Rand 30,000 Frankfurt fans at Eintracht’s quarter-final second leg in Barcelona at the Camp Nou made an impression. And so the English from West Ham United warned before the journey to London that they would take rigorous action if the Germans were also to spread themselves in their stadium in the semi-final first leg. A zero-tolerance policy applies in the arenas in England: non-resident supporters are only allowed to stay in the areas of the stadium that have been designated for them.
Eintracht President had sharply criticized the preventive threat in the run-up to the game: “It’s the worst crap. I’m ashamed of football that we’re already being threatened today: we’ll throw out anyone we catch who identifies as a Eintracht player,” he said in the ZDF sports studio. At FC Barcelona, the mass of Frankfurt fans who had obtained tickets in various ways caused a lot of trouble.
And so this time “only” 3000 Frankfurters were in their section in the stadium when Eintracht won 2-1 on Thursday. Of course, the rule does not apply to media representatives from Germany who were placed in the press area of the main grandstand. Among them were the radio reporters from Hessischer Rundfunk (HR), Tim Brockmeier and Philipp Hofmeister. After West Ham equalized in the 21st minute, they were attacked by spectators in the press box – in the middle of their live report for HR-Info.
You can hear how the 1:1 falls. In addition to the cheers of the fans, Brockmeier can no longer be understood, instead there are strange noises, it sounds like there is tumult. Hofmeister says: “It’s definitely 1-1 – and the English fans are attacking us from behind right now. That’s why we just went away. (…) They just threw down the headset of colleague Tim. So we really have to be a bit careful about what we’re doing here. (…) To be honest, we didn’t really notice who scored the goal, because we have to make sure that we are now protected a little bit from the people sitting behind us and those with a lot of aggression on the way.”
“I’ve never experienced anything like that,” said Brockmeier after the scandal: “We’re shocked.” the fine English way. Thanks to the media staff at @Eintracht and @WestHam, who really had to bring us to safety during the break.”
Hofmeister also reported: “We are doing well. All the best to the West Ham fans, who love football and respect their opponents.” At half-time, the two reporters switched places and continued to comment from the protected center of the media area. Previously, they had sat in the last row, directly adjacent to the spectator area. “Mentally it was difficult afterwards,” said Hofmeister. “But we’re doing well considering the circumstances.” Neither suffered any serious injuries.
According to English media reports, West Ham announced an investigation. “The club is aware of the incident and will work to identify the perpetrator,” said a spokesman on Thursday evening Information provided by reporter Derek Rae. “In line with our zero tolerance approach, all identified individuals will be referred to the police. They are given an indefinite ban and are no longer allowed to enter the London Stadium and travel with the club. There is no room for such behavior,” the West Ham spokesman said.