Hooligans, forbidden choreography and tens of thousands of fans: the DFB Cup final is electrifying Berlin

Eintracht Frankfurt meets RB Leipzig in the Olympic Stadium on Saturday evening. The police are in action with a large contingent. This is how the final day in Berlin went.

03.06.2023 | updated on 06/03/2023 – 17:51

The Eintracht Frankfurt fans at the DFB Cup final in the Berlin Olympic Stadium.

The Eintracht Frankfurt fans at the DFB Cup final in the Berlin Olympic Stadium.Jan Huebner/imago

It’s the football event of the year in Germany: the DFB Cup final in the Berlin Olympic Stadium. Even before the kick-off, 74,322 football fans from Leipzig and Frankfurt caused goosebumps in the stadium. The players from both teams were greeted with thunderous applause. The hymns of the clubs echoed through the sold-out stadium on this glorious evening. And when is the Olympic Stadium more beautiful than in such moments?

Throughout the day, Berlin was bathed in the colors of the clubs, especially black, red and white (Eintracht Frankfurt). On the other hand, there was little to see from the RB Leipzig fans. Nevertheless, a big football party took place in the capital. Although the worries about riots never completely disappeared. The violent Frankfurt fans are known for their violent riots.

Thousands of Frankfurt fans at Breitscheidplatz, RB supporters at the exhibition grounds

Since the morning, several thousand of the 60,000 fans who have traveled from Frankfurt have been celebrating in front of the Memorial Church on Breitscheidplatz in Charlottenburg. A large stage was set up, artists from Frankfurt performed. Already there Pyros were ignited sporadically in the crowd. The heaters on the stage appealed to their followers to reason. But it did little. The celebration could also be followed digitally on the Internet. In the afternoon, tens of thousands of fans, closely surrounded by armored police officers, marched to the Olympic Stadium.

Eintracht Frankfurt fan: “Look for a card – dad pays!!!”Nordphoto/imago

Meanwhile, videos of a Czech hooligan group were circulating on Twitter. One shows pictures from the east curve in the Olympic Stadium, where the Ultras from Hertha BSC usually stand. On this day, however, the Frankfurt fans are roaring here. However, it is doubtful whether the video is real. Below the tweet are comments indicating it was stolen from another channel. Nevertheless, the question was raised throughout the day: Are Frankfurt hooligans in the Olympic Stadium? Will there be riots?

On the other hand, there was little to be heard from the fans of RB Leipzig. As in the previous year, their fan festival took place from 1 p.m. on Hammarskjöldplatz in front of the exhibition center. There were not only snacks and drinks there. But also a bouncy castle, furthermore: “Soccerbot, soccer cage, reaction wall, goal wall shooting, Robo-Keeper, Bullis gang tools and of course our mascot Bulli.” That’s what the RB website said.

Nothing to hear from the Leipzig fans: are they there at all?

But the supporting program seemed to inspire only a few fans. Hardly anything about the “party” at the fair can be found on social media or on the club’s website. While thousands of Eintracht Frankfurt fans celebrated as if they already had the golden trophy in their hands while marching in a closed block to the stadium and the whole thing was even broadcast live, it was remarkably quiet on the Reds’ side until the game.

And not only that: As it became known, the RB fans of the DFB should have been forbidden to choreograph in the stadium. This should be performed by three different fan groups. The group “Rasenballisten” tweeted: “Parts of today’s choreo did not meet the requirements of the DFB. It is all the more important that you all come in red, so that an appropriate and uniform picture is nevertheless created.”

Photo gallery: This is what the day of the cup final in Berlin looked like

According to information from the Bild newspaper, the DFB’s ban is said to have been directed against the material used in the choreo – which was not fully classified in the “flame-retardant” category. During the week, the fans informed about their choreo: In a first step, foil scarves should be held up, then a block flag should be lowered from the upper tier.

An RB statement said: “Parts of our fans’ choreography could not be set up today after consultation with the DFB and the Berlin fire brigade. Doesn’t matter. Our red curve will stand – together for our team and for our city!”

Police with 1,500 emergency services, supported by “officials who know the scene”

The Berlin police had prepared for a major operation on Saturday. Around 1,500 police officers were on duty, together with the federal police, to prevent major riots from occurring. Eintracht Frankfurt fans in particular are notorious for their violent riots.

It was only in March that Eintracht supporters caused serious riots in downtown Naples before the round of 16 second leg in the Champions League. In addition, in the run-up to the cup game, there were rumors about arranged brawls between hooligan groups in Berlin. The police therefore gave so-called “danger speeches”.

But overall, the police were relaxed about the final day. A spokeswoman said that good experiences had been made in the past with the initiation of the fan festivals in particular. As the central point of contact for the respective fan camps, they ensure that a “mixing of rival fan groups” can be avoided as far as possible. In addition, the Berlin police were supported by officers from the respective federal states who were familiar with the scene.

2023-06-03 16:59:21
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