One of the strangest moments in football happened in Germany today at the Rhein-Neckar-Arena in a Bundesliga game between Hoffenheim and Bayern Munich. Both sets of players were called off the pitch as the game was suspended at the 77th minute a Munich supporters unveiled a banner protesting against Hoffenheim owner Dietmar Hopp.
The banner displayed the wording ‘Son of a Bitch’ which was aimed at Hopp as Munich supporters are unhappy with the way he has pumped money into the club to take them from the fifth tier of German football to the Bundesliga in a such a short space of time.
Bayern players and manager Hansi Flick were visually disappointed and pleaded with their supporters to take down the banner but with no success. Munich who were without top striker Robert Lewandowski were easing themselves to a 6-0 victory.
Both sides decided to return to the field of play after the 20 minute stoppage and play out the final 13 minutes. But they had made an agreement to protest the protest by playing out the rest of the game without playing competitively by passing the ball to each other, chatting to each other and doing keepy uppies.
Bayern Munich CEO Karl Heinze Rummenigge stood side by side with Hop at the final whistle and in an interview following the game let his feelings be known.
I am deeply ashamed for the behaviour of these people. That is inexcusable. It is the ugly face of football,” The Bayern CEO said. “I have apologised to Dietmar Hopp. We have filmed everything and these people will be held accountable.”
This is not the first protest by German fans against Hopp. Dortmund supporters also unveiled a similar banner accompanied by offensive chants on the 20th December 2019 which lead the club receiving a €50,000 fine and Dortmund fans being banned for two years from attending the Rhein-Neckar-Arena.