blues. Two days earlier, supporters of Eintracht Frankfurt had conquered the pitch after reaching the Europa League final. A striking accumulation of overflowing emotions among the fans, which was also met with astonishment in some comments.
They can also be partly explained by the fact that fans were largely banned from the stadiums for more than two years due to the pandemic. What was missed was the special stadium experience and to celebrate together, also with the players. These withdrawal symptoms, as far as kitchen psychology is allowed, are now all the more exuberantly eradicated in the stadiums.
Serious injuries at Schalke – “Disaster prevented”
However, the significant security risks that emerged last weekend when a large number of fans streamed into the interior – uncontrolled – must give food for thought. And when fans climb over fences or jump into a concrete ditch from a not insignificant height to get onto the pitch, as happened in Schalke last Saturday. According to reports from local journalists, meanwhile, a threatening situation arose because spectators were crowded at the bottom of the stands by fans moving up.
Gelsenkirchen police spoke in a statement Monday about 18 injured, nine of them seriously injured. According to police, the injuries occurred immediately after the end of the game as thousands of fans were pushed from the stands onto the arena lawn. Worse was only prevented by the intervention of several police forces, said Chief of Operations Peter Both: “This space storm could have ended in disaster.”
DFB starts investigations
DFB announced on Monday that the control committee had started investigations into the incidents in Cologne and Gelsenkirchen. The clubs have to make statements and probably expect the consequences. Fortuna Düsseldorf, for example, received a fine of 150,000 euros and a partial exclusion of fans in 2012 after the chaotic conditions in the relegation, where a large number of fans flocked to the pitch during the match.
Club security concepts in focus
The clubs are basically responsible for the safety of the stadium, which also includes the protection of the playing field. Their security concepts are therefore now increasingly in focus. For scenes like in Gelsenkirchen, Frankfurt or Cologne, the question arises as to whether the security services ordered by the clubs have enough staff at the stadium to keep larger crowds in the stands. Or whether they are at all adequately trained, even on existing escape routes, to be able to respond appropriately to possible panic situations.