VfB Stuttgart defeated Eintracht Frankfurt 2-1 in their domestic clash on November 25, but the match was marred by widespread violence that left around 200 people, including police, stewards and fans, injured.
There was also a riot during the match between St Pauli and Hannover 96 a few weeks earlier, and police had to intervene using pepper sprays and batons, leaving 32 people injured.
Disgruntled fans allege heavy-handed tactics by the police, accusing them of employing excessive force during interventions.
The fans have pointed to instances of baton charges and aggressive crowd control measures as evidence of unwarranted brutality.
This perception has fuelled resentment and further inflamed the already volatile atmosphere at matches.
The police paint a different picture. They argue that a vocal minority of fans are deliberately inciting chaos and resorting to violence.
They have accused these individuals of refusing to cooperate with authorities and hindering any attempts at constructive dialogue.
The current climate of mistrust and hostility poses a significant threat to the smooth running of Euro 2024, which begins in June.
The potential for further clashes and disruptions looms large, casting a shadow over what should be a joyous sporting celebration.
There needs to be a concerted effort from all stakeholders to avert a potential crisis. Open communication and a willingness to listen to each other’s concerns are crucial steps towards de-escalation.
Failure to engage positively could result in a disastrous Euro tournament marred by violence and overshadowed by discord.
The coming months will be a critical test of Germany’s ability to bridge the divide and ensure a safe tournament is staged.
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