Security measures have been stepped up ahead of the 144th Revierderby between Borussia Dortmund and Schalke on Tuesday evening.
• Buczko: Massive Schalke clash awaits Dortmund
Over 3,000 seats will sit empty as part of an effort to increase the safety of fans, while over 3,000 federal and local police will be in attendance as well as 1,000 Dortmund stewards.
A total of 77,600 fans will pack Signal Iduna Pack tonight, with 3,045 seats remaining empty for security reasons. pic.twitter.com/GycjNlO6JT— Borussia Dortmund (@BVB) March 25, 2014
Both sets of fans have also agreed on separate routes to the Westfalenstadion for the evening game, the only midweek fixture in the Bundesliga calendar.Dortmund had tried to move to the fixture to an earlier kickoff, in part to ensure that fans did not have to travel to the game after dark, but the German Football League (DFL) rejected the proposal.
“It would have been very helpful if the fans had travelled to the stadium in daylight, and security controls had also gone underway in daylight,” an unnamed police officer told Der Westen in one of the many articles focusing on the non-sporting side of the derby.
The idea of banning travelling fans from the game was also floated, but Schalke spoke out against the idea.
Last week, the German Football Association (DFB) sent out a final warning to Borussia Dortmund and their fans. The DFB fined Dortmund 30,000 euros for incidents at the reverse fixture in Gelsenkirchen last October, as well as holding the club accountable for further incidents during the home game against Bayern Munich and the away game at Hamburg.
The DFB sports court also ruled that Dortmund have to put another 30,000 euros towards projects and measures for violence preventions. However, the most significant warning came in form of a potential complete shutdown of Dortmund’s famous Yellow Wall with a 24,454 capacity in domestic games.
“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 on Friday.
“That would be a catastrophe,” Dortmund CEO Aki Watzke told Bild on Tuesday. “I hope that this is a clear signal for all involved.”
However, Dortmund fans fear that parts of their ultras could try and use the DFB warning, and, moreover, the complete conflict situation as an excuse to “go out in a blaze of glory,” as Jens Weber of the BVB fanzine schwatzgelb.de told ESPN FC on Friday.
An incident occurred at a service station on the way to Dortmund’s away game at Hannover on Saturday when a group of Dortmund ultras plastered an old, unused police van with stickers and then knocked the van over.
Hannover police are currently looking for witnesses who have seen the incident. Police said that they are investigating cases of a possible “breach of the peace” and “major theft.”
A report by Neue Presse Hannover claimed that another group of BVB ultras, many in possession of stadium bans, ripped apart a pub in Hannover, tearing two toilet bowls out of the wall.
“They placed one of the toilet bowls on a table in the bar room,” the landlord was quoted as saying by the paper.
Schalke’s ULTRAS GE, meanwhile, have asked their fans to attend the derby in the club colours blue and white.
While, at first glance, this will not raise any eyebrows, Dortmund ultras used the same method when they asked the fans to travel to Gelsenkirchen in black, and then used the uniform colours to make it harder for officials to single out individual perpetrators.