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Mar 21, 2014

Dortmund given ultimatum by DFB

The German Football Association (DFB) has issued a final warning to Borussia Dortmund fans ahead of the Revierderby against Schalke on Tuesday.

'Madrid wary of Dortmund threat'

In the last Revierderby at the Veltins Arena in Gelsenkirchen in October, a group of Dortmund supporters stormed into the away end a few minutes before kick-off and began rioting, which led to a delayed start to the match.

Dortmund fans threw flares onto the pitch and into the adjacent blocks, while they also fired three signal rockets onto the pitch, and one more into a seating area.

The DFB also held the club accountable for incidents during the home game against Bayern Munich and their away match at Hamburg.

Against Munich, fans threw “lighters, beer cups and a small aerosol can” into Bayern goalkeeper Manuel Neuer’s box.  

And in the away game at Hamburg, a man wearing the colours of Die Schwarzgelben shouted a Nazi chant during a minute of silence for the deceased Herrmann Rieger.

On top of the 30,000 euros fine for the club, Dortmund have to put another 30,000 euros towards projects and measures for violence prevention, the DFB sports court ruled on Friday.

The biggest threat for Dortmund, however, is the potential complete shutdown of the famous “Yellow Wall.”

The club have been warned that the Suedtribuene -- Europe’s biggest standing section with a 24,454 capacity in domestic games -- in their Westfalenstadion will be closed for one match should there be more severe misconduct in the next seven months.

“The enforcement of this measure is suspended for seven months. That means that the partial exclusion will only take place if it comes to severe misconduct during the period of probation,” the DFB said in a statement on its official website.

Dortmund fans will be tested in the upcoming Revierderby at the Westfalenstadion on Tuesday.

“To publish the punishment a few days in advance of the next derby might be a smart move because it puts a lot of pressure on the ultras,” Jens Weber of the Dortmund fanzine schwatzgelb.de told ESPN FC. 

However, also speaking to ESPN FC, the DFB denied that the announcement of the measures was connected to the Revierderby.

“The control board is free in its decision on how long they investigate. There is no time limit,” a DFB spokesperson said.

Wary of the threat of having the Suedtribune shutdown, Weber elaborated that other fans will hold the ultras “responsible if anything happens on Tuesday.”

He added: “But it could also turn out to be a self-fulfilling prophecy if the offenders come to the conclusion that this will be their last derby anyway and that they want to go out in a blaze of glory.”

The game takes place on the only midweek match day in the current Bundesliga season. By the time of kick-off, it will already be dark in Dortmund, and fans have criticised the DFB for staging the game in the evening.  

In the wake of the incidents at the reverse fixture in Gelsenkirchen, the two clubs reportedly discussed the idea of moving the clash ahead to an afternoon kick-off.

Both clubs and police have now worked on a Sicherheitskonzept -- security concept -- for the tie instead. This includes different paths to the stadium for both sets of fans, as well as one of the biggest police operations for a football match in Germany. Some 2,000 officers and a further 1,000 federal policeman will take part in the operation.

During a news conference in Dortmund on Friday, police said that they expect some 500 fans ready for violence on both sides, while 90 people have already been banned from attending.

“It is time that the Revierderby becomes a sporting event again. It is in the hands of the fans to accept the security concept and go along with it,” Gregor Lange, the chief of the Dortmund police, said.

On Friday, both clubs and the police union released a news statement and urged the fans to behave at the game.

“The police union and the clubs Borussia Dortmund and FC Schalke 04 appeal to all fans: Support your team, and hope for a derby that will be all fired up on the pitch,” the statement read. “But please remain peaceful, and distance yourself from the hooligans and from everyone, who does not stay away from violence.”

The statement included the headline: “Football belongs to the fans, and not to violent criminals.”

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