Champions League: Frankfurt loses – but that’s only a minor matter – sport

Champions League: Frankfurt loses – but that’s only a minor matter – sport

So what the Neapolitans had feared has happened, and with great force: the game, which was supposed to be a very special one for Frankfurt Eintracht, a small football miracle at best, lost a lot of its relevance and luster. Yes, the game was still being played and Eintracht didn’t stand a chance against the brilliant SSC Napoli team: in the end it was 0-3. Two goals from Victor Osimhen (45’+2’/53′) and a penalty from Piotr Zielinski (64′) sealed the end of Eintracht in the Bundesliga Champions League. But the game at the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona, located in the Fuorigrotta district in the west of the city, where all the emotions of the residents of Naples usually concentrate – it was only a kind of sideshow on Wednesday.

After the kick-off there was not much to feel about the events of the day, the Neapolitans love their SSC too much for that, they dream big and they dream loud. However, there had been lively discussions in front of the admission gates, at the snack bars and in the subway to the stadium: Cos’è successo? What happened? And above all: How did it come to this?

The questions from the Neapolitans were more of a rhetorical nature, they expressed bewilderment and incomprehension, because they had already heard about the events in the city from the breaking news that popped up on their mobile phones: about the serious riots that were happening in the center of the city, about the flying chairs and firecrackers, from the smashed shops and possibly also from injured people. The Corriere dello Sportnot without suspicion of bellicose language, compared the scenery to a “guerrilla war”.

And indeed: Anyone who passed the Piazza del Gesú in Naples in the afternoon got to see something disturbing as soon as something could be seen behind the swathes of intoxication – and according to the reports there were no doubts, several hundred fans were involved Eintracht Frankfurt. “This violence tonight is to be condemned in the strongest possible terms. Violent criminals and chaos are destroying sport,” tweeted Federal Interior and Sports Minister Nancy Faeser.

Who is to blame for the chaos, who provoked, who possibly allowed the situation to escalate, all of this still has to be finally clarified. But one thing is clear: the Prefect of Naples, the deputy of the Ministry of the Interior in the province, had already come to the conclusion last week that Eintracht fans should not travel to Naples, otherwise “there would be a risk to the protection of public order and security ” threatened. The reason given was riots in Frankfurt around the first leg and possible revenge actions by the Neapolitan fans in the second leg. The sale of the 2700 tickets for away fans was therefore banned – which resulted in a legal wrangling after which only people residing in Frankfurt were excluded from the game.

Around 600 violent hooligans and ultras from Germany ruined the festival for Eintracht

Eintracht waived their ticket contingent in protest and urgently advised against traveling to Naples due to the dangerous situation, but the rush of visitors was still large: Eintracht fans populated the bars and cafés on Tuesday, it was the majority of the supporters who were simply enjoying the European football celebrations that their club has provided them with in abundance over the past few years. But the other part also appeared at the event: around 600 violent people hooligans and Ultras from Germany, who had obviously started their journey for other reasons.

Some of these supporters had reportedly stayed at a hotel not far from the team hotel. On Wednesday afternoon, they gathered near the port for a joint march to Piazza del Gesú in the historic center of Naples. They were accompanied by police and carabinieri forces, and a helicopter circled above the scene. There were initially no incidents during the march, but the authorities had a premonition and made initial preparations: the staff in the emergency rooms was increased, and additional rescue workers and paramedics were also ordered to the city center.

Champions League: civil war in a banana republic?  No, a group of rioters (mostly from Frankfurt) visit Naples.  Football really became a minor matter.

Civil war in a banana republic? No, a group of rioters (mostly from Frankfurt) visit Naples. Football really became a minor matter.

(Photo: Stringer/Reuters)

In the afternoon, shrill sirens gave information that the state of emergency was gradually returning to the center of Naples. The riot had begun, masked people were everywhere, and their desire to riot tore a path of destruction through the alleys and shops. As far as we know, the Frankfurters had the support of around 250 Atalanta Bergamo fans – the Ultras of both clubs have been allied for many years, and according to reports there were also indications in chat groups that they were planning a common cause. They provoked, among other things, with abusive songs against the Napoli fans and against the residents of the city. And they came across, which is also part of the truth, on a counterparty who also doesn’t take a joke. It is said that Neapolitan ultras from the neighboring districts stormed towards Frankfurt, with sticks and pyrotechnics in hand. It was the inglorious climax of the riots.

Eintracht board: “Riots that we had to fear since the day of the draw”

“It’s clear that nobody wants to see that. It’s the riots that we’ve had to fear since the day the draw was made,” said Eintracht board member Philipp Reschke, who is responsible for fan issues, before the game kicked off. It seemed “a bit like that,” he said, “that the groups that were looking for each other found each other” – and added: “The most important thing is that there are no injuries. Neither on the police side nor among the fan groups involved. ” The latter did not match the information from the Italian authorities: there were many injuries, but fortunately not serious ones.

Around 5:40 p.m., the police had brought the situation under control, and the rioters from Germany were taken away in buses provided by the city administration, in which they were attacked by Neapolitan ultras with bottles and stones. The inglorious part of the Eintracht supporters was to spend the night in a hotel, guarded by numerous security forces. Increased security levels were announced throughout the night in Naples.

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