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What's going on in the Bundesliga?

The German ultras protests against the president of Hoffenheim and the injustices of the DFB

What's going on in the Bundesliga? The German ultras protests against the president of Hoffenheim and the injustices of the DFB

If you've been away from the Bundesliga this weekend, you've missed something you've never seen before, an unprecedented all-against-all: fans against presidents, clubs against fans, players who support clubs and not fans. On all the fields of the German championship, the curves have displayed banners in which the president of the Hoffenheim Dietmar Hopp was kindly called Hurensohn, "Motherfucker".The protest exploded after months of discontent among the German ultras who reject the method of the billionaire-who-buys-a-team-of-the-province and above all bringing to light the complicity of the Deutscher Fußball-Bund.

The worst snapshot of a decidedly complex weekend for all German football is the last quarter of an hour between Hoffenheim and Bayern Munich, made up of senseless passes, exchanges between players of opposing teams - sending the statisticians of that match out of their mind.


What's going on in German football?

Union Berlin-Wolfsburg and Bayern Munich-Hoffenheim are only the latest cases of a situation that is becoming heavy in Germany. The two games this weekend staged a anything but veiled protest against Dietmar Hopp, the face of the Turn- und Sportgemeinschaft 1899 Hoffenheim e.V. The reason for the protests and insults against the German entrepreneur is officially the derogation granted by the Deutscher Fußball-Bund, according to which the Hoffenheim does not fall within the concept of popular shareholding. In the Bundesliga, the 50 + 1 rule applies, that is, the one that establishes that 51% of a club cannot belong to a person or company in any way. Since Hopp is the only case in Germany that legitimately goes against 50 + 1, he is labeled as the man who ruins the true values ​​of German football, who turns football into business and who makes a game considered sacred for fans as fake. The values ​​that football conveys, for the fans, are untouchable and every deflagration of it constitutes a real threat.

During the games mentioned above, banners were displayed and choruses were sung against the president of the Hoffenheim, apostrophized in unison with a "motherfucker". The matches were suspended for a few minutes and, in the case of the match between Bayern Munich and Hoffenheim, it even led the managers to a meeting with the fans, trying to appease their protests. The six minutes of suspension in Berlin and the nine minutes without playing at the PreZero Arena in Sinsheim are a symptom of a malaise that the fans absolutely do not want to repress.

Who is the target of the fans?

The "target of the fans" is not only an expression to indicate to whom choirs and banners are addressed, but represents the dawn of this story. Fans of Borussia Dortumund, one of the first supporters to side significantly against Hopp and one of the best in terms of choreography, unrolled a banner at the PreZero Arena with a viewfinder aimed at the face of the president of the Hoffenheim. But who is Dietmar Hopp really?

Hopp is a seventy-nine year old with 14.7 billion dollars, but dwelling only on his assets is not enough. Start working early at IBM and will soon feel the need to start his own business. With four of his colleagues he will found SAP (Systems, Applications, Products), a company specialized in the production of management software and which is still one of the best multinationals for IT solutions for businesses. He will become a computer tycoon within a decade and in 1996 he decides to create a foundation, Dietmar Hopp Stiftung, which deals with sports, medical, educational and social programs with investments that in the last 20 years have exceeded 700 million investment dollars.

He entered the world of football at the end of the 80s, after having played at an amateur level in the team he took over in 1989. The climb started from the eighth German series and, thanks to the great financial availability, culminated in 2018 when Sinsheim played the Champions League anthem notes. Bringing a town of about 35,000 to play against battleships like Manchester City is not a joke, even if you close the group with zero wins. Since 2008 his club has been permanently in the Bundesliga, also thanks to the new one hundred million stadium and long-term planning that is bearing important results.

What does the DFB have to do with it?

The Football Federation of Germany is called upon to deal with a rather serious problem. The Deutscher Fußball-Bund has already taken sides in defense of one of the most important stakeholders on the German football scene, but at the same time it has been dragged to the center of the wave of fan protests. Beyond the 50 + 1 waiver issued to Hopp, there are numerous disputes involving the league: a broken promise to end collective punishment, the legacy of the fan-owned club in Germany, but above all indifference regarding the widespread episodes of racism.

In 2017, the DFB committed itself to punishing individual people and not the entire supporters in case of problems. Promise on paper kept, but never respected, considering the two-year ban on travel to Hoffenheim imposed on all Borussia Dortmund fans after the protests to which we referred previously. Same treatment as for the shareholder base, with the exemption granted to Hopp. Even more serious, however, what was underlined by the Bochum fans.


The banner reads "A motherfucker is insulted: all of Germany is shocked - Racism every day: nothing happens". The reference is clear and straightforward. See Bayern's top officials take to the pitch to appease their fans - the case of Rummenigge who usually moves from his chair just to celebrate the Meisterschale - while silence reigns after the cases of racism almost on the agenda in Germany, makes the fans turn up their noses.

Club responses

Companies directly involved, such as that of Bayern Munich, immediately communicated their distance from the message of their supporters. Distances put into practice immediately, when on the lawn of the PreZero Arena you see Karl-Heinz Rummenigge arm in arm with Hoop, followed by Kahn and Salihamidzic. The players also follow the directives of the club, playing the last quarter of an hour of the game passing the ball between them.

In support of the Bavarian club's decision come the words of Bayern coach Hans-Dieter Flick, who underlines how much Hoop's extra-football work is aimed at improving the living conditions of many people. The definition of "idiots" often occurs in many statements by those directly concerned.

I grew up in this area [Baden-Württemberg, the Hoffenheim region] and have known Dietmar Hopp for 20 years. I'm sorry for what happened because Hopp gave so much here, but also because surely each of those idiots who showed the banners have someone in the family who has been helped by what Dietmar does through support for cancer research and medical research. . Fans must reflect on what they have done. The things that happened in the stands have no place here. I don't want to leave sport outside of what happened today.

The game, a dry 6-0 in favor of the Bavarians, ended with the "applause against ignorance" of the players of both teams for DietmarHopp, who fell on the pitch despite the incessant rain.

The war has just begun, according to several German blogs. The protest will not diminish over the coming weekends, especially after club stances have taken place. The Deutscher Fußball-Bund is also at the center of the storm, as mentioned, it is guilty of being morally flexible. Flexible morality that is particularly noticeable in terms of the fight against racism.

Not even a month ago, the Bundesliga had to face the Torunarigha case, player of Herta Berlin. On the occasion of the match against Schalke 04 in Gelsenkirchen, the German player of Nigerian origins received clear racist howls from part of the home fans. Also on this occasion, the DFB did not raise their voices as in the case of the protests against Hopp.