Union Berlin fans join Bundesliga protests against Hoffenheim’s Dietmar Hopp

Union Berlin players asked fans to put away the banners, just as Bayern Munich did on Saturday

Union Berlin’s game against Wolfsburg was held up for 10 minutes as home fans became the latest set of supporters to protest against Hoffenheim president Dietmar Hopp and the German FA this weekend.

Bayern Munich’s game at Hoffenheim on Saturday stopped for 20 minutes because of a banner – with players tapping the ball around for the final 13 minutes to get the game to full-time.

Borussia Dortmund and Cologne were among the other fans to protest on Saturday.

Billionaire Hopp is a divisive character in German football, having bankrolled Hoffenheim up from the fifth tier to the Bundesliga between 2000 and 2008.

In 2015, Hopp was allowed to take a majority voting share – one of three exceptions, including Wolfsburg – to the 50+1 rule which means members must own more than half the shares in their club.

Bundesliga fans are also angry that all Borussia Dortmund supporters have been banned from Hoffenheim away games for the past two seasons – a decision made in February followed a suspended sentence from 2018 – rather than just the ultras who led the protests.

Sunday’s match was suspended for more than 10 minutes during the first half when Union ultras showed banners with Hopp in the crosshairs and ones critical of the German FA (DFB). Union coach Urs Fischer and his players pleaded with home fans to remove the banners.

Fischer said: “I understand you want to show your opinion, but it should be with decency and respect. I didn’t see that in these banners.

“It was very uncomfortable for my boys – such an interruption can completely steer a game in the wrong direction. In my view, these posters were completely unnecessary.”

Wolfsburg came from 2-0 down to draw the game 2-2.

BBC News

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