Status: 05/09/2022 5:21 p.m
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 sprawling celebrations also call into question the safety concepts of the Bundesliga clubs.
After a wild weekend, 1. FC Köln was able to give the all-clear: When several thousand fans celebrated their entry into the European competition on Saturday (07.05.2022) despite the 0-1 defeat against Wolfsburg, according to the information available so far no injuries reported. And the turf in the stadium does not have to be relaid either – this was previously the biggest concern for the clammy club, which had spoken of imminent damage in the six-figure range if the field was battered by celebrating crowds.
Space storm in Cologne – despite the club’s warning
For this reason, the club called on the fans before the game to refrain from attacking the pitch, but were then overwhelmed by the expected euphoria in Müngersdorf. The FC has so far only qualified for the playoffs of the UEFA Conference League – the smallest European competition. After the almost relegation in the previous season, which was only averted in the relegation, this was celebrated like the resurrection of the club.
The stadium party provoked mixed reactions from Cologne’s players. The picture of captain Jonas Hector has been handed down, frustrated as he squats on the lawn after the final whistle – and only has to be pulled up by a few fans rushing behind him and encouraged to celebrate. Anthony Modeste, on the other hand, was happy to be carried away: Cologne’s top scorer, just like a folk hero when he entered the European Cup five years ago, was carried through the stadium by the fans before he fled into the dressing room, like the rest of the team.
Cologne coach Baumgart: understanding of the euphoria of the fans
FC coach Steffen Baumgart understood the euphoria, and that the fans storming the pitch was “completely fine”. The team is less in the mood to celebrate because the Europa League place was lost to Union. “Inside I still have to grin,” said Baumgart, summing up the divided mood at FC quite well. Managing Director Christian Keller explained: “After very difficult times in 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 grinning inside”
5/10/2022 5:15 am
But there were similar scenes at FC Schalke late on Saturday evening, when around 2,000 fans stormed the pitch and celebrated the Royal Blues’ resurgence. Two days earlier, the supporters of Eintracht Frankfurt had conquered the pitch after entering the Europa League final. A striking accumulation of overflowing emotions among the fans, which were also met with astonishment in some comments.
They can also be partly explained by the fact that the fans were largely banned from the stadiums for more than two years because of the pandemic. What was missed was the special stadium experience and celebrating 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 considerable safety risks that came to light 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 inconsiderable height to get onto the field, as happened in Schalke on Saturday. According to reports from reporters on site, a threatening situation arose in the meantime because spectators were crowded together at the bottom of the grandstand by fans moving up.
The Gelsenkirchen police spoke in a statement on Monday of 18 injuries, including nine seriously injured. According to the police, the injuries occurred immediately after the end of the game when several thousand fans pushed from the spectator stands onto the arena’s lawn. Worse was only prevented by the intervention of numerous police forces, said head of operations Peter Both: “This space storm could have ended in a catastrophe.”
DFB starts investigations
The 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, when a large number of fans streamed onto the pitch during the game.
Club safety concepts in focus
The clubs are basically responsible for security in the stadium, which also includes protecting the playing field. Their safety concepts are therefore now increasingly coming into focus. Because scenes like in Gelsenkirchen, Frankfurt or Cologne raise the question of whether the security services commissioned by the clubs have enough staff in the stadium to keep larger crowds of fans in the stands. Or whether they are adequately trained at all, also about existing escape routes, in order to react appropriately to possible panic situations.
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