Champions League: Trip without a fun factor: tense situation at Eintracht

The coach and the team are under pressure to succeed, and the fans are under close police surveillance.

Champions League: Trip without a fun factor: tense situation at Eintracht

The coach and the team are under pressure to succeed, and the fans are under close police surveillance. For Eintracht Frankfurt, the trip to the Mediterranean for the first away game in the Champions League at Olympique Marseille will not be a pleasure trip.

"Of course we want to score there. But that's not a wish concert. We're playing against the second from Ligue 1. It won't be that easy," Eintracht coach Oliver Glasner predicted a difficult course for the Hessians on Tuesday (9 p.m. / DAZN).

Bans on guests in Marseille

The fun factor is also low for the more than 3000 Eintracht supporters. There won't be any pictures of exuberant fans with the eagle on their chests like in Barcelona or Seville in the southern French port city. For fear of riots, such as the recent conference league game between OGC Nice and 1. FC Köln, the responsible police prefecture has issued numerous bans on guests from Germany.

In four central districts of Marseille, they are prohibited from wearing fan paraphernalia such as T-shirts and scarves and from singing fan songs. The usual fan march to the stadium was also banned. Arrival on Tuesday may only take place in buses that are organized and accompanied by the police. "The police have made it very clear that the bans will be consistently enforced. It is therefore strongly recommended to adhere to these guidelines," the club appealed.

There were such drastic residence rules almost exactly four years ago when the two teams duel in the Europa League. That caused great frustration for the Frankfurters at the time, despite the 2-1 win. "To issue a complete ban on entering the city for our supporters represents a completely inappropriate and constitutionally highly questionable, if not inadmissible, encroachment on the rights of each individual," Eintracht board spokesman Axel Hellmann criticized in September 2018. Although the game was played in front of empty stands due to a UEFA ban on Marseille, around 5,000 Frankfurt fans traveled to the south of France.

Now the whole thing is repeating itself, although the actions of the Bouches-du-Rhône police prefecture at the time were retrospectively declared illegal by a French appeals court in December 2021. Eintracht-Justiziar Philipp Reschke rated the verdict as the first breakthrough “for football fans across Europe, who, despite all the legitimate security interests of municipalities and authorities, have a right to state measures remaining lawful and not violating fundamental rights to an obviously disproportionate extent.” It didn't help.

Sow: "Need more callousness in front"

At least on the stands of the Stade Velodrome, the Eintracht fans will make themselves heard loudly. The team can use the support after the capital false start in the premier class in the 0:3 against Sporting Lisbon and especially the sobering 0:1 in the Bundesliga against VfL Wolfsburg.

In Marseille, the Europa League winner wants to show his beautiful face again. "We've proven often enough that we can surprise away from home. We have to be more callous up front, then something is possible," said midfielder Djibril Sow.

The Swiss was recently one of the few Frankfurt professionals with normal form. "At the moment it's just that we don't get into these situations where it hurts and don't finish the last pass well. I think it's a matter of the mind and we have to change that as soon as possible," Sow demanded. In view of several injuries, the coach faces the tricky task of bringing a powerful team onto the pitch. Glasner only wants to rely on professionals "who can play our power football for over 90 minutes".

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