Stereotypes of German order and punctuality flew out the window on Tuesday in a chaotic promotion/relegation playoff between Fortuna Dusseldorf and Hertha Berlin.
Second tier Fortuna, 2-1 up from the first leg in Berlin, KO’ed Hertha in the second leg following a thrilling 2-2 draw. Highlights over the ninety minutes included Maximilian Biester’s 60-second opener for the hosts, and Hertha’s struggle after Anis Ben-Hatira was sent off in the 54th.
But the bigger story centred on the behaviour of the fans off the pitch.
Hertha’s were the first to cause trouble as, early in the second half, they bombarded the pitch with firestorm of flares. That added seven minutes of stoppage time at the end of the match, which proved too long to wait for the frenzied Fortuna supporters.
With 100s of fans encamped on the side of the pitch before injury time had come to end, the Dusseldorf supporters simply lost their patience. They stormed the pitch en masse before the final whistle in celebration of their team’s Bundesliga promotion. It was mayhem.
Referee Wolfgang Stark had little option but to haul the players off amid the craziness. It took 15 minutes to restore order, while during the disturbance a scuffle broke out between Assiani Lukimya (Fortuna) and Christian Lell (Hertha).
The hold-up was a complete shambles, and perhaps the most iconic moment came when a Fortuna fan cut up and escaped with a slab of the pitch.