Many fans without tickets, fans marching around the city, bad scenes in the first leg: even the Europa League semifinal of Eintracht Frankfurt against West Ham is becoming a challenge for the police. Already on Wednesday, the urban landscape will change.
An invasion of fans in a foreign city is nothing new for Eintracht Frankfurt. Normally something like this always happens when Hessians are around. On Thursday, however, this phenomenon will exist in Frankfurt itself, when West Ham United play the return semi-final at Eintracht (Thursdays from 9pm on the hr-iNFO audio stream). Then, for once, there is a small invasion of fans in reverse.
Eintracht itself expects some 6,000 Hammers supporters in the city. Frankfurt police estimate a similar number and speak of “an average four-digit range,” as a police spokesperson said when asked by hr-sport on Tuesday. No matter how many they are: they will be visible on match day in Frankfurt.
Hellmann: “Expect many fans without tickets at the stadium”
To make matters worse: 1,500 to 3,000 West Ham fans are likely to travel to Frankfurt without a ticket and still try to get a ticket to the match somehow. “We are expecting many away fans at the stadium, even without a ticket. The police are prepared for this situation,” said Eintracht management board spokesman Axel Hellmann.
Before then, however, a small fan march by Londoners is also planned. Eintracht assumes that this will move from the Römer to the stadium via the main train station. However, the police expect the train to stop at the main train station and special trains to take you to the city forest from there. Anyway, the meeting places for Hammers fans have already been decided: the Römer and an Irish bar in the station district.
Segregation of fans throughout the city
Federal police have already been warned of the fan march and are preparing accordingly. For example, many English-speaking officers are on duty. There will also be strict fan segregation throughout the city. “This is the ultimate goal,” the police spokesman said. In any case, riots around the game should be prevented.
However, a logistical problem cannot be circumvented in Frankfurt: in England there are a number of bars around the stadiums where you can watch the game, if you don’t have a ticket. Not so in Frankfurt. As a result, ticketless fans initially have no contact points in the city forest. The Hammers appendix has already been informed of this. Will they be discouraged by this and won’t they even come? Totally open.
The presence of the police has already increased since Wednesday
The police want to increase their presence throughout the city from Wednesday and are preparing intensively for the operation. Eintracht is also preparing for the arrival of the fans, but unlike the first leg they do not want to do something like their opponents: whoever has a ticket can also enter the stadium.
“Just because someone wears another club’s crest on their scarf doesn’t mean they will be kicked out of neutral areas,” said CEO Hellmann. West Ham handled it differently in the first leg and denied Eintracht fans access to the stadium or subsequently removed them from the stadium. Hessians want to be better hosts.
The time after the match is particularly critical for the organizers and the police. Both teams will be at the stadium and then in the city with a large number of fans. And one of the two teams did not make it to the Europa League final.
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