Football

Tale of two cities: Euphoria in Munich, sadness and tear gas in Paris

Fans celebrated Bayern Munich’s Champions League final win in a socially distanced open-air cinema in the Bavarian city on Sunday (Aug 23).

Almost 700km away in Paris, health protocols went out of the window as 5,000 fans gathered at the Parc des Princes to see their team lose the final in Lisbon 1-0.

In Munich, a large police presence was deployed to enforce, as much as possible, the restrictions linked to the Covid-19 pandemic, with fines for offenders during the match. Screenings of the game in fan zones were prohibited.

So many fans fell back on the cafes of the city centre or at an open-air cinema near the former Olympic Stadium in Munich, where Bayern played for several decades, before taking up residence at the Allianz Arena. This site can normally accommodate up to 2,000 spectators for screenings.

Due to the coronavirus outbreak, however, there were only around 500 watching the game on Sunday.

“Champions! Champions!” chanted fans after the club’s sixth triumph in Europe’s biggest tournament.

On the final whistle, the main Leopoldstrasse avenue was filled with cars in the colours of the city club, while supporters waved Bayern flags.

“Really great for the city of Munich, it’s sensational,” said Tobias Rau, 27.

“It’s a performance that we have the right to celebrate despite the coronavirus and the fact that we have to respect the rules.”

“It’s more than deserved, it was really tight, but the Bayern players have really had an incredible season,” said Lukas, 31.

Over in Paris, almost 150 people were arrested as PSG fans set cars ablaze, smashed shop windows and clashed with authorities, police said on Monday.

The violence occurred around the Parc des Princes Stadium and on the Champs-Elysees avenue during and after the match on Sunday night, police said on Twitter.

The trouble lasted several hours, as groups of fans threw bottles and fireworks at police, who responded with tear gas and rubber bullets.

On the Champs-Elysees, vehicles were set on fire, windows broken and shops vandalised.

Police said 148 people were arrested “in particular for damage, violence or throwing projectiles”.

Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said 16 police were injured, 12 shops attacked and about 15 vehicles damaged overnight. In a tweet on Sunday night, he condemned the “unacceptable” violence and thanked the police who arrested “small violent groups, troublemakers.”

Social distancing measures were ignored inside and outside the Parc des Princes, as 404 people were stopped for not wearing face masks as part of regulations aimed at curbing the coronavirus outbreak. – AFP

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